Conferment Ceremony


Doctoral hat

The colour of the hat worn by holders of a doctoral degree in medicine or dentistry from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, is green. The colour of the hat worn by holders of a doctoral degree in philosophy from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, is black; the hat of holders of a doctoral degree in psychology is, likewise, black. Both green and black hats are adorned by the emblem of the Faculty of Medicine, i.e. the Staff of Asklepios inside a laurel wreath.

Promovendi (doctoral graduands) need to acquire their doctoral hats themselves for this occasion, whereas honorary doctors will receive their hats from the Faculty. Everyone else, with a doctoral hat, including the jubilee doctors, will wear their own hats, regardless of colour and emblem. The doctoral hat must be ordered well in advance (3 months) as the hatmakers are busy! The University does not lend hats but a colleague might lend theirs. Make sure that the hat fits.

The doctoral hat and the sword are brought to the obligatory rehearsal on Thursday 9.6.2022. The hats and the swords are left at the University for the conferment ceremony that takes place the following day. Everyone must name their own hats and swords, this includes swords which are borrowed!

Those guests who have doctoral degrees carry their doctoral hats into the Great Hall on their left arms and put them on their heads when the conferrer places hers on her head.

Doctoral sword

In Finland, doctoral graduands carry a sword designed by the artist Akseli Gallén-Kallela. This is the only official civilian sword in Finland; no military swords, doctoral swords from universities abroad or any other kinds of swords may be carried at the conferment ceremony. The sword carries the emblem of the University of Helsinki and an engraving.

The sword is attached on the waistband of the trousers/the gown with a button, strap or a special belt. The sword is carried on the left side. The button or strap must be black; the material is optional. For an evening gown, a good option is to attach the sword on a black sash draped over the shoulder or on a belt worn under the dress. In the latter case, a small hole must be left on the seam at the waist on the left side for attaching the sword to the belt.

Holders of a doctorate who have had their degrees conferred at an earlier ceremony shall not carry their swords at the present ceremony. Only the following persons shall carry swords at this conferment ceremony: the doctoral graduands, the Conferrer, the Master of Ceremonies and the Head Marshal. The sword is carried in the procession and in the Cathedral / The National Library. The sword is not brought to the Banquet but can be left in the Banquet cloakroom.

The University has swords to lend. These swords must be booked in advance as their number is limited. The accepted promovendi will receive more detailed instructions on how to borrow a sword. One can also buy a sword; the University has made a comparison of prices and ended up with the company Au-Holmberg who offers a group price of 280 Euros/sword. The sword is ordered directly from, with the discount code Lääkis22. There is additional information about this at Doctoral graduand (promovendi) registration.


Each conferment has its individual features and these are reflected also in the dress code. These guidelines are for this conferment and they may differ from those of other faculties and universities.
All participants are kindly requested to follow these guidelines respective to each event.

Sword-whetting dinner

Officially, the conferment ceremony begins with a ceremonial sword-whetting dinner for the doctoral graduands and their companions.

The dress code for the sword-whetting dinner is evening attire, i.e., white tie with white waistcoat, or a coloured full-length evening dress. (NB! A black evening dress can be turned into a coloured dress by wearing colourful accessories such as a bolero, a scarf or similar.) Also, uniforms can be worn. This dress code applies already to the rehearsal earlier on the same day, as there is no time between the occasions to get changed.

No doctoral hats are worn or swords carried at the sword-whetting dinner. Also, no decorations or medals are worn. National costumes do not fit into the dress codes of any of the events of the Conferment.

Conferment ceremony and church service

The conferment ceremony is a solemn occasion, which is reflected in the dress code. At the ceremony, the promovendi, the honorary doctors, the jubilee doctors and others participating in the processions as well as their companions wear formal evening attire, i.e., white tie and tails with a black waistcoat (without a pocket handkerchief) and matt shoes or a full-length, long-sleeved black evening gown. A trouser suit or a long-sleeved black jacket with evening gown are also allowed. No fur, bold jewellery, or hats, except doctoral hats are permitted. Gloves are not required. Shoes and tights must be black.

Also other guests can wear formal evening attire. For guests wearing formal evening attire a doctoral hat can been worn. A guest may also wear a dark suit which, when it replaces the evening attire, is black, or a shorter gown (the length of the dress, ankle- or knee-length, depends on the attire of the person accompanied). Uniforms are also allowed.

It is recommended that attendees leave all handbags with the cloakroom attendant at the cloakroom for the duration of the ceremony.

Doctoral guests and their companions may take their own doctoral hats to the ceremony. Doctoral hats from universities abroad may also be worn. Holders of the doctorate who have been conferred their degrees in an earlier ceremony shall not carry their swords. The hats are carried to the Great Hall so that they rest on the left arm and are worn only when the Conferrer puts on her hat. At the ceremony, men take off their doctoral hats for the duration of the national anthem of Finland. Men take their hats off also at the service in the Cathedral.

When state decorations or academic decorations and medals are worn, they must be full-sized, not miniatures. Student association ribbons and such are not worn at the conferment ceremony.

Conferment Banquet

The conferment ceremony and church service are followed by a gala dinner and ball.

For the evening gala, all participants wear evening attire, i.e. white tie and tails, with a white waistcoat and patent (high gloss) black leather shoes, or a full-length evening gown/suit; the colour of the gown may be chosen freely. Attendees are, however, requested to refrain from wearing white, as white evening dresses are reserved for other academic festivities. Hence, unlike in the conferment ceremonies of other faculties, at the Faculty of Medicine, you do not need to wear black evening gowns to the conferment banquet. The evening gown may be sleeveless or with sleeves, one-piece or two-piece; the main point is that it is appropriate for an academic gala. Jewellery is allowed. Companions and guests may also wear the official uniforms of their profession.

Hats and swords should be left at home or in the cloakroom of the restaurant.

The protocol for wearing state decorations and medals is the same as for the conferment ceremony.

Traditional dances

At the Conferment Banquet, it is possible to dance traditional academic dances. If you want to participate, it is advisable to attend a dance class. The dance class takes place on two Saturdays, 7.5. and 14.5., at Hoplaxskolan Munksnäs (Solnantie 18, Helsinki; entrance via Kadettitie) at 1 pm to 3 pm.

The class consists of two parts. In the first part (7.5.), Polonaise, Mignon and Cicapo are rehearsed, and in the second part (14.5.), Pas D’espagne and Wienerwaltz. You can attend either both times or just one, if you aren’t able to attend both.

The class is taught by professional dancer Kerttu Nieminen (neé Sakki).

The dance class costs 10 euros (even if you attend only on one day).

You can sign up to the dance class with the form for additional information that is sent to all graduands by e-mail. Other guests register via e-mail.

Registration and further information:


The conferment festivities conclude with an excursion organised in honour of the Conferrer. The graduands (promovendi) are responsible for arranging the excursion.

As the excursion is the most informal event of the festivities, the dress code is fairly casual. However, jeans and clothes bearing advertisements are considered inappropriate. If the participants so wish, they may wear their student caps but not their doctoral hats or swords.