What Is an Honorary Degree? An honorary degree is a diploma that a person receives from an institution that he or she hasn’t attended. The word “honorary” refers to the fact that the recipient is receiving the degree because of some type of recognition. In addition, honorary degrees are only conferred at major universities, like Oxford University or Harvard University, and they’re not awarded by junior colleges or community colleges.
An honorary degree is a type of award that doesn’t pass the test of being a real degree
An honorary degree is a type of award that doesn’t pass the test of being a real degree. The recipient does not have to earn it in any way, nor does he or she have to take any tests or pass any courses to obtain it. You cannot get an honorary doctorate by earning your bachelor’s degree and then completing all requirements for your master’s degree. An honorary doctorate has no value on its own; it must be made explicit that this type of “degree” is meant as a form of recognition, not as something earned through study or examination.
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What is an honorary degree?
An honorary degree is a type of award that does not pass the test of being a real degree. It’s often given in recognition for distinguished service or leadership in business, the arts, or other fields.
You might think that getting an honorary degree would be great—who wouldn’t want to have their name on some fancy-looking certificate? But it’s important to understand what an honorary degree actually means before you start celebrating.
When someone speaks of “earning” their PhD or J.D., they mean that they completed a set number of credits and passed all required exams required by the school where they received their graduate degrees (a PhD is earned at the graduate level). An honorary doctoral degree isn’t something that can be earned through academic achievement; it’s simply given out as an honorific gesture by institutions wanting to publicly acknowledge someone’s contributions.
With a real degree, you study for years and pass tests to earn it. You don’t have to do anything to be given an honorary degree
With a real degree, you study for years and pass tests to earn it. You don’t have to do anything to be given an honorary degree.
An honorary doctorate is awarded by a university or college when someone who has achieved something special in their field receives recognition from the institution they studied at or graduated from. For example, if you have been president of the United States, it would make sense for your alma mater (the university where you received your undergraduate degree) to grant you an honorary doctorate so that other institutions see how important this person was while they were there!
People who get them usually do so because they made some significant contribution in their field of work or because they are retiring
Honorary degrees are awarded to people who have made a significant contribution to their field of work. They are not given to those who attend the university, but rather they are given to those who retire. Honorary degrees are also not awarded based on academic achievement, as they are only given at the discretion of the institution awarding it.
The most common honorary degrees are Doctorates (PhDs)
In North America, most honorary degree recipients are awarded a Doctor of Letters (LittD), Doctor of Science (ScD), or doctorate in law (LLD). As you can see, these degrees bear more similarity to each other than they do to other degrees. The most common honorary degrees are those that are designed to recognize outstanding achievement and service without requiring the recipient to possess the same academic credentials as would be required for admission into a degree program at an institution. An honorary doctoral degree is usually awarded by an institution of higher learning after a person has spent many years contributing to his or her field of expertise and has made significant contributions through research or practical application within their field.
For example, George Lucas got an honorary degree from USC for his work in film, and Larry Thomas got one from the University of Chicago for his work in public health
An honorary degree is awarded to someone who has made significant contributions to their field. For example, George Lucas got an honorary degree from USC for his work in film, and Larry Thomas got one from the University of Chicago for his work in public health.
Honorary degrees are not awarded to people who have studied at the university or received other awards from it; rather, they’re given to individuals who have been “outstanding leaders in their chosen fields.”
Actors and filmmakers often get them as tokens of thanks after filming on campus, or when a movie or TV show uses the name of the university if it’s well-known
Honorary degrees are often awarded to actors and filmmakers who filmed on campus. For example, as a token of thanks, the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) awarded an honorary degree to actor James Franco after he filmed scenes for the movie “127 Hours” at the institution. This is not an uncommon practice, as many universities hope to capitalize on their well-known reputation by having their names appear in popular media.
The following is an incomplete list of some other celebrities that have received honorary degrees:
- Actor and director Clint Eastwood was awarded two separate honorary degrees from George Washington University in Washington DC in 2016 and 2017 respectively;
- In 1988, singer Michael Jackson received an honorary degree from Marquette University in Milwaukee Wisconsin;
- In 2009, rapper LL Cool J received one from Howard University.
Honorary degrees don’t mean you’ve actually studied at a university
Honoring someone with an honorary degree doesn’t mean that person has finished their studies at the university. Instead, it means that they have made a significant contribution to their field or society.
Honorary degrees are not the same as honorary doctorates. An honorary doctorate is given to people who have done great things for humanity on a global scale and are recognized for their efforts beyond schooling (like Mother Teresa).
Top Universities That Confer Honorary Degree
The University of Cambridge is a collegiate public research university in England, often considered the highest ranked in the world. The university was founded by scholars from the University of Oxford in 1209 and has since grown to become one of the largest universities in Europe. The name “Cambridge” originates from its location on the River Cam about 50 miles (80 km) north east of London.
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a collegiate research university in Oxford, England. It has no known date of foundation, but there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world’s second-oldest surviving university.
Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. Founded in 1636 by Puritan clergymen, it is America’s oldest institution of higher learning and the first to be named after John Harvard (1607–1638), a young minister from Charlestown, Massachusetts who had been educated at Emmanuel College under Richard Mather before leaving for New England. Harvard would go on to become one of the world’s most prestigious institutions with its motto Veritas (“truth”).
Harvard has over 200 academic departments specializing in a wide variety of subjects including law, medicine, engineering and business administration alongside humanities like philosophy and literature
Columbia University is a private Ivy League research university in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Upper Manhattan, New York City. Established in 1754, Columbia performs highly influential research in many fields, from science and medicine to law, politics, and business. It also has an extensive arts program with many famous alumni.
Columbia has a long history of conferring honorary degrees on famous people for their exceptional achievements in various fields including art and science. In 1896 Columbia awarded its first Honorary Doctorate degree to George Henry Durrie who was awarded this accolade for his contributions to physics at the university where he had been teaching since 1871
University of Montana
The University of Montana is a public research university in Missoula, Montana and is the flagship campus of the University of Montana System.
UM offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees through its five academic colleges: College of Arts & Sciences; College of Education & Human Development; College of Engineering; Law School; School of Business. It is also home to an extensive study abroad program that allows students to study aboard in more than 40 countries around the world. In addition to its main campus in Missoula, UM has campuses in Dillon (the state’s largest city), Great Falls (the fourth-largest city), Helena (the state capital) and Kalispell (a popular tourist destination). The school has about 18,000 students from all 50 states and nearly 80 countries who take courses online or on campus at one of its several satellite locations throughout Montana
Honorary degrees are awarded to people who have made a significant contribution to the field of study. New York University has awarded honorary degrees to many famous people, including Bill Clinton and Spike Lee. Notable people who have been awarded honorary degrees by NYU include:
- Bob Dylan (1997)
- Paul McCartney (1991)
- Madeleine Albright (1998)
Honorary degrees are awarded to people who have made a contribution to society, whether it be in the arts, politics, business or science. The honorary degree is not the same as earning a degree through study and grading. Universities award honorary degrees. The president of the college does not have to confer an honorary degree.
Honorary degrees from colleges and universities are given for achievements such as:
- Service in a public office or in another role that benefits society
- Contributions to literature, music or other arts
- Achievements in science
After reading this post, you should have a good handle on what an honorary degree is. In short, it doesn’t require any academic work or even any specific educational experience—it’s just recognition of someone’s achievements in the larger world. You might receive one for founding a nonprofit that changes lives around the world, or starting a company that transforms how we live our daily lives. And at the end of the day, when you read about who receives these types of degrees from universities each year (from presidents to scientists to celebrities), they really do seem well-deserved!