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Hoods of the Month

PhD, McGill University

[f1] Scarlet lined in pale green silk.

The academic attire of McGill University dates back to the 1840s and remains largely unchanged. It is based on the sartorial traditions of the University of Cambridge, which is seen in the PhD gown, hood, and bonnet (though this is based on Cambridge's higher doctorates, not the Cambridge PhD).

13th June 2023

BCom, University of London

[f3], black silk lined white silk and bordered 3” deep orange silk.

Commerce degrees were a development of the 1920s, and most existing universities started to award them, and some still do. London introduced them (BCom and MCom) in 1921: the first MCom was awarded honoris causa to the Prince of Wales (later the Duke of Windsor) that year. They did not prove as popular as expected, and were withdrawn in 1954. The hoods were bordered (BCom) or lined (MCom) with deep orange. This is the Convocation hood, with white lining.

1st December 2022

BA, Nottingham Trent

[f1], dark blue lined bright green and bound on the cowl 1” yellow.

The Trent system is very simple: bachelors and masters wear a full-shape hood in dark blue, lined with bright green, and bound on the cowl (bachelors) or cowl and cape (masters) with faculty colour. Doctors’ hoods are crimson (PhD) or scarlet (higher doctors) and bound with silver.

1st November 2022

Bachelors, CNAA

[a1], gold panama lined turquoise taffeta.

This hood was possibly one of the commonest hoods to be seen at one time, as the CNAA validated degrees at all the Polytechnics before 1992, and at a number of other institutions also. Founded in 1960, it was closed down in 1992, when the polys became universities. It popularized this version on the Aberdeen shape, initially adopted by York in 1963. All hoods were of this shape, in gold, lined with turquoise (bachelors), white (masters), maroon (PhD), or cream damask (higher doctors).

1st November 2022

Fellow, Irish Guild of Organists & Choirmasters

[f1] , violet damask lined and bound 0.5" ivory taffeta

This membership guild, founded in 2003, admits at two levels of membership: Fellow and Associate. The hoods use its colours of violet and ivory. The AIGOC hood is black, lined violet damask, and bound ivory.

1st September 2022

Master of Arts, Harvard University

[s4] , black silk lined crimson silk

Harvard uses a single hood for all its degrees, and does not follow the Intercollegiate Code. This hood is effectively the Oxford MA hood as it was used when Harvard started to use robes: it is in the Edinburgh shape, black, lined with crimson.

1st August 2022

Honorary Life Member, Royal School of Church Music

[f1], blue lined silver.

The RSCM has three honorary awards: ARSCM, FRSCM, and HonRSCM. All three hoods are blue, and lined with silver (ARSCM), red (FRSCM), or ivory (HonRSCM). Many sources say the shell is royal blue, which it is not, and some say the lining is bound over.

1st July 2022

Member, Institute of Analysts & Programmers

[a1], black lined gold tipped royal blue.

Founded in 1972 as the University Computer Association, in 1981 it changed its name to the Institution of Analysts and Programmers, and was incorporated in 1992. It has four awards: Fellow, Member, Graduate, and Associate Member: the latter two have no robes. The hoods for the FIAP and MIAP are another variant on black, blue, and gold, with the FIAP hood being Cambridge shape in black, lined gold and bordered blue.

1st June 2022

PGDip Leicester

[s6], cherry red unlined, and bound on the cowl with a triple twisted cord of dark green, light blue, and gold.

This hood is basically a bachelor’s hood but without the faculty lining. Leicester had used its hoods for degrees validated at other institutions but differenced with a cord binding: the green, blue, and gold one was used at Bishop Grosseteste College in Lincoln; it is not clear why it was chosen for the PGDip hood. Undergraduate certificates and diplomas have this hood without the cord.

1st May 2022

PhD, East London

[f1], dark blue lined and bound 1” chilli red damask

From 1992, UEL used a simple and elegant system based round dark blue and ‘chilli red’ silk, which was damasked with the university’s emblem. However, in 2020, the university introduced a new system based on indigo, teal, and black.

1st April 2022

MSc, Strathclyde

[f1], saltire blue silk lined and bound 0.5” gold silk.

All Strathclyde hoods are made in ‘saltire blue’, and lined with white (Arts) or gold (Sciences), and further bound with various colours to denote other degrees: the lining depends on which of the two better suits, so a red binding on the Arts hood is Laws, but in the Science hood is Architecture. One peculiarity is that the doctors (both PhD and higher) revert to the relevant bachelor’s hood. However, the system is starting to break down, with a number of exceptions now being included.

1st March 2022

DSc St Andrews

[f10], amaranth silk lined white satin

St Andrews reintroduced hoods in 1860. The faculty colours are borrowed from the French system, so Science is amaranth. Doctors’ hoods are made in the faculty colour (as is the robe) and lined with white satin.

1st February 2022

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