Graduation Gowns in the North East of England

The region of the North East of England boasts a number of world class universities, all of which have their own academic dress traditions. Some share similarities, for example Durham and Newcastle universities are the only two to use a particular type of bachelors gown, however below we have outlined the unique features that will enable you to pick out their graduates in a crowd!


Teeside has a unique feature to its academic dress, in that all students wear the same style of hood. Usually universities will show the differences between masters students and bachelors students by having hoods in different shapes and colours. However at Teesside this difference is shown by the cap and gown instead. Whilst bachelors students at Teesside wear a black cap and gown, masters students stand out in a bright red gown! The tassel on the masters cap is also in a matching shade of red. All the academic dress at Teesside follows this colour scheme of black and red.

Teesside University Graduates

Churchill Gowns customers showing off the Teesside bachelors gown, cap and hood


Most Sunderland students graduate wearing a black academic gown and a black square mortarboard cap with a coloured hood. The hoods all follow a scheme of dark blue and 'nasturtium' orange, however the shape and pattern of the hood changes depending on the level of degree being awarded. 

Sunderland University Graduation Gown Designs

Sunderland hoods follow a colour scheme of blue and orange. From left to right: bachelors hood, PGCE hood, masters hood

Like most universities, Sunderland has very ornate gowns for its PhD graduates. The gown and hood are blue and trimmed with orange and then, instead of a mortarboard, the doctoral graduates at Sunderland wear a round velvet hat called a tudor bonnet.


Durham is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the UK, so you would expect it to have some pretty fancy academic dress to match. Durham is split into smaller colleges and, at some of these colleges, students wear plain black gowns throughout their university years.

When it comes to graduation at Durham, things get a bit more exciting! Bachelors students have their own style of gown which can be identified by its unusual sleeve. There is a slit that runs vertically to the elbow and then is held in place with a button. There is also a chord and button at the back of the neck. These gowns are pretty unique to the North East and Durham and Newcastle are the only major universities that use this style of gown. 

The hoods at Durham tend to differ depending on the faculty you graduated from, as well as the level of degree, so for example arts students wear different hoods to science students and bachelors students wear different hoods to masters students.

What unites them is that most of the Durham bachelors hoods feature a white fur edge, and most hoods fall within a colour scheme of black, white, red and purple. This specific purple colour is known as palatinate purple and is uniquely associated with County Durham, which was historically called County Palatine. To see more of the Durham gowns, check out our handy video guide:

If you are graduating from Durham you may be disappointed to hear that they don’t officially use hats as part of their academic dress, so you would not wear a square cap or bonnet to attend your ceremony. However, at Churchill Gowns we do include a cap with our Durham sets so that you can wear one for photos (or throw one in the air!) if you want to.


The last university we'll be taking a look at today is Newcastle. Academic dress at Newcastle has a lot of things in common with Durham. For example, they use the same unusual style of black bachelors gown, they don't officially wear mortarboard caps, most of the bachelors hoods have a white fur trim and palatinate purple features on many of the hoods. This is because the two Universities used to be linked, before Newcastle was given independent status in 1963, and so many of the academic dress designs were carried over to the new institution.

The most common hoods you see at Newcastle, from the faculties of arts and sciences, tend to follow a colour scheme of gold and royal blue.

Newcastle University graduation gown styles

From left to right: Newcastle BA hood, Newcastle BEng hood, Newcastle MSc hood

If you have a ceremony coming up at one of these universities then hire your gown now from Churchill Gowns to get the best deal!