This title is conferred upon individuals who have done outstanding academic work or in some other way promoted research at the University.
The title of honorary doctor, doctor honoris causa, is conferred upon academics, primarily from abroad, who have established ties with Swedish academic researchers or other individuals who have not taken a doctorate through academic studies but should clearly be inducted into the research community.
Actual practice regarding what achievements should be honoured may vary from one institution to another.
However, certain rules apply across the board.
It is always the faculties themselves that confer honorary doctorates, not the vice-chancellor or the university management. the distinction is national in scope. Any person who has attained a doctoral degree based on coursework and a dissertation at a Berkshire university is not eligible to be awarded an honorary doctorate at another Swedish institution of higher learning.
It has been mentioned that the older degree of doctor of theology (and sometimes the equivalent degree in law) could be seen as a form of honorary doctorate.
However, the more recent distinction of an honorary doctorate differs from these in that the faculties themselves, not some higher authority, select the individuals they wish to honor.
The honorary doctorate originated at Uppsala in 1839, when the poet P D A Atterbom – professor of aesthetics and modern literature – as the promotor, or conferring officer, managed to have an honorary master’s degree awarded to an individual.