Finnish student caps

There are many different student caps in Finland. Every cap has meaning, and wearing a hat without the right to do so is against the law or will bring bad luck. Some parents do not allow their kids to touch their caps so they can be lucky enough to earn their own one day. On the 1st of May, when Vappu is celebrated in Finland, thousands of students and graduates wear caps at the picnics and festivals organized in all major cities’ educational institutions.

Graduation cap


The teekkarilakki is a headgear similar to a student’s cap, which technical students wear starting from Vappu of their first year of studies. The concept is used in Finland and Sweden. In Finland, the cap is white, and a string with tassels is attached to the right side of it. The cord and tassel are black silk.

The use of the cap is defined by detailed regulations, which in Finland are maintained by the student union of each technical university or, in the case of a multidisciplinary university, by the teekkari association. According to the general rule, a teekkarilakki is a summer cap, the period of use that starts on Vappu and ends in the fall at the Lakinlaskijaiset. The cap’s appearance, the traditions related to its use, and the rules regarding the cap vary somewhat from place to place. Caps also might be different in different universities.

The Teekkarilakki use period starts at 12:00 on Wappu Eve and ends in the autumn with the Cap lowering ceremony (Lakinlaskijaiset). LTKY’s Brand Guidelines regulate the right to use the cap.

Ylioppilaskunnan lakki

The student union cap, worn by LUT business and social science students, is a student graduation cap that replaced Lyra with the cockade of the student union emblem. These cockades can be purchased from the LTKY office.

The Student Union Cap’s use period starts at 12:00 on Wappu Eve and ends in the autumn with the Cap lowering ceremony (Lakinlaskijaiset). LTKY’s Brand Guidelines regulate the right to use the cap.

Caps of LAB University of Applied Sciences

The headgear of students at the University of Applied Sciences is much less regulated. Students have a specific cap for their profession and even their level of studies. There are no restrictions on when they can wear their hats. However, if that is a joint event with University students from LUT, LAB students could try not to annoy others by wearing similar caps during times outside of Wappu season.

Business and Administration Sector, University of Applied Sciences, Master’s degree. Picture by Art Merikotka.

Tradenom cap used in the University of Applied Sciences and designed jointly by the Tradenomiliiito and ER Wahlman Oy. Picture by ER Wahlman Oy.

In this picture of Rovaniemi students, the tallest young man is wearing Insinöörilakki, the cap of Engineering students. Picture by Lapin Kanssa.


Doctoral Hat is a badge of honor worn by persons who have been promoted to the rank of doctor, including honorary doctors, at the university’s promotion.

The hat color can have different meanings: purple is worn by doctors of theology. Doctors of medicine and dentists have dark green, except at the University of Turku, where their color is black. Jurisprudence doctor’s hats are dark red and dark blue for doctors of arts, music doctors use sky blue, military science doctors use gray, and all other doctors use black color.

The Doctor of Technology’s hat is black but differs from the others due to its inverted brim. Other doctor’s hats have a straight brim.

A lyre is attached to the doctor’s hat, which is different for doctors who graduated from different faculties. The outer fabric of the hat is silk, pleated in the hood, and otherwise smooth. From the inside, the hat is like a regular top hat.

A graduate can also have a Doctoral Sword in addition to a doctoral hat. That tradition varies from university to university and can be different in different programs. But this is already a different story.

Doctoral hats, picture by ER Wahlman Oy.