Convocation Traditions

Convocation at the University of Alberta includes a rich history of traditions, including the format of ceremonies, academic dress, conferring of degrees, and other key university hallmarks such as the mace (pictured above) and ceremonial chairs.

Convocation Ceremony

Convocation ceremonies stem from the medieval tradition. The procession of the guild of teachers, whose solemn assembly, or convocation, is the modern equivalent of the medieval magna congregation of all faculties. It is led by the Chancellor and the Chief Marshal carrying the mace, the symbol of the university's corporate authority. The academic gowns, hoods, and caps declare, in their various designs and colors, the academic qualifications of the faculty. The citations and presentations by the faculty to the Chancellor attest to him and to society the degree of proficiency attained by the students of the university.

There follows a visible and public act whereby the universitas magistrorum, acting through its Chancellor, confers upon the students the appropriate degree. It is the act, not a certificate, which constitutes the validity of the degree bestowed. The words "I admit you" and the placing of the students' hands within the hands of the Chancellor and his associates, bind the students in the appropriate degree to the universitas magistrorum.

The students thereafter bear for all time the mark of their association with this university. They have received what the university has been and presently is. Because they bear in themselves the promise of the future, they are what the university hopes to be. Despite its solemnity, convocation is a joyous occasion.


Convocation Stage
(click to enlarge)

Academic dress

All undergraduate and Master's degree gowns are the customary Cambridge shape — i.e. a gown of black material falling below the knee with full sleeves cut to the elbow and terminating in a point. Hoods are made in the Oxford pattern, of spruce green material. The Bachelor's hood has a border three inches wide of the colour distinctive to the faculty. The Master's hood has a full lining of the colour distinctive to the faculty. Mortarboards are the standard black trencher shape with black tassels, which are worn forward and to the left.


Academic Dress
(click to enlarge)

Undergraduate Degrees

Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences Grass Green
Arts White
Augustana  White/Black/Red 
Business Silver Grey
Bilingual BCom/Baccalauréat bilingue en Administration des affaires Silver Grey/Lavender
Education Royal Blue
Engineering Light Green
Law Scarlet
Medicine and Dentistry
Dentistry and Dental Hygiene (BSc) Maroon
Medicine Crimson
Native Studies White/band of Red, White, Green, Gold, and Blue
Nursing Crimson/White
Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Cinnamon
Physical Education and Recreation Royal Blue/Gold
Faculté Saint-Jean Lavender
BA Lavender/White
Bilingual BCom/Baccalauréat bilingue en Administration des affaires Silver Grey/Lavender
BEd Lavender/Blue
BSc Lavender/Gold
Science Gold

Master's Degrees

Agriculture in
Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Sciences Grass Green
Clothing and Textiles Grass Green
Human Ecology Grass Green
Renewable Resources Grass Green
Rural Economy Grass Green
Arts in
Anthropology White
Art and Design White
Classics White
Clothing and Textiles Grass Green
Comparative Literature White
Communications and Technology White
Drama White
Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (Geography) Gold
East Asian Studies White
Economics White
English White
Film and Media Studies White
Geography White
Germanic Languages White
Hispanic Literatures White
History White
Linguistics White
Modern Languages and Cultural Studies White
Music White
Philosophy White
Physical Education and Sport Studies Royal Blue/Gold
Political Science White
Psychology White
Recreation and Leisure Studies Royal Blue/Gold
Religion White
Romance Languages White
Slavic and East European Studies White
Sociology White
Business Administration Silver Grey
Design White
Education in
Educational Policy Studies Royal Blue
Educational Psychology Royal Blue
Elementary Education Royal Blue
Faculté Saint-Jean (Maîtrise en sciences de l'éducation) Lavender/Blue
Secondary Education Royal Blue
Engineering Light Green
Fine Arts White
Forestry Grass Green
Health Services Administration Crimson
Laws Scarlet
Library and Information Studies Lemon Yellow
Music White
Nursing Crimson/White
Pharmacy Cinnamon
Public Health Pink/Crimson
Public Management Silver Grey
Science in
Agricultural Engineering Grass Green
Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Sciences Grass Green
Anatomy and Cell Biology Crimson
Animal Science Grass Green
Applied Sciences in Medicine Crimson
Biochemistry Gold
Biological Sciences Gold
Biology Gold
Biomedical Engineering Crimson
Botany Gold
Cell Biology Crimson
Chemical Engineering Light Green
Chemistry Gold
Civil Engineering Light Green
Clothing and Textiles Grass Green
Computer Engineering Light Green
Computing Science Gold
Dentistry Maroon
Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Gold
Electrical Engineering Light Green
Entomology Gold
Environmental Engineering Light Green
Family Ecology and Practice Grass Green
Family Studies Grass Green
Food Science Grass Green
Foods and Nutrition Grass Green
Forest Science Grass Green
Genetics Gold
Geography Gold
Geology Gold
Geophysics Gold
Health Promotion Crimson
Human Ecology Grass Green
Immunology Crimson
Laboratory Medicine and Pathology Crimson
Linguistics White
Materials Engineering Light Green
Mathematical Sciences Gold
Mathematics Gold
Mechanical Engineering Light Green
Medical Genetics Crimson
Medical Microbiology and Immunology Crimson
Medical Sciences Crimson
Medicine Crimson
Meteorology Gold
Microbiology Gold
Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineering Light Green
Occupational Therapy Salmon Pink
Oncology Crimson
Opthalmology Crimson
Oral Health Sciences Maroon
Paediatrics Crimson
Pathology Crimson
Pharmacology Crimson
Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Cinnamon
Physical Education and Sport Studies Royal Blue/Gold
Physical Therapy Salmon Pink
Physics Gold
Physiology Crimson
Plant Science Grass Green
Psychiatry Crimson
Psychology Gold
Public Health Sciences Crimson
Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging Crimson
Renewable Resources Grass Green
Rural Economy Grass Green
Soil Science Grass Green
Speech Pathology and Audiology Salmon Pink
Statistics and Applied Probability Gold
Surgery Crimson
Textiles and Clothing Grass Green
Zoology Gold
Speech-Language Pathology Salmon Pink
Visual Arts White

Doctorate degrees

Doctors' gowns (PhD, DMus, and EdD) conform to the Intercollegiate Code in design. They are made of black material and the velvet trim on the sleeves is Philosophy Blue for the PhD and DMus, and Light Blue for the EdD. Doctors' hoods conform to the Intercollegiate Code in shape, size, and colour. They are made of black material to match the gown, and have a full lining of gold satin with a six-inch green satin chevron. The velvet trim distinguishes the two degrees and matches the velvet trim on the gown's sleeves. There is narrow green piping where the gold lining joins the black material. Mortarboards are the standard black trencher shape with black tassels, which are worn forward and to the left.


Honorary degrees

Honorary Doctors of Laws (LLD), Letters (DLitt), and Science (DSc) wear a scarlet robe faced with white silk. Hoods are made in the Cambridge form of scarlet silk with a full lining of white velvet. Caps are black velvet with a gold tassel.


University Hallmarks and Traditions

The University of Alberta takes pride in its traditions and hallmarks. The University Senate website provides information about these special aspects of the university, including:

  • University Ceremonial Chairs
  • University Coat of Arms
  • University Colours
  • University Flag
  • University Grace
  • University Mace
  • University Motto