Graduation Tams: How to Wear and Choose One

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Graduation Product Instructions

How to Wear a Graduation Tam and Which to Choose

You’re probably thinking to yourself “Do I really need instructions on how to wear a tam?” Yes, despite the graduation tam being a mark of higher education. Moreover, the choosing of the correct type of tam isn’t nearly as straightforward.

What are tams? Tams are high-quality graduation cap used in place of the standard mortarboard. They are made of a high-end black velvet material with a soft poof-like top. The standard mortarboard is a polyester encased cardboard square that sits on top of the head. Mortarboards are traditionally used for primary and secondary school graduations. Tams, on the other hand, are typically used for higher level graduations such as masters and doctorate ceremonies (occasionally for bachelors).

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GraduationSource offers two types of tams, one with and another without a bullion tassel. Graduation tams are most commonly known to have a gold bullion tassel permanently attached to them. The tams we offer without the pre-affixed bullion, give you the option to select your own jumbo tassel, allowing you to select one that matches your degree type.


Choosing the Correct Graduation Tam

Should I choose a 4, 6, or 8-sided tam?

Graduation Tam Graduation Tams Graduation Product Instructions 1

Faculty members wear tams to differentiate them from their students, especially at primary through bachelors level graduation ceremonies. Students from Bachelors up through Doctoral programs wear tams alongside their school’s faculty. The different number of sides a tam possesses denotes the level of education the wearer of the tam earned.

Four-sided tams are most often used to denote a Bachelors level of educational attainment but can be used for Masters Degrees. Often the school decides which should be used, so always double-check before purchasing. Six-sided tams should be used for masters as well as EdD programs and eight-sided tams should be used for Doctoral programs.

After deciding how many sides your tam should have, the first thing you need to do before ordering is to choose the correct size.

Items You Need to Measure

  • A Measuring Tape OR a String and Ruler
  • That Head on Your Shoulders

Graduation Tam Graduation Tams Graduation Product Instructions 2


As you can see in the image, you have to measure your head using a tape measure. If you didn’t have a measuring tape on hand, you can use a string to wrap around the head then measure it with a ruler afterward. Tams have a stretchy elastic band that has some give and take but do come in three sizes; Small, Medium, and Large.

Tam Size Measurements:

  • Small: 21″ (Baseball Cap Size 6.5 to 7.0)
  • Medium: 22.5″ (Baseball Cap Size 7.0 to 7.5)
  • Large: 24″ (Baseball Cap Size 7.5 to 8.0)

How to Wear Tam

Take your tam out of its packaging and make sure it is the correct size and number of sides.

Graduation Tam Graduation Tams Graduation Product Instructions 3
Place the tam on your head. One of the corners should be facing forward bringing a point between your eyes.

Tam Without Bullion

Front View (Without Tassel)

Graduation Tam Graduation Tams Graduation Product Instructions 4

Back View (Without Tassel)

Graduation Tam Graduation Tams Graduation Product Instructions 5

Adjust the top of the tam to have a slight tilt to the right

Tam With Bullion

 Front View (with tassel)

Graduation Tam Graduation Tams Graduation Product Instructions 6

Rotate the tam so the bullion tassel is on the left side of your head.

Graduation Tam Graduation Tams Graduation Product Instructions 7

Back View (with tassel)

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