Today's academic regalia — the robes and the distinctive "hoods" presented to graduates — originated in medieval Europe where clothing color and material signified an individual's wealth and stature.

The hood was the normal medieval headwear, but gradually there developed distinctive gowns and a colored lining to signify various professions, trades and religious orders. In 14th-Century England, the statutes of certain colleges forbade “excess in apparel” and dictated the wearing of a long gown. In the days of Henry VIII of England, Oxford and Cambridge universities first began prescribing a definite academic dress and controlled even minor details. By the 17th Century, if not earlier, these colors were strictly controlled, so that anyone could identify, from the color of a graduate’s hood, the university and the degree.

In 1895, representatives of America’s leading academic institutions met to adopt a code of academic dress. Besides regulating the cut, style and materials of the gowns, the code prescribed the colors which were to represent the different fields of learning.

Today, with few exceptions, the academic robes are black and the colors of the hood reflect the field of learning and academic institution. Gowns for the bachelor’s and master’s degrees are untrimmed. For the doctoral-level degree, the gown is faced with black velvet; three bars of velvet are used across the sleeves. The velvet is usually black; however, these facings and crossbars may be of the color appropriate to the degree.

EVMS’ colors by academic program are as follows:

School of Health Professions

Multi-colored –  Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology (black gown, hood with brilliant blue and royal blue lining with burnt orange, navy and spruce green – representing the Virginia Consortium Program between EVMS, Norfolk State University and Old Dominion University – and gold tassel)

Dark Blue – Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences, Doctor of Philosophy in Reproductive Clinical Science- Embryology and Andrology, (black gown with dark blue velvet front panels and side bars, dark blue hood and gold tassel)

Peacock – Master of Science in Art Therapy and Counseling (black gown with peacock hood and black tassel)

Light Blue – Master of Medical and Health Professions Education (black gown with light blue hood and black tassel)

Gold – Doctor of Health Sciences (black gown with gold hood and gold tassel), Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences (Medical- 1 & 2 year programs, Research) Master of Science in Reproductive Clinical Science- Embryology and Andrology, Master of Science in Laboratory Animal Science, Master of Science in Contemporary Human Anatomy, Master of Pathologists' Assistant, Master of Healthcare Delivery Science, Master of Healthcare Analytics (black gown with gold hood and black tassel)

Salmon – Master of Public Health (black gown with salmon hood and black tassel)

Hunter Green – Master of Physician Assistant and Master of Surgical Assisting (black gown with hunter green hood and black tassel)

School of Medicine

Hunter Green – Doctor of Medicine (black gown with hunter green panels and side bars, hunter green hood and green tassel)