Glossary / A / Academic Regalia

Academic Regalia

What is an academic regalia?

Academic regalia is the traditional ceremonial dress of scholars and university graduates in various countries. In some universities, it also denotes a graduate’s rank within the institution. The academic gown varies from country to country but generally has three different forms: bachelors’ robes, masters’ robes and doctoral robes (or “doctorals”).

The most common is the academic gown, which was originally designed to protect its wearer from dirt and dust on his or her clothing when traveling to an academic degree ceremony.

The type or form of robe worn will vary according to local custom as well as degree level attained by the wearer; for instance, those who have been awarded an honorary doctorate may wear a doctoral-style hood over their other garments without wearing any other insignia that would identify them with having received such an award.

The first use of academical dress was in ancient Greece. The Latin term “regale” came to refer to any long flowing garment such as those worn by doctors, lawyers or professors from around 1570 onwards.

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