Graduation Cap Which Side Tassel


Graduation Cap: Which Side Tassel?

As graduation season approaches, one question that often arises among graduates is, “Which side should the tassel of my graduation cap be on?”. While it may seem like a trivial detail, understanding the proper placement of the tassel is an important tradition that carries symbolic meaning. In this article, we will delve into the history and significance of the graduation cap tassel, explore different interpretations, and answer frequently asked questions to ensure that you don your cap with confidence on your special day.

History and Symbolism:

The graduation cap, also known as a mortarboard, has been a traditional part of academic regalia for centuries. Its distinct design, featuring a flat square board with a tassel attached to the center, has remained largely unchanged over time. The tassel itself is a decorative cord made of silk or other materials, which is attached to a button on the top of the cap.

The tradition of wearing a graduation cap with a tassel dates back to the 14th century in Europe. Initially, it was solely worn by religious scholars, and the tassel represented their ecclesiastical rank. Over time, the tradition spread to other academic disciplines, and the tassel began to take on additional meanings.

The most common interpretation of the tassel’s position is that it should be worn on the right side of the graduation cap before the conferring of the degree. This signifies that the wearer has not yet received their diploma. However, once the degree is officially conferred, it is customary to move the tassel from the right side to the left side of the cap. This shift represents the transition from student to graduate, signifying the accomplishment of completing one’s academic journey.

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Different Interpretations:

While the aforementioned interpretation is widely accepted, there are variations in tassel placement depending on country and institution. In some countries, such as the United Kingdom, the tassel is worn on the left side throughout the ceremony, regardless of degree conferral. In others, such as Germany, the tassel is worn on the left side for bachelor’s degrees and on the right side for master’s degrees.

It is essential to check with your specific educational institution for their guidelines regarding tassel placement. Some institutions may have unique traditions or variations that deviate from the common practices. Additionally, various professional organizations may have their own specific protocols, so it is crucial to be aware of any additional requirements.


Q: Can I wear my tassel on whichever side I prefer?
A: While there is some flexibility in tassel placement depending on cultural or institutional traditions, it is generally recommended to follow the established guidelines of your institution. This ensures consistency and adherence to the symbolic meanings associated with the tassel.

Q: When should I move my tassel from right to left?
A: The tassel should be moved from right to left after your degree has been officially conferred. This typically happens during the graduation ceremony, often signaled by the presentation of diplomas or a ceremonial speech.

Q: Can I keep my tassel as a keepsake?
A: Absolutely! Many graduates choose to keep their tassels as cherished mementos of their academic achievements. You can detach the tassel from your cap and preserve it alongside other graduation memorabilia.

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Q: Can I personalize my graduation cap tassel?
A: Some institutions allow graduates to personalize their tassels by adding charms or decorations that represent their personal achievements or interests. However, it is important to consult with your institution’s guidelines to ensure compliance with any regulations.

In conclusion, the placement of the tassel on a graduation cap holds significant symbolism and tradition. While the most common practice is to wear the tassel on the right side before degree conferral and then shift it to the left side afterwards, variations exist depending on country and institution. It is essential to familiarize yourself with your institution’s guidelines and follow them accordingly to honor this time-honored tradition. As you celebrate your academic accomplishments, may your graduation cap and tassel proudly represent your journey towards success.