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How to Choose the Best Graduation Dress
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The mid-rise waist is perfect for tucking in tees or throwing a jumper over. Anyone who does not hold a Cambridge degree such as an undergraduate, or a graduate of another university normally wears a gown according to his or her status in Cambridge, i. Graduates of other universities may wear the academic dress of those universities on 'scarlet days', unless they are university officials or participating in a degree ceremony, but this has only been permitted since A graduand someone about to be presented for a degree wears the full Cambridge academic dress of the highest status degree that they already hold.
Graduands who do not already hold a Cambridge degree wear the gown appropriate to their status in the University, along with hood of the degree to which they are about to be admitted. Undergraduates, who do not yet hold a degree, wear their undergraduate gown, with the hood of the degree that they are about to receive. In the case of Medical students completing their clinical years graduands wear the gown and hood of the B.
This is due to the fact the B. Chir degree is conferred in absentia as soon as the list of people passing the Final M. B examination is posted outside Senate House. This was to prevent the necessity for a 'double graduation' ceremony.
As such it is common practice for students to hire the B. Chir academic dress, rather than purchase it, for it is superseded by the M. B academic dress post graduation. In the case of students who have completed both pre-clinical and clinical years at Cambridge, many alumni and graduates do not purchase the M.
B academic dress, merely hiring it for any occasions requiring academic dress Alumni Formal Hall etc. Medical students graduate at the end of the third year with a Cambridge BA, and for this ceremony are treated as any other students graduating with a BA. The full list of degrees and their order of seniority is given in the Ordinances of the University: The gowns in use at Cambridge, like those generally used throughout the UK but not the US , are open-fronted.
The main types seen are the undergraduate gown, Bachelor of Arts gown and Master of Arts gown, though the sleeves of graduates' gowns are adorned with various patterns that indicate the exact degree or degrees that they possess, and allow this to be determined even when hoods are not being worn.
In addition, for Scarlet days , Doctors either of Philosophy, or one of the more senior doctorates wear special dress gowns, distinguished by the use of scarlet. All undergraduate gowns resemble knee-length versions of the BA gown, and the basic gown is black, reaching down to just below the knees with an open pointed sleeve and the forearm seam left open. Most colleges' gowns include minor variations on this pattern, such as sleeve decorations.
The most distinct differences are the blue colour of the undergraduate gowns of Trinity and Caius and the blue facings of Selwyn. Illustrations and descriptions of the various collegiate gowns are available from the University's Heraldic and Genealogical Society website. Unlike in most other universities, except Oxford and Dublin , no bachelor's degree save the BA is awarded and all undergraduates at Cambridge traditionally graduated with a BA degree after three years, although, these days, many graduates in scientific subjects also obtain a master's degree, such as an MEng or MSci, after a further year of study, and graduate to both degrees at once.
In Cambridge, this period is six years from the end of the first term after matriculation provided this is at least two years from the award of the BA  — BAs are thus eligible for the MA at the first graduation ceremony in the seventh calendar year after matriculation.
The BA gown is a long black stuff cloth gown with long bell-shaped sleeves to the wrists with the forearm seam left open from near the shoulder to around " from the wrist.
The gown is gathered at the back in a yoke, and falls down to just below the knees. The BA hood is of black cloth, bound and half- lined in white fur, which by regulation is artificial. The MA gown is similar to the BA gown, except that it has "boot" sleeves, which are long, rectangular and closed at the ends, with a crescent cut out of each sleeve-end which curves at the top unlike the Oxford MA gown , and a horizontal arm-slit just above the elbow.
It falls down to calf length slightly longer than the BA gown and may be made of silk. The MA hood is of black silk lined in white silk. Other master's degree gowns vary from subject to subject at Cambridge; for example, the Master of Engineering MEng and M. The MPhil gown is the same as the MSci gown, but instead of an embroidered wheel, it has two buttons connected by a horizontal embroidered line at the shoulder. Persons without a Cambridge degree including those with a degree from another university wear a "BA status" or "MA status" gown, which is identical to a BA or MA gown but with the "strings" black ribbons attached inside the shoulder removed.
The BA status gown is for those aged under twenty-four while the MA gown is for those aged twenty-four or over. The rationale is that Cambridge students would usually join the university at 18, obtain their BA after three years, at 21, and their MA after a further three years, at Doctors in Cambridge have two forms of academic dress: Scarlet is worn on formal college and university occasions, and so-called Scarlet Days mostly Church of England festivals such as Easter and Christmas.
Different doctorates are distinguished from each other and from the plain MA gown by different arrangements of lace on the sleeves, facings or flap collar. The DD traditionally had a gown with sleeves like that on American gowns being gathered at the wrists which are called 'bishop's sleeves' or 'pudding sleeves'. Undress gowns may be made of silk or stuff. The gown may be worn with a doctor's hood.
The PhD hood, the one most commonly seen, is made of black corded silk lined with scarlet cloth; the hoods of higher doctors are made of red cloth and lined with silk in the faculty colour scarlet for letters, pink shot light blue for science, light-cherry for laws, mid-cherry for medicine, dove grey for divinity.
The MusD hood is of cream damask lined with dark cherry satin. The full dress or scarlet gown differs for each doctorate, but uses the same material and colours as the hood. For PhDs, there are two versions of the scarlet gown. The traditional version is the same as the MA gown in theory, though not in practice, the silk version , with the addition of a broad red cloth stripe down each side at the front.
The alternative version authorised in   but commonly used without authorisation before then uses detachable facings on an undress PhD gown, which is distinguished from the MA gown by doctors' lace on the sleeves that is not found on the traditional festal PhD gown.
For the higher doctorates, such as LLD or ScD, the scarlet gown is a more impressive affair, being brightly coloured and voluminous, with open sleeves that hang long at the back, at the sleeve front, the lining is turned outwards and is fixed in position by a twisted cord and button.
The linings of the sleeves and the facings are in silk of the colour of the hood lining. Scarlet day is the term used in the University of Cambridge to designate those days on which Doctors are required to wear the festal form of academic dress. They are so called because of the scarlet elements in the gowns and hoods of the festal full dress worn by Doctors as opposed to the everyday undress black gowns.
The ordinances of the University set out the following days as scarlet days: The individual colleges each have a few scarlet days of their own as well, such as on the day of the college's Saint.
Hoods are worn on the back as an indicator of academic status. These are of the distinctive Cambridge Full shape. The hood consists of a cape known also as the 'tippet' , cowl and liripipe. The neckband of a hood is of the outer colour, with no edging of the lining material. The corners of tippets are square. A form of a black hat known as a square cap also mortarboard is worn or carried.
Properly, it is worn outdoors and carried indoors, except by people acting in an official capacity who customarily continue to wear it indoors.
Although in practice few people wear or even carry a cap nowadays, they are nominally still required for graduates at the University; caps ceased to be compulsory for undergraduates in due to a shortage during the Second World War, and, after bringing them back for degree ceremonies in the Senate House only, were finally made entirely optional for undergraduates in , though they are still not permitted to wear any other head covering with a gown.
With their festal gowns, Doctors of Divinity wear a black velvet cap , and Doctors in other Faculties wear a wide-brimmed round velvet bonnet with gold string and tassels, known as a Tudor bonnet , instead of a mortarboard, though they may choose to wear a square cap with a festal gown if they are taking part in a ceremony in the Senate House.
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