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Which Side of Your Graduation Cap Does Your Tassel Start On?

The final stage of your academic career -- whether it be high school, undergraduate, graduate school, or a doctorate degree -- has finally reached the finish line: graduation day! Congrats to you; the only thing left is to make sure the graduation ceremony goes as smooth and mistake-free as possible for you. After all, you’ve made it this far, and we don’t think you want your entire collegiate life to be remembered as the guy who fell on stage at graduation or didn’t know the proper placement of your graduation tassel.

Like many aspects of graduation ceremonies, the ceremonial procedure regarding how to wear a graduation cap or which way the tassel goes before and after you graduate are traditions with long histories. Moving the tassel from one side of the cap to the other symbolizes a student’s transition from candidate to graduate. What side does the tassel go on to begin with, and what side does it end on? The answer depends on whether you are graduating with a high school diploma, undergraduate degree, or postgraduate degree.


What Side Does The Tassel Go On Before You Graduate & After?


For those of you graduating with a:


  • High School Degree – For a high school commencement ceremony, the tassel will start on the right side of your cap before the ceremony begins. Once you receive your diploma, depending on your school, you may move your graduation tassel from the right side to the left. Most schools will direct you to make the shift, as directed by the graduation speaker.

  • Bachelor’s Degree – During undergraduate college graduations, the same rules apply as a high school graduation. For those receiving undergraduate or bachelor’s degrees, tassels first start on the right side of your cap, and upon receiving your degree or following instruction from the ceremonial speaker, the graduation tassel will be moved to the left.

  • Master’s/Graduate/Doctoral Degrees – Once you have made your way to the big stage for postgraduate degrees, different rules apply. For those receiving a master’s or doctoral degree, the tassel will begin on the left side of your cap and will remain there until the ceremony is complete. For master’s and Ph.D.students, tassels are not required to be moved at all.


This article should have answered the question, “Which side does the tassel go on before you graduate and after?” Now you are prepared to shine during graduation and wear your graduation regalia with honor, pride, and thanks for all that you have accomplished. Visit Tassel Depot for all your graduation accessories! We are the leading manufacturer of not only tassels but also graduation cords, graduation stoles, and graduation caps. Contact us or call (954) 698-0000 to find out how to make your order today.