History and Purpose of Graduation Chords

By Joe Leung

Throughout graduation ceremonies, you may have wondered how and what the numerous elements of the graduation regalia represent. One of the most evident aspects of the academic regalia is the colourful chord on a graduate's shoulder and around the neck. These are known as the graduation chords. They signify numerous various issues from institution to institution. But the typical objective of these chords is to distinguish a graduate that has accomplished some major achievement.


Initially, graduation chords were not component from the conventional academic regalia like today. Academic regalia utilizing these colourful ornaments were first utilized during religious rites and ceremonies. The different colours of hoods, stoles and chords had been used to distinguish the various members from the clergy during these occasions. This tradition was observed mainly by Anglican and Catholic clergy members.

Use of Academic Chords

One of the many utilizes of graduation chords is to denote the significant and minor courses taken by graduates. The colours of those chords represent these courses. Generally, the colours from the chords are becoming standardized. For instance, science courses are usually represented by gold chords. Therefore, it's uncommon to determine chords with two dominant colours in most graduating student.

An additional purpose of this component of the academic regalia is to denote certain levels of academic achievement amongst graduating students. Students whose common point typical reach those of a cum laude, magna cum laude or summa cum laude are frequently offered the opportunity to wear unique chords throughout their graduation ceremony. The colour from the chord signifies which level of academic achievement a student has accomplished. Therefore, the colour of the chord of a cum laude will differ from that of a graduate awarded with magna cum laude honours.

Lastly, universities that offer honour programs usually allow and encourage their graduates to wear graduation chords that represent their particular honours society. Therefore, it is possible for students under honour programs to possess a multicoloured chord that represent his minor, major and honour society. Moreover, some honours society requires their graduates to wear unique kind of academic chords.

Academic Regalia Specifications It's essential for graduating students to know and comprehend what their school or university requires them to wear throughout their graduation ceremonies. Particularly, you have to make sure that the colour from the graduation chords you choose are according to the standards specifically instructed by your college or department. Furthermore, students who are to obtain distinguished honours should also be aware of the distinctive and particular components from the academic regalia that they ought to put on before the day from the graduation ceremony.

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