mortarboard hat

The academic hat of choice

The Mortarboard, formerly known as the Academic Cap, is named after its similarity in appearance to the hawk used by bricklayers to hold mortar.

Also known as the Oxford Cap, it is an academic head dress consisting of a horizontal square board fixed upon a skull-cap, with a tassel attached to the centre. In the UK and the US, it is commonly referred to informally in conjunction with an academic gown worn as a cap and gown.

It is also often termed a square, trencher, or corner-cap in Australia. The adjective academical is also used. In the US and UK, it is usually referred to more generically as a mortarboard, or (in the US) simply cap.

The cap, together with the gown and hood, now form the customary uniform of a university graduate, in many parts of the world, following a British model. Other traditions persist as well.

Other names for a Mortarboard

  • Academic Cap
  • Oxford Cap
  • Cap
  • Square
  • Trencher
  • Corner-cap

Famous Mortarboard wearers

  • Mr Chips

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