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Hoods of the Month

Diploma, Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama

[s4] modified, maroon stuff bordered 3" pink taffeta.

The hood is made in a modified Edinburgh shape - the liripipe is omitted, and the neckband is cut straight. It was used for awards made before the Academy (now the Royal Scottish Conservatoire) gained degree-awarding powers. There was also a Diploma in Stage Management (hood bordered 3" white), and in Dramatic Art (hood fully lined white).

1st January 2022

MA, Harvard

[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.

28th December 2021

Business & Technology Education Council

Sometimes confused with the (admittedly rare) degree of BTech, this hood is used by holders of certain awards - principally the HND and HNC - of the Business & Technology Education Council (now part of EdExcel). The hood, in [a1] shape, is in the BTEC colours of red and blue, and, despite strong advice from the robemakers to invert them, the Council insisted on red lined blue: it is, therefore, frequently criticized for looking at first glance like a doctoral hood - mainly DPhil(Oxon) and LL.D(Lond).

1st December 2021

MEng, University of Liverpool

Liverpool's scheme (1903) reproduces that of Edinburgh almost entirely, but with different faculty colours - and Liverpool does allow its doctors scarlet hoods! Also, Liverpool hoods have the lining bound over, while Edinburgh ones are lined edge-to-edge. Orange is the faculty colour for engineering. The system creates hoods in closely-related disciplines by adding borders inside the hood, so the MEng, a first degree, wears the MScEng hood (black lined orange) with a 1" border of white set 1" in.

1st November 2021

BM/BCh, University of Glasgow

Glasgowu's hoods, which were originally simple shape, were changed to full in 1893, and adopted the then-current version of the Cambridge shape, including its method of lining, whereby the cowl is lined for about 1" and the cape bordered inside for about 4", so it appears to be fully lined. Bachelors and masters wear a black hood lined with faculty colour; the bachelors are differenced with a scarlet cord round the cape (before 1937, a half-inch border of scarlet cloth); masteru's hoods are lined and bound. The faculty colour for Medicine is scarlet.

1st October 2021

MD, University of Wales

The Welsh School (later, College) of Medicine opened in 1931, and formed a constituent institution of the federal University of Wales, awarding degrees in Medicine and Surgery, and in Dentistry. They were slotted into the existing scheme, and given their own faculty colours, but the MB,BCh and BDS, although simple shape like the other bachelors, are fully lined and not bordered, thus marking their longer period of study. Medicine and Surgery was given green shot black as its faculty silk, but for some reason, the hoods are also bound with white. As the green/black silk is not used for any other degrees, it is hard to see why: bindings were later added to existing hoods to make new ones in closely-related disciplines: Librarianship used the Arts hoods bound white, and the MBA uses the MScEcon hood bound blue. The same happened with the Dentistry degrees: they were assigned blue shot white and bound purple, though the unbound hoods were later given to the Pharmacy degrees.

1st September 2021

MFA, Trinity College Dublin

This extraordinary hood was first awarded about 2010. It uses the pale blue shell of the old MusB, which was lined white fur: that hood is now used for the degrees in acting and in theatre studies; pale blue seems to have become associated with performing arts at Dublin. Quite what the reason for using light blue artificial fur is remains to be discovered: fur, insofar as Dublin uses fur at all, it has always been a bachelor’s marker (BA in black, MusB in pale blue, BMus(Comp) in rose, BArchSc in dark green), and white. It is, indeed, the only hood to use coloured artificial fur.

1st August 2021

PGDip, University of Greenwich

The University of Greenwich was, until 1992, Thames Polytechnic. The robes are notable for their use of ‘Cloister’ pattern damask in two shades: light blue, and gold, which tends to show as orange. This, combined with scarlet silk into which the arms are woven in colour, makes it one of the more striking schemes. (The doctoral robes are made of gold damask.) Bachelors and Postgraduate Diploma holders wear the same hood: black lined damask, and bordered 6” of the special scarlet silk: the bachelors are lined blue damask, and the PGDip gold. The width of the scarlet border means that the two hoods cane appear identical when worn.

1st July 2021

MA, University of Malaya

The robes for the University of Malaya were designed by Charles Franklyn in 1949, and this shows him wearing the MA hood (picture courtesy Prof Len Newton, FBS). It is in Franklyn’s ‘improved’ version of the London shape, which is 45 inches long, and has a very rounded cape. They are stated to be ‘dark’ blue, but as can be seen here, it is actually a shade of cyan. As usual with Franklyn’s schemes, bachelors wear Burgon hoods [s2], masters London ones [f3], and doctors Oxford full [f5] – all in his ‘improved’ versions – lined with faculty colour: that for Arts is light cerise. (Most of the Malaya faculty colours were later reproduced in his schemes for Hull and Southampton.) There are illogicalities: although Education has its own colour (white), the BEd and MEd do not wear blue lined white, but the BA or MA hood with a white binding; the PhD has its own colour, green, but also has a binding of the colour of the faculty in which it was taken.

1st June 2021

DA, Manchester College of Art & Design

The Diploma in Art was awarded by the Manchester College of Art & Design (now part of Manchester Metropolitan University). It had a white hood, lined with scarlet shot silk, and bordered with a scarlet ribbon into which the arms of the City of Manchester are embroidered in scarlet: it was the first hood to use this idea, and remained so until Aston took it on in 1966. Later examples of this hood have the ribbon border on one side only, indicating that it was to be worn as shown in the picture, and also probably that the stock of ribbon was starting to run low, and so the makers were economizing, as the diploma was about to be withdrawn. The shells were made of a variety of materials: this one is made of a very heavily ribbed stuff.

1st May 2021

BEd, University of Oxford

When the degree was introduced in 1969, it was given an MA-style Burgon hood of black lined and bound ‘beetle green’; this was paralleled by the BFA hood of 1978, which was lined and bound gold. However, in the 1992 revision, the BEd was given a black hood with a 2” border of green; the BFA suffered likewise. The original BEd hood was then passed to the newly- introduced MEd, but the MFA (introduced 2001) wears gold lined white; the old BFA hood is now obsolescent.

1st April 2021

BEd, University of Leicester

Leicester was chartered in 1857, and had previously prepared its students for London external degrees. However, its scheme makes no reference to the London robes at all. It uses a unique version of the simple shape for its bachelors (though adopted elsewhere lately), which is effectively a reduced version of the Leeds simple shape, and the masters and doctors use modified Aberdeen shapes. Bachelors and masters wear hoods of bright cherry red lined with the faculty colour, the colour for Education being ‘tartan green’.

1st March 2021

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