Attention: Academic Regalia is required for all students and faculty participating in the Commencement ceremonies. To purchase regalia, stop in at the MSU Bookstore, call them at (406) 994-2811 or visit them online at


Academic regalia are the traditional dress for degree candidates participating in the college, commencement ceremony.


The academic dress worn by graduates during Commencement dates back to the Middle Ages when flowing gowns kept scholars warm in cold and drafty buildings. Modern graduates traditionally also wear a cap (in medieval times, an emblem of intellectual independence) to complete the ceremonial ensemble. Elements of the regalia are different depending upon the level of the degree being awarded. Most are based on the American Council on Education’s Academic Costume Code and are standardized across the nation.

For all academic purposes, the colors are associated with the different majors (at the Masters and Doctoral level) as follows:

  • Agriculture, Maize
  • Architecture, Blue Lilac
  • Arts and Letters, White
  • Business, Sapphire Blue
  • Dentistry, Lilac
  • Economics, Copper
  • Education, Light Blue
  • Engineering, Orange
  • Fine Arts, Brown
  • Forestry, Russet
  • Humanities, Crimson
  • Library Science, Lemon
  • Medicine, Green
  • Music, Pink
  • Nursing, Apricot
  • Oratory, Silver Gray
  • Pharmacy, Olive Green
  • Philosophy, Dark Blue
  • Physical Education, Sage Green
  • Public Health, Salmon Pink
  • Science, Golden Yellow
  • Theology, Scarlet
  • Veterinary Science, Gray
  • Law, Purple

Required Regalia and Purchasing Information

The most elaborate regalia on display at Commencement are worn by those receiving a doctoral degree. A doctor's gown is a much fuller gown and is decorated with velvet lapels and three chevrons sewn onto the sleeves of the gown that designate the recipient as a “doctor.” In place of the mortarboard, doctoral students can wear a tam, a velvet hat with a gold tassel attached that is much less rigid in construction.

Doctoral regalia are unique in the sense that it is often worn many times following the degree recipient's own graduation, especially for those who pursue careers in academia. It distinguishes the faculty member as a graduate of a specific institution. 

Purchasing Information

PhD and Doctoral regalia is for purchase only. PhD and Doctoral regalia consists of cap, gown, tassel and hood for $88.00, and will be available beginning October 14, 2022. There is an additional fee for the tam if chosen.

Master’s degree students wear a modified gown with longer sleeves, the mortarboard with a color appropriate tassel, and a hood.

Purchasing Information

Master regalia is for purchase only. Master regalia consists of cap, gown, tassel, and hood for $68.00, and will be available beginning October 14, 2022.

For those earning a Bachelor’s or Associates’s degree, a black gown and mortarboard with a color-appropriate tassel are worn. 

Purchasing Information

Associate and Bachelor regalia consists of cap, gown, and tassel for $34.00, and will be available beginning October 14, 2022.

Honors Tassels

Institutional honors are granted for students who have a qualifying GPA and at least 30 credits completed at MSU. Students with a 3.25-3.69 cumulative GPA  may receive a royal blue tassel signifying graduation with honors. Students with a 3.70 cumulative GPA or higher may receive a gold tassel signifying graduation with highest honors. Tassels can be exchanged at the Service Desk in the MSU Bookstore or purchased through MSU Bookstore beginning October 14, 2022. An "HONORS" list will be submitted to the Bookstore at that time.

Regalia for Rent

Individuals wishing to rent fine regalia for Commencement need to place their order at the MSU Bookstore by March 19, 2021. Payment is required at time of order on rental regalia; the Provost’s Office has generously offered a $60 stipend toward renting regalia.

Doctoral Rental Package

  • Gown, Cap, Tassel, and Hood $85.00 (faculty, staff, and admin. only) must be ordered by March 19, 2021.

Master Rental Package

  • Gown, Cap, Tassel, and Hood $75.00 (faculty, staff, and admin. only) must be ordered by March 19, 2021.

Regalia for Purchase

Custom Made Fine Quality Regalia

Custom made fine quality regalia orders are placed directly through the Jostens website. Follow this link: Jostens Academic Regalia for package options.

  • Doctoral packages range from $359-$819 plus shipping.
  • Jostens will ship your gown directly to you.
  • Orders should be placed by March 19, 2021 for delivery in time for our May 1st ceremony.

Standard Quality Regalia

(For sale in store starting March 1, 2021)

Doctoral Standard Quality Gown (Purchase online)

  • Gown, Cap, Tassel and Hood, $88.00 (in stock at the Bookstore)

Masters Standard Quality Gown (Purchase online)

  • Gown, Cap, Tassel and Hood, $68.00 (in stock at the Bookstore)

All items sold on a first come first serve basis. Shop early for best size and hood selection.

Regalia Extras and Exceptions

Stole of Gratitude

The Stole of Gratitude is worn during the commencement ceremony. After the ceremony, the new graduate presents the stole to someone who provided extraordinary support during his/her college career, such as a parent, relative, professor or mentor. This is an optional addition to the required regalia. Stoles of Gratitude can be purchased at MSU Bookstore for $42.00, available while supplies last.

Decorated Mortarboards

Commencement is a celebration! We invite our degree candidates to decorate the top of their mortarboard (graduation cap), but ask that they respect the dignity of this occasion and be considerate of accepted university standards regarding appropriate content, as outlined below. 

Stoles and Cords

Montana State University strives to recognize and celebrate our candidates' unique academic and co-curricular accomplishments. These include but are not limited to induction into university-recognized honor societies, involvement in academic organizations and/or association with university-recognized groups or programs. 

In addition to the traditional cap and gown regalia worn at this event, we invite our degree candidates to wear stoles and cords at commencement to symbolize these associations in accordance with accepted university standards regarding appropriate content, as outlined below. The university-recognized student/organization/group or the student isresponsible for the cost of any additional regalia. The student is responsible for obtaining the regalia if he or she wishes to wear it during the commencement ceremony. 

American Indian Tribal Regalia

In accordance with Montana State Law 2-1-315, American Indian degree candidates are permitted to wear tribal regalia instead of traditional academic regalia at Montana State University’s commencement ceremonies. Keep in mind that all students participating in commencement must adhere to accepted university standards regarding appropriate content, as outlined below.

For more information about Montana State Law 2-1-315 please visit the Montana Code Annotated 2017 web page.

University staff reserve the right to confiscate any and all inappropriate materials. Examples of inappropriate content include intimidating or profane language and/or visual materials that insinuate drugs, alcohol, or discrimination or harassment of a protected class. Students unwilling to comply with these guidelines may not participate in the Commencement ceremony.