Academic dress of Durham University

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Bachelor of Science Dress at Graduation

The academic dress of Durham University has many similarities with that of other older British universities such as Oxford and Cambridge. Most Durham colleges insist on gowns being worn on formal occasions, including matriculation and formal halls (dinners); exceptions are Van Mildert, St Cuthbert's Society (selected dinners only), Collingwood, Stephenson, St Aidans, and The College of St Hild and St Bede (matriculation only). Some colleges also insist on their being worn to Junior Common Room meetings, and they are often seen in college chapels. At formal halls, only gowns are worn and doctors normally wear their undress gowns; for more ceremonial occasions full-dress gowns and hoods are worn by graduates. Until 1990, the General Regulations of University 'recommended' the wearing of gowns by members of the University when attending divine service at the Cathedral[1] – but this is now left to individual choice apart from at certain services (such as the Founders and Benefactors service). Gowns are also customarily worn to meetings of the university Senate by members of that body.

Regulations on the wearing of undergraduate gowns in college are technically set by the colleges themselves, but in many colleges the regulations are decided by the JCRs. Note that as some colleges do not wear undergraduate gowns, it is entirely possible to pass through an undergraduate degree at Durham, graduate in absentia, and never have to wear a gown. Alternatively, by attending a college with frequent formals (twice a week at Castle, Chad's and Hatfield) and attending evensong at the cathedral regularly, it is possible to spend a fair proportion of one's life in a gown.

Regulations on academic dress can be found in the University Calendar.

Gowns[edit]

There are four main gowns in the Durham scheme, corresponding to the four levels within the University: Undergraduates, Bachelors, Masters, and Doctors. With the exception of the full-dress doctors' gowns, all Durham gowns are black. For a further explanation of gown classifications, see Groves classification system.

Undergraduates[edit]

A knee-length gown gathered at the yoke with elbow-length square sleeves, but with the forearm seam opened about four inches from the bottom. Originally, undergraduate gowns differed according to the Faculty of the wearer:[2]

Arts - no trimming on sleeve
Medicine - gimp trimming on sleeve
Science - black velvet trimming on sleeve.

Durham Scholars have for more than a century worn a full-length gown with wrist-length sleeves and no opening on the seam. In 2011 the University sanctioned the use of a different gown, identical to that worn by Bachelors (see below) but 'edged with palatinate ribbon one inch wide'.[3]

The Hild and Bede college gown, retained from before the college became a constituent college of the University, differs from other Durham gowns in being made of brocaded fabric and being shorter. The President of the Durham Union Society wears a Scholars' gown faced with palatinate ribbon. The Senior Man of St Chad's customarily wears a Scholars' gown faced with olive green ribbon (the MCR President there wears similar facings, but on a bachelor's gown). The St Chad's undergraduate gown (rarely seen outside of Matriculation) is based on the Oxford Scholars' gown, but adds two black buttons at the lower end of the forearm, joined across the (open) seam by 5 inches of twisted green cord.

Bachelors[edit]

A full-length gown, coming to somewhere between mid-calf and the ankle, with pointed sleeves hanging down almost as far and a black cord and button on the yoke. The major difference between this and the BA gown worn at many other British universities is that the forearm seam is opened for around 15–20 cm above the wrist, where it is held closed with a button and loop. The arm can then be passed through the opening so the arm is exposed from around the elbow rather than being covered to the wrist.

The bachelors' gown is used by all bachelors. It is also used for the four-year undergraduate masters' courses, such as the MEng and the MSci.

Holders of Postgraduate Diplomas and Certificates also wear the bachelor's gown.

Masters[edit]

The masters' gown is identical to the MA gown worn at most other British universities, with the addition of a black cord and button on the yoke. It is similar to the bachelors' gown, except that the long sleeves are rectangular and closed at the ends, with a crescent cut out of each sleeve-end, and a horizontal arm-slit just above the elbow.

The masters' gown is used for post-graduate masters courses and as the undress gown for doctors (the only exceptions being the MMus and undress DMus gowns - see 'Music degrees' below). Doctors of Divinity wear the masters' gown with a black silk scarf, while the junior doctors (PhDs and EdDs) are distinguished by a palatinate cord and button on the yoke.

Doctors[edit]

The doctors' full-dress gown is a scarlet cassimere gown (brocaded white satin for DMus) gathered at the yoke and with bell sleeves. The sleeves and facings are in a coloured silk (see below).

Doctors' Silks[edit]

The colour of the silk on the gown's sleeves and facings indicates which doctorate the wearer holds. The colours of the silk are:

  • Junior Doctors:
    • EdD (Doctor of Education) - Facings scarlet trimmed with 1 inch palatinate on the inside and the sleeves (from the bottom) 4 inches palatinate and 4 inches white
    • PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) - Scarlet trimmed with 1 inch palatinate on the inside of the facings and the top of the sleeves
    • DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) - Gown is not cassimere but rather wool panama, faced with white silk and bound on inside edge with palatinate purple silk.
  • Higher Doctors:
    • DMus (Doctor of Music) - Palatinate
    • DLitt (Doctor of Letters) - Old Gold
    • DSc (Doctor of Science) - Scarlet
    • DCL (Doctor of Civil Law) - White
    • DD (Doctor of Divinity) - Palatinate

Music Gowns[edit]

The MMus and undress DMus gowns are similar in shape to the masters' gown but with a flap collar covering the yoke and with inverted T-shaped armholes rather than straight horizontal cuts. Additionally there are panels of lace (known as gimp) near the foot of the gown and (on the DMus undress gown) on the sleeves. Instead of this panel, the MMus gown has a row of lace running from the armholes to the base of the sleeves.

Hoods[edit]

Durham has two types of hoods for its degrees: Oxford simple shape, consisting of just a cowl and liripipe, and full shape, consisting of a cowl and cape. Of the full hoods, there are three variants: the BA shape with a large semi-circular cape and long thin liripipe; the BCL shape with a shorter cape with rounded corners and a broad liripipe and rounded corners to the cape; the doctors' shape is similar to the BCL but the cowl edge is cut at 80 degrees to the cape and the liripipe sticks out in a 45 degree angle. Hoods may be made of silk or stuff (material other than silk - normally cotton) The shape in which the hood is made is governed only by tradition, but the materials and colours used are laid down in the University regulations. Many of the hoods feature palatinate - a particular shade of purple that is associated with the University.

Undergraduates[edit]

St John's College has its own hood for graduates of its ministerial training course: of the Durham BCL pattern, in black stuff, the cowl faced inside with 2" blue silk. St Chad's College, which ceased to be a full-time theological college in the early 1970s, nevertheless had a hood for graduates of the part-time training course associated with the College: Cambridge MA pattern, the cowl faced inside with 2" olive-green silk. This was later superseded by the current pattern, Oxford simple-shape, faced inside with 2" olive-green silk and lined with blue-green brocade.

Bachelors[edit]

The Durham BSc hood.

Bachelors' hoods are full-shape made with black stuff except for the BSc and LLB (made with palatinate silk). BA, BSc, and BPhil use a slightly different full-shape, with a wider cape than the other Durham degrees.

  • BA (Bachelor of Arts) Part lined with white fur and trimmed with white fur on the cape.
  • BSc (Bachelor of Science) Palatinate bound white fur with a 0.5 inch scarlet band inside the fur.
  • LLB (Bachelor of Laws) Maroon trimmed with white fur on the cape.
  • BPhil (Bachelor of Philosophy) Part lined with 4 inches of white silk and trimmed with white fur on the cape.
  • BEng (Bachelor of Engineering) Scarlet bordered with 3 inches palatinate and trimmed with white fur on the cape.

Masters[edit]

All masters except the MA and the MEd use full-shape hoods. MA and MEd use the simple shape. All masters' hoods are made in black silk except for the MJur, which is made in palatinate silk. They are lined as follows:

  • Postgraduate:
    • LLM (Master of Laws) Palatinate, bound white
    • MA (Master of Arts) Palatinate
    • MEd (Master of Education) White, edged palatinate
    • MSc (Master of Science) Palatinate, bound scarlet
    • MLitt (Master of Letters) Old gold
    • MMus (Master of Music) White brocade bound palatinate
    • MPhil (Master of Philosophy) Scarlet bound palatinate
    • MTheol (Master of Theology) Black bound 1 inch palatinate
    • MBA (Master of Business Administration) Palatinate with a border of 2.5 inches white, bound scarlet
    • MJur (Master of Jurisprudence) Palatinate bound white fur
  • Postgraduate Diplomas and Certificates:
    • Postgraduate Diploma: Black outer, self-lined black, trimmed with double row of palatinate purple ribbon 0.5 inch wide. These are typically used for PGDE (Postgraduate Diploma in Education)
    • Postgraduate Certificate: Black outer, self-lined black, trimmed with one row of palatinate purple ribbon 0.5 inch wide. These are typically used for PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education)
  • Undergraduate:
    • MEng (Master of Engineering) Scarlet bound 0.5 inches palatinate
    • MMath (Master of Mathematics) Cerise bound white fur
    • MSci (Master in Science) Palatinate bound white fur on the cowl and scarlet on the cape
    • MChem (Master of Chemistry) Palatinate bound white fur on the cowl and palatinate on the cape
    • MPhys (Master of Physics) Black outer, palatinate bound white fur on the cowl and dark purple on the cape

Doctors[edit]

Doctors wear full-shape hoods with round-cornered capes. All these hoods are of scarlet cassimere, except DMus and DSc (which are made of brocaded white satin and palatinate cassimere respectively). The linings are generally the same colours as the sleeves and facings and the gowns:

  • Higher Doctors:
    • DD (Doctor of Divinity) Palatinate
    • DCL (Doctor of Civil Law) White
    • DSc (Doctor of Science) Scarlet
    • DLitt (Doctor of Letters) Old Gold
    • DMus (Doctor of Music) Palatinate
  • Junior Doctors:

Caps[edit]

Gown and hoods are worn for graduations, but mortarboards, while officially part of the academic dress of the University, are not. When in full dress, Doctors wear soft square hats (known as John Knox caps) with a tump at the centre of the crown rather than mortarboards or Tudor bonnets.

Degrees no longer awarded[edit]

The following degrees,[4] at one time or another, have ceased to be awarded by the University of Durham. Those in italics were linked to departments based in Newcastle upon Tyne; when, in 1963, Newcastle became a university in its own right, it retained the academical dress associated with these degrees and for the most part continues to use it.[5]

Except where noted, the standard bachelor's or master's gown was worn (see above).

M.D. (Doctor of Medicine)

Full-dress gown: Scarlet cassimere, lined with scarlet silk faced with palatinate purple silk
Undress gown: Black cord or corded silk, trimmed with black velvet lace
Hood: Scarlet cassimere, lined with scarlet silk, faced with palatinate purple silk

M.B. (Bachelor of Medicine)

Gown: Black cord, trimmed with gimp
Hood: Scarlet silk, lined with palatinate purple silk, and bound with white fur

D.Ch (Doctor of Surgery)

Full-dress gown: Scarlet cassimere, lined with rose silk faced with palatinate purple silk
Undress gown: Black cord or corded silk, trimmed with black velvet lace
Hood: Scarlet cassimere, lined with rose silk, faced with palatinate purple silk

M.S. (Master of Surgery)

Hood: Rose silk, lined with palatinate purple silk

B.S. (Bachelor of Surgery)

Gown: Black cord, trimmed with gimp
Hood: Rose silk, lined with palatinate purple silk, and bound with white fur

D.Hy. (Doctor of Hygiene)

Full-dress gown: Scarlet cassimere, lined with scarlet silk faced with palatinate purple and white silk
Undress gown: Black cord or corded silk, trimmed with black velvet lace
Hood: Scarlet cassimere, lined with scarlet silk, faced with palatinate purple and white silk

B.Hy. (Bachelor of Hygiene)

Gown: Black cord, trimmed with gimp
Hood: Black silk, faced with palatinate purple and scarlet silk, and bound with white fur

D.D.Sc. (Doctor of Dental Science)

Full-dress gown: Scarlet cassimere, lined with rose silk edged with ivory white silk
Undress gown: Black cord or corded silk, trimmed with black velvet lace
Hood: Scarlet cassimere, lined with rose silk, edged with ivory white silk

M.D.S. (Master of Dental Surgery)

Hood: Rose silk, lined with ivory white silk

B.D.S. (Bachelor of Dental Surgery)

Gown: Black cord, trimmed with gimp
Hood: Rose silk, lined with ivory white silk, and bound with white fur

B.D. (Bachelor of Divinity)

Gown: same as M.A.
Hood: Black corded silk, lined with black silk

B.C.L. (Bachelor of Civil Law - see note in paragraph below)

Hood: Palatinate silk, bound with white fur

B.Litt. (Bachelor of Literature)

Hood: Old gold satin, edged with fur

B.Mus. (Bachelor of Music)

Gown: same as undress D.Mus, but without slit at back
Hood: Palatinate purple silk, bound with brocaded white satin one inch wide (simple-shape)

M.Com. (Master of Commerce)

Hood: Black silk, lined with cerise silk

B.Com. (Bachelor of Commerce)

Hood: Black silk, lined with cerise silk, and edged with white fur

LL.D. (Doctor of Laws)

Full-dress gown: Scarlet cassimere, lined with maroon silk
Undress gown: same as M.A.
Hood: Scarlet cassimere, lined with maroon silk

LL.M. (Master of Laws - see note in paragraph below)

Hood: Maroon silk, lined with palatinate purple silk (simple-shape)

LL.B (Bachelor of Laws - see note in paragraph below)

Hood: Maroon silk, lined with palatinate purple silk, and edged with white fur

B.Arch. (Bachelor of Architecture)

Hood: Black silk, lined with sky-blue silk, and edged with white fur

B.Ed. (Bachelor of Education)

Hood: Black silk, edged with white fur and palatinate ribbon one inch wide

It may be noted that when, in the late 1990s, Durham University re-instituted the degree of LL.B. (previously associated with the Newcastle division and latterly with Newcastle University), it adopted a design of hood which was essentially the old hood reversed (see above) - though for some reason this logic was not followed with the re-instituted LL.M. It should also be noted that the old B.C.L. degree was rebranded as M.Jur. at about the same time - leading to the peculiarity of a fur hood being worn with a masters' gown for this degree.

University Officials[edit]

The Chancellor of the University wears a gown of black brocaded satin trimmed with gold lace in a distinctive pattern unique to the Universities of Durham and Newcastle. The Vice-Chancellor & Warden and the Pro-Vice-Chancellors wear black silk gowns with identical lace trimming, but in silver rather than gold. A scarlet habit is worn beneath these gowns (see below); at the neck, the chancellor wears a lace jabot, the Vice-Chancellor and his/her deputies wear white tie and bands. A black velvet mortar-board, with gold or silver tassel as appropriate, is also worn.

The office of Proctor is in abeyance at Durham, but a distinctive form of dress is prescribed for these officials, viz: a black silk gown, sleeves and front faced with black velvet and sleeves lined with palatinate purple silk; black velvet mortar-board; black velvet hood lined with palatinate purple silk.

Habits[edit]

In Durham, the early statutes require the wearing of a Convocation Habit 'under the gown'[6] (though later statutes say 'with the gown' rather than under it). Pre-World War II graduation photographs frequently show Durham doctors who are members of Convocation wearing the habit beneath their full-dress doctoral gown and hood. The Chancellor and the Vice-Chancellor were formerly directed[7] to wear the Convocation Habit under their gold- and silver-laced gowns, "or Scarlet Habit if not holding a Doctorate". This latter usage is followed to this day, the Habit being sleeved like a cassock).

References[edit]

  • Fowler, J. T. (1904), Durham University: earlier foundations and present colleges. London: F. E. Robinson & Co.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ University of Durham Calendar 1989-90, Vol.1 p.69
  2. ^ University of Durham Calendar 1936, p.317
  3. ^ University Calendar (vol. 1) 2011-12.
  4. ^ University of Durham Calendar 1936, pp314-317
  5. ^ See http://www.ncl.ac.uk/congregations/ceremonies/gownhire/dress/ for details, including illustrations
  6. ^ Fowler, Appendix VIII: "CONVOCATION HABIT: Scarlet cassimere, with palatinate purple buttons, to be worn under the gown at all Convocations."
  7. ^ University of Durham Calendar, 1936, p.314

External links[edit]