You can hire, buy or even make academic dress. Hiring is the most popular option.
The University of Sydney Union (USU) operates a hiring and purchasing service from its Academic Dress shop in the courtyard of the Holme Building. This saves you having to buy academic dress just for your graduation day. However, you may purchase it if you wish.
Guests who are entitled to wear academic dress may also use this service.
As a graduand, you must wear the full academic dress – gown, bonnet/trencher cap, and hood or stole – appropriate to your degree or diploma at your graduation ceremony.
If you have not managed to acquire all components, you are not allowed to exchange any part of your academic dress with other students at the ceremony. Each degree or diploma has its own colour or combination of colours, except in the case of some postgraduate or graduate diplomas, where the diplomate wears the colours for the highest award for which they are qualified.
Today’s style of academic dress consisting of a gown, bonnet/trencher cap and hood or stole, has its origins in everyday clothing of the early Middle Ages. While the design of our clothes changed over time, antique styles of gowns, hoods and hats were preserved by the church and continue to be used today.
As the church was the custodian of scholarship, the ancient universities of Europe adopted a medieval form of ecclesiastical dress for academic purposes. Newer universities, both in Europe and in other parts of the world, continued this tradition.
At Sydney the dress is modelled on styles used at Oxford and Cambridge. Senate resolutions governing its use can be found in the University Statutes and Regulations.
Collection of academic dress
With up to four ceremonies scheduled each graduation day, we ask you to observe the following guidelines when collecting your academic dress:
|Time of ceremony||Time to collect your academic dress|
|9.30am||Graduands attending a 9.30am ceremony may
collect academic dress from 9.30am to 4pm on
the Wednesday or Thursday before graduation
day, or at 8am on the day of graduation.
Due to sizing requirements, graduands only are authorised to sign and pick up their regalia. Friends and family members cannot pick up the
regalia on behalf of the graduand.
Return of academic dress
You must return hired academic dress within one hour of your ceremony.
Failure to return academic dress on time will inconvenience fellow graduands and disrupt the strict schedule that we work to on graduation days. We may require regalia for subsequent ceremonies.
Due to costs incurred by late returns, a fee of $75 per day will apply.
A full range of academic dress may be purchased at any time from Academic Dress and Gifts of Distinction. Please allow up to 14 days notice, as your purchase may require the ordering of extra items.
Two styles of gown are approved for use at the University of Sydney. In the case of the gown with a slit in the sleeves and interior tapes, the arm should pass through the sleeve opening, not the slit. The tapes should then be passed in front and underneath the armpits and tied at the back. This is particularly useful for female graduands as robes tend to slip back if not tied in this way
The hood should hang evenly from the shoulders and may be arranged to display the amount of colour you prefer. Avoid allowing the hood to slip from the shoulders (safety pins help). Men should pass the neckband underneath their tie.
These should be worn around the neck, with the two arms falling down the front of the body. Please do not insert pins through the silk, otherwise a fee will be charged.
The trencher cap should be straight, and needs to be removed by men when seated. Women wear trenchers when both standing and seated.
Graduands who wear a hat or head cover for particular reasons, such as religion, are not required to wear the trencher.
Graduands should set the tassel to hang in front on the right side of the trencher, and should be careful not to let the tassel obscure their faces when being photographed shaking hands with the Chancellor. Once the photograph has been taken, the tassel may be moved to the left side of the trencher to signify graduate status.
Handbags, mobile phones, briefcases or umbrellas should not be carried during the ceremony. As there are no facilities for leaving valuables in the Ante Room or Great Hall, you should leave them in the safekeeping of your guests.