What Are Graduation Cap Dimensions? Complete Details

We all know that the graduation cap is one of the most important parts of any student graduation outfit, which is also known as the mortarboards and square academic caps. Do you know what are the graduation cap dimensions?

The average dimensions of the upper square portion of a graduation cap are 8.5 and 12 inches (22 and 30 centimeters) on the sides. The headband of a graduation cap measures according to the circumference of the wearer’s head. 

If you are still curious to know more about the graduation cap sizes. I have discussed below the sizes of graduation caps as well as how you can wear a graduation cap properly during the graduation ceremony.

Standard graduation cap dimensions:

graduation cap dimensions

The graduation cap size is the most important, you should pay attention to it, whether you are renting the toga from your university or school or you are renting or purchasing it from the local vendor.

If you are buying from an online store, they most probably offer the standard size to the customers. As I have mentioned above the dimensions of an average standard square or mortarboard are 8.5 and 12 inches (22 and 30 centimeters). The portion which fits on your head is the headband, you can select a standard-size headband that fits all sizes, or you can go with the custom size according to the circumference of your head.

The circumference of the graduate’s head is the exact size of the head. So according to the University of Wollongong if the circumference of the wearer’s head is 22 inches or 56 centimeters, then one can simply choose the 56-size cap. Although if you choose the standard size of the graduation cap, you could face problems because you have to stick with whatever you will receive.

How to size your graduation cap and gown?

If you are buying or renting your graduation caps and gowns from online stores, you will see the different standard sizing of different suppliers.

The University of Texas at Knoxville’s online store offers the standard and single graduation size for every graduate or wearer. Meanwhile, at the Balfour, people offer 10 different graduation cap sizes according to the gown size.

Most of the time the standard size of a graduation cap fits most wearers. If you rented or purchased a standard-size graduation cap mistakenly and now you are facing a fitting problem with your cap. You can fold the little corner from the backside of your cap band to avoid the air gap between your head and cap. Alternatively, you can wear a cap under the graduation cap that is a good fit for your head and can attach both caps with the bobby pins. It will help your graduation cap to not move from your head.

If the cap is too small, you might need a hair spray or bobby pins to fit your cap on the head.

If you want to look perfect at your graduation ceremony the best thing is to buy your own custom-made graduation cap and gown. The tailor will stitch a special outfit according to your unique body shape and head size. 

How to wear a graduation cap at your graduation ceremony?

graduation cap dimensions

Wearing graduation could be a challenge for most wearers due to the different shapes of mortarboard and headband. In most cases, the headband is not elastic so wearing it is not that straightforward.

  1. The pointed end of a graduation cap’s headband should be on the backside of your head as shown in the picture. Both sides of the headband should be 2-3 centimeters above your eyebrows. 
  2. The mortarboard should be parallel to the ground. So straighten the hat. The cap could fall at any time if it is not straightened and sits at an angle.
  3. If you have the removable tassel with your cap. You can attach it to the graduation cap by looping it with the button on the top of your band.


1. Is there a specific size for graduation gowns and caps?

You have to check with your university staff that handles the graduation ceremony and outfits. If they have the right size of your gown and cap. If you are buying both things from an online supplier so you have to give them the exact size of your head and body.

If you are not satisfied to rent a gown and cap, you can simply buy custom-made things that will be a perfect fit for you.

2. What is a tam?

Tam is the special type of graduation cap which is only worn by Masters and Ph.D. graduates. The major difference is the stiff square mortarboard in a tam and normal graduation caps. Tam doesn’t have a stiff square mortarboard. Furthermore, it has 4 – 8 pliable sides that help in the fitting headband portion of the cap.

3. What is the reason behind square graduation caps?

The square shape is the symbol of prestige according to National Geographic. At Oxford, square shape caps were typically reserved for the master’s and Ph.D. graduates, meanwhile, the undergraduates wear the rounded caps at their graduation ceremony. In today’s culture, Ph.D. and Master’s graduates wear rounded caps which are known as tams, and high school and undergraduates wear mortarboard square caps.

4. What can I do to prevent my graduation cap from falling off?

The common issue wearers face is the graduation caps don’t fit on their heads and fall off more certainly. You can fold the little corner from the backside of your cap band to avoid the air gap between your head and cap. Alternatively, you can wear a cap under the graduation cap that is a good fit for your head and can attach both caps with the bobby pins. It will help your graduation cap to not fall off your head.

5. Are graduation caps allowed to be decorated?

If you have not rented your cap from the university or local vendor, most of the time universities and schools don’t mind decorating or signing your graduation caps. But I would suggest checking with your university committee first before you decorate it.

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