College graduation is a time of celebration and a symbol of the transition to the working world. The graduation ceremony can be exciting for all involved but can also be confusing to audiences with all the different robe designs and colors as well as different colored tassels. Here is a look at how to decode the ceremony.

Robes, robes and more robes.

During the graduation ceremony you’ll see two colors of robes: purple and black. The designs and what are added to the robes differ.

The Weber State University purple robes are worn by those graduating with an associate’s degree from WSU. That color is specific to Weber State. Their cap is also purple with a purple and white tassel. Unlike bachelor degree graduates, who have a different color tassel depending on the school they are graduating from, associate’s graduates all are the same color of purple and white.

Bachelor graduates wear black robes, black caps, a color tassel representing the college they’re graduating from and may or may not have honor cords. Honors cord for colleges are identical to high school honor cords, which are yellow.

Those graduating with their master’s or doctorate’s degree have a different look to their gowns. The master’s graduates will have long, draping sleeves.

Weber State does not award doctoral degrees, but faculty members who have a Ph.D. will wear their doctoral gowns. Those include hoods with a stripe for the college they graduated from and three stripes on the sleeve again with the color of the area they received their doctorate in. Down the front is velvet trim.

Just as students progress through school so does the gown. The higher the educational degree, the more there is to your graduation robe.

A sea of multiple colored tassels

According to Eugene Sullivan, American Council of Education, academic dress dates back to the 12th century England. It was standardized in 1895, with a color assigned for each field of learning.

The colors can be seen on the tassels at any university’s graduation. Whether you graduate in education from Weber State University or Colorado State University, you’ll have the same light blue tassel. The one exception is the associate degrees in general studies, which is purple and white at Weber State.

Below is a list courtesy of Gradfest’s webpage for WSU of what color each college is:

Applied Science & Technology: Black

Bachelor of Electronics Engineering: Orange

Arts & Humanities: White

Master of English: White

Master of Professional Communication: Crimson

Business & Economics: Brown

Master of Business Administration: Brown

Master of Accounting: Brown

Master of Taxation: Brown

Education: Light Blue

Master of Education: Light Blue

Master of Athletic Training: Light Blue

Health Professions: Apricot

Master of Nursing: Apricot

Master of Radiology: Apricot

Health Administration Services: Salmon

Science: Golden Yellow

Social & Behavioral Sciences: Cream

Master of Criminal Justice: Citron

BIS: Cream




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