The tradition of throwing a mortarboard into the air after graduation has been scrapped by a British university because of health and safety concerns, according to a student newspaper.

The University of East Anglia in Norwich said a number of graduates had been hurt by falling hats in recent years, which gave rise to "avoidable injury", according to a statement published in student newspaper the Tab.

But students could have a mortarboard added digitally to photographs afterwards - for £8 ($17).

Instructions sent by Penguin Photography to third and fourth-year law students at the university urged graduates to "mime" the throwing action instead, the Tab said.

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"As well as being safer, this will have the added advantage that even more of the students' faces will be seen in this photograph," the photography company said.

Louisa Baldwin, the Law Society president at UEA, told the Norwich Tab: "If I've paid £45 to hire a bit of cloth and card for the day I should be able to chuck my hat in the air!".

The university told the student newspaper that the throwing of hats posed an "unacceptable risk".

The university said the ban had been agreed by academic dress suppliers which often received "damaged mortarboards" after graduations.

- PA, AAP