The University of Iowa


Commencement Apparel

All graduates are expected to wear academic regalia at their ceremonies. If you wish to obtain official regalia, please see ordering information below.

Undergraduate and Professional Graduates

The Hawk Shop is open and is currently accepting apparel orders along with other items related to commencement. More information can be found on their website.

Apparel will not be available for purchase at the ceremonies. 

Graduate College Graduates

Graduate student apparel can be rented or purchased online at Purchasing orders need to be ordered by 10:59 PM on March 17th. Rental deadline is 10:59 PM on April 11th. If you have questions, please contact Herff Jones at or (952) 447-4449.

  • It is your responsibility to return rented apparel to Herff Jones within one week of the ceremony. Rental apparel must be postmarked by May 19, 2023.
  • Apparel cannot be returned at the ceremony and must be shipped directly to Herff Jones using the prepaid shipping label included in your apparel box.

Apparel will not be available to purchase or rent at the ceremonies.

Business attire is suggested but not required. Graduates are cautioned regarding their choice of footwear, as stairs and floor may be difficult to navigate. Wearing high-heeled footwear is not advised. Bags or purses may not be carried or left in the graduate staging or seating areas, with the exception of medically necessary items. Please plan to not bring these items in or leave them with your guests. 

Decorating caps and gowns is not permitted. Flowers are not to be worn on gowns or carried in hand. Caps are to be worn with the tams or mortar boards horizontal and the tassel on the left. Tams/mortar boards should be worn during the Processional, Recessional, and while degrees are being conferred. However, they may be removed at other times.

Collegiate Tassel Colors

The color of the tassel to purchase is determined by the college the student is enrolled in. If the student is unsure which college they are enrolled in they can see the information in MyUI.

The colors associated with each college are listed below. Click on the college to expand the accordion for ordering information. 

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and University College wear the same apparel.




University College wears the same apparel as the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Cap Decorating

Undergraduate students are encouraged to celebrate their achievements by decorating their graduation cap. The following guidelines should be observed. Students who do not adhere to these guidelines may be asked to remove their decorated cap and will be given a replacement cap to wear during the ceremony.

Cap Decorating Guidelines 

  • No items will be allowed to dangle or protrude from the cap; only flat decorations will be permitted.
  • No lights or devices may be attached to the cap.
  • No inappropriate or profane language will be permitted.
  • No negative portrayal of the university or undergraduate experience.

Please Note:

  • The College of Engineering asks that no political verbiage or imagery be used. 
  • College of Medicine students are not allowed to wear decorated caps during the ceremony.
  • Graduate students are not allowed to wear decorated caps during their ceremony. 

Academic Costume

The academic costume code recognizes three styles of gowns: bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral. In May 2000, the Graduate College commemorated its centennial year with a new doctoral gown; the main differences can be seen in the trimming, cut, and shape of the sleeves. Hoods also denote degrees and may vary; the more elaborate adornments designate higher levels of degree attainment. The shell of the hood matches the black material of the gown, and the lining color represents the institution granting the degree. University of Iowa hoods are lined in old gold. The color of the velvet hood border indicates the field of study to which the degree pertains. At the University of Iowa, only doctoral degree candidates wear hoods. The velvet trim on hoods corresponds to colors established in the intercollegiate code.

The Oxford cap is proper for all degrees and can be worn both indoors and out with academic costume. The tassel, worn over the left eye, symbolizes the degree to be conferred on the wearer; tassels conform to the code colors for hood trimming.

Institutional practice may vary from the established code. University of Iowa candidates for degree display tassels corresponding to the college from which their degree will be granted. Tassels colors for individual colleges can be found above.

Historical information on Academic Regalia can be found on the American Council for Education website.