Academic insignia

miekat-jeePhoto: Mikko Virta

Each person participating in the Conferment Ceremony is responsible for purchasing their own master’s ring or doctor’s hat and sword. Doctor promovendi can not take part in the Conferment Act without a doctoral hat and sword, nor can a Master’s degree graduate do so without a master’s ring. It is not compulsory to purchase them, as they can also be borrowed. Only masters and doctors who have had their academic rank conferred upon them, either in person or in absentia, are allowed to use the academic insignia.

The Conferment Committee will list the suppliers on this page as soon as possible. The academic insignia is recommended to order in good time. Please note that the Committee will not check any of the suppliers listed for customer service in English.


The colour of the doctor’s hat at the Faculty of Philosophy in the University of Helsinki is black. The hat is decorated with the golden insignia of the Faculty. A doctor promovendi cannot use another university’s or faculty’s doctoral hat in the Conferment Ceremony “as is”; the insignia should be changed to that of the Faculty of Philosophy for the Conferment Ceremony. The hat must still be black in such a case. 

Doctor promovendi use the hat in the Conferment Act and after that at the Conferment Dinner and Conferment Ball. It is not worn on Thursday, or on the excursion. The hat should be taken off during the church service, but at the Conferment Dinner and Conferment Ball it is not taken off even while eating. As a general rule for participants carrying a doctoral hat, it should be worn whenever the Conferrer is wearing their hat.

Doctors who have been conferred in previous Conferment Ceremonies and are now attending as guests may bring their doctoral hats to the Conferment Act, Dinner and Ball, but the sword is not a part of their dress. In the Conferment Act, the hat is carried into the Great Hall on the left forearm and put on, when the Conferrer puts his/her hat on. Foreign doctoral hats may also be worn. However, sword-whetters who are also (previously conferred) doctors, do not wear the doctoral hat during the Conferment Act, and wreath-weavers who are (previously conferred) doctors do not wear it at all during the Conferment Ceremony. 


The only doctoral sword used in Finland is the state’s sole official civilian sword, designed by Akseli Gallen-Kallela. The sword may also be borrowed (if you are interested to borrow a sword from the university, please tell that in the registration form). If you wish to borrow a sword (e.g. a friend’s sword), another Faculty’s or Finnish university’s doctor’s sword is acceptable, as long as it is an official civilian sword. Military swords, foreign doctor’s swords or swords made for other purposes may not be used. The sword is possible to be engraved with one’s name and the date of the Conferment Act (26th May 2017).

Doctor promovendi and the jubilee doctors carry the sword in the Conferment Act and after that at the Conferment Dinner and Conferment Ball. It is not carried on Thursday, or on the excursion.

The sword is attached at the left hip. Men should attached it to their trousers’ waistband. When selecting or commissioning their dress(es) for the Conferment Ceremony, women should take into account the weight of the sword. Most dresses can’t take the weight, so either a modest-width black silk sash or belt worn the right shoulder, or a belt hidden under the dress, that the sword is then attached to. In the latter option, the side seam of the dress should have a small gap that the sword can be attached through. The sword can be attached to either a decorative golden clip, or a more discreet black one. 


Masters and jubilee masters that will have their ranks conferred on them in the Act wear the symbol of their rank, the laurel wreath, at the Conferment Act as well as at Conferment Dinner later that day, and at the Conferment Ball the next day. The wreath is not worn at the wreath-weaving or sword-whetting dinners or on the excursion. The master’s wreath is made by the promovendi’s companion, the wreath-weaver, at the wreath-weaving. Promovendi participating solo (without a companion) will have a wreath made for them by the official wreath-weaver and his/her assistants. The Conferment Committee will supply the materials for the wreaths.

As the wreaths are constructed on a ribbon base, promovendi are asked to inform the Conferment Committee as to their hat size in the registration form. Especially ladies’ hairstyles may require a slightly larger hat size than they would usually wear, to avoid the wreath being too tight or uncomfortable. It is recommended to spray the wreath with water and store it in a refrigerator, wrapped in a moist towel, to keep it fresh. Once the festivities are over, the wreath can be dried and stored in a similar manner to e.g. a wedding flower bouquet.


The origin of the master’s ring dates back to the 19th century. The golden master’s ring is worn on the index finger of the left hand. During the Conferment Act it is worn on top of a pair of white gloves, and after the Conferment Act, under the gloves. The ring is not worn before the Conferment Act. Other rings (except engagement or wedding rings) should not be worn, so the master’s ring gets the attention it deserves.

One can also use as a substitute a plain gold ring without gemstones, engravings on the outside, or other embellishments. The ring can also be worn above the knuckle so that the glove does not have to be considered in its measurement.