The Freshers' Guide

Gowns

The MA status gownYou will be required to wear academic gowns for the matriculation dinner and photo when joining Sidney Sussex (at the start of your first term) and for your graduation. Gowns are also required for formal halls in College and at some other colleges for exchange dinners (see further below). While gowns can be rented for each occasion, it is usually cost-effective to purchase your own if you will attend at least a few dinners (and especially if you buy second hand).

The university maintains a list of gown retailers; you might also like to refer to the list below, which includes links to maps showing the location of each shop.

Second hand gowns are often for sale at the Graduate Union and Ryder and Amies. Keep your eyes peeled for advertisements on sales at each of these venues.

The University's rules for academical dress are defined in the Statutes and Ordinances (specifically, Chapter 2 of the Ordinances). You should not generally need to consult this detailed document, unless you are curious! If you are not a Cambridge graduate, you should wear the BA gown if you are under 24 and the MA gown if you are 24 or over - in each case, this should be the gown with the strings removed (technically, you have Bachelor or Master of Arts status rather than the Cambridge BA or MA degrees themselves). Cambridge graduates should ordinarily wear the gown of their highest degree. Hoods are worn only for graduation (for which different rules apply). For the curious, there is information (with pictures!) available from the website of the Heraldry and Genealogy Society.

Freshers' Guide last modified: 1 November 2017
This section last modified: 8 September 2009