The awarding of an honorary doctorate is an expression of the University's appreciation of outstanding contributions in one or more of the University's areas of academic activity.
Who appoints honorary doctorates?
The Board of the Academic Area appoints honorary doctorates for the academic area. The right to appoint honorary doctors can be delegated to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor.
Who can become an honorary doctorate?
When the Deputy Vice-Chancellor proposes and the Board of the Academic Area appoints a person to honorary doctor, the following conditions shall be observed:
The proposed person should be affiliated with the University or have contributed to the University in some way. Honorary doctorates may not be awarded in return for financial contributions in the form of grants, donations and the like.
A person who has already been awarded a PhD in Sweden within a certain academic area may not be awarded an honorary doctorate in the same area. It is, however, quite possible to appoint a doctor of philosophy, for example, to an honorary doctor of Laws and vice versa. It is not usual that someone be appointed an honorary doctorate at the same university that he or she graduated from.
The proposed person should not already possess an honorary doctorate with the same designation from any other Swedish university or higher education institution. However, a person may be an honorary doctor of philosophy at one university and honorary doctor of medicine at another.
In the case of foreign nationals with a foreign degree, there is no obstacle to giving honorary doctorates in the same area as the foreign degree. Such a person can not become an honorary doctorate in the same area at two universities in Sweden.
While many colleges and universities provide their own strict criteria for honorary candidates, typically an honorary degree may only be given to an individual with a sustained lifetime achievement, rather than a group or for a single contribution. Public universities do not allow faculty members or employees of the school to be nominated for the degree, though private universities may not carry the same restriction. Candidacy for the degree often represents a school's prominent vocation or pursuit. However, many institutions put more emphasis on the prolonged bearing of an individual's accomplishment.
A few schools have age restrictions or require the honoree to be present at the time the degree is conferred. Some schools allow honorary doctorate degrees to be awarded posthumously, and the degree may be accepted by the honoree's family or colleagues.
Honorary Degree Types
Depending on the achievement, schools may present different types of honorary doctorate degrees. Some schools may offer only a Doctor of Philosophy degree, while others bestow a degree based on the accomplishments of the recipient. A few examples include:
Doctor of Humane Letters, acknowledging academic distinction
Doctor of Laws, awarded to professionals in the field of law
Doctor of Science, recognizing revolutionary scientific research and discovery
Doctor of Fine Arts, conferred primarily to musicians, actors, architects, and artists
Doctor of Divinity, bestowed upon exceptional religious figures
Degree Selection Process
Based on the type of honorary doctorate degree being awarded, the school's provost, chancellor, or honorary committee forms a selection panel to review nominations. Candidates or nominating parties typically must submit a minimum of a nomination form and biography by a specified deadline.
The selection panel reviews all documentation and presents their recommendations to the governing faculty, board of trustees, or university president. The school notifies accepted honorees and confers the degrees during regular commencement ceremonies. Many universities also expect a sizable donation from honorary degree recipients.
Other Doctoral Degree Types
Individuals who are looking to earn a doctoral degree through advanced education may consider a research-based or professional doctoral degree. Some of the options include:
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.): This degree is available in a wide range of subjects and focuses on academic research. Program length varies by subject and by student.
Doctor of Theology (Th.D.): This degree is available for individuals who are interested in advanced studies in religion-related subjects.
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.): This is the terminal degree for educators. Program lengths vary, but usually take at least three years of study.
Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.): These professional degrees are for aspiring physicians and take four years of study to complete.
Juris Doctor (J.D.): Individuals who want to become lawyers complete a three-year program to earn this degree.
Honorary doctorate degrees are awarded by postsecondary institutions for lifetime achievement. There are also doctoral programs available for those who want to conduct advanced academic or professional studies.