The hooding of doctoral candidates at commencement is considered a very special occasion by the Graduate College. It signifies the culmination of doctoral studies and the transition from candidate to colleague; it is and should be an important moment for those involved. We want to help make the moment meaningful and have it transpire smoothly.

Because the hooding ceremony occurs at commencement in front of a large audience and requires a series of movements, it can be a bit confusing and maybe a little daunting for some. Thus, we offer these instructions for those who will participate. Although the instructions are intended for the graduating doctoral candidate, the major professor may find them helpful as well. We are providing video footage of an actual doctoral hooding that may be informative as well.

Doctoral Hooding


  1. At commencement, you will be asked to approach the stage with other doctoral candidates. At this point, you carry your hood draped over your forearm. You will be accompanied by your major professor, who will assist the vice president for research and graduate dean with your hooding.
  2. When you near the stage, change the position of your hood. Place your hands in a prayer position, pointing outward, with the hood resting over your hands. The button loop at the neck will face upward and outward, away from you. The colored silk portion of the hood will face inward, toward you.
  3. Once on the stage, you will hand your card to the name reader at the lectern. You will then proceed toward the middle of the stage, as will your major professor. The vice president will take the hood from you. Stand between your major professor and the vice president, facing the audience.
  4. The vice president will open the hood, giving one side to the major professor behind you. Together, they will lift the hood over your head and place it at your collar, draping the length of the hood down your back. (Depending on your height, you may need to stoop slightly.) Smile and enjoy the moment.
  5. You will turn to face the vice president for research and graduate dean and shake hands. Then turn and face your major professor to shake hands. This is a special moment to acknowledge the mentoring relationship you have shared with your major professor.
  6. The major professor will shake hands with the vice president, and then both you and your major professor will proceed across the stage and down the stairs at the opposite side from which you approached.
  7. You then return to your seat for the rest of commencement.

Some Don'ts of Hooding

  1. Don't position your hood draped over your forearm or clutch the hood as you approach the vice president of research and graduate dean onstage. This makes it difficult for the vice president to grasp the hood properly and impedes the process.
  2. Don't spin around. You will make fairly subtle movements during the process, turning from the vice president to face the audience for the hood placement, and then turning to shake hands. Allow the vice president to guide your movements.
  3. Don’t bring your master’s hood to commencement.
  4. Don’t remove your cap.

Interesting Facts about Doctoral Regalia

  1. The doctoral hood is longer than the master's hood.
  2. The color of the inset silk reflects the university's school colors.
  3. The felt trim indicates the type of doctoral degree, e.g., Ph.D., Ed.D., D.M.A.