B9 Honorary Degree Regulations

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    1. The Articles of Government grant the Academic Board responsibility for the procedures for the award of qualifications and honorary academic titles (paragraph 3.4(a)). These regulations describe the way in which the Academic Board, subject to the overall responsibility of the Board of Governors, has agreed to proceed to confer awards to recognise relevant achievements honorifically. While regularly and normally referred to as “Honorary Degrees” such awards are made using the same powers as degrees conferred following examination and assessment.

    2. All staff, students, governors and the Chancellor are eligible to submit nominations throughout the year for Honorary Degrees. 

    3. Nominations for the award of honorary degrees will be considered by the Honorary Conferments Committee (HCC), which is chaired by the Vice-Chancellor. The HCC is granted delegated authority, from the Academic Board and the Board of Governors, to approve nominations. The HCC will prepare an annual report of approved nominations for receipt by the Academic Board and the Board of Governors.

    4. Nominees for Honorary Degrees must demonstrate one or more of the following: 

    1. Substantial and significant academic achievements either nationally or internationally, in a relevant field (a subject area taught or researched in the University);
    2. An outstanding contribution to national and/or international life in any way; 
    3. Distinguished service to the University, in any capacity, over a long period of time;  
    4. An active and influential role in enhancing the provision of education in the UK or abroad;
    5. An ability to contribute to the future aims, strategies and development of the University, e.g. by enhancing its reputation; 
    6. Be an alumni of the University who has achieved distinction in the academic, public service, industrial, commercial, artistic, cultural or sporting fields; 
    7. An example worthy as a role model to students. 

    5. In addition, nominees must demonstrate a relevance to the work of the University, which may include, for example, a close alignment with the University’s guiding principles and strategic objectives or an active engagement in the business of the University.

    6. Nominations for serving politicians, current members of the Board of Governors, current staff or from any individual on their own behalf will not be considered. If a former staff member or Governor is nominated, this information must be included on the nomination form.

    7. Formal submissions must be on the University’s Honorary Degrees Nomination form (Appendix 1) together with a brief biography and a supporting statement from the proposer indicating how the nominee meets the University’s formal requirements. Nominations will not normally be accepted without the support of the proposer’s PVC Dean or Director (where applicable).

    8. Once the completed form has been submitted, the HCC will consider the nomination and aim to make a decision within ten working days. The HCC will either decide that:

    1. The nominee is not suitable according to the criteria listed above, in which case the proposer should be informed by the secretary of the decision of the Committee and the matter closed (the nominee should not be informed); 
    2. The nominee be accepted for an honorary degree, and which honorary degree is awarded (drawn from section A1.1.8 of the University regulations: ‘Honorary Degrees’). 

    9. When the nominations are approved by the HCC, they will be submitted by the Secretary to the Assistant Communications Director (or other relevant staff member in Corporate Affairs) as part of the due diligence and consultation process. Any concerns will be referred back to the Committee.  

    10. Subject to the recommendation from the Assistant Communications Director, the successful nominee will be written to by the Vice-Chancellor and invited to accept the award either at a graduation ceremony or other suitable occasion. 

    11. The proposer will be informed by the Stakeholder Manager once the nominee has accepted the invitation from the Vice-Chancellor of an honorary degree, but this must remain confidential (see point 14).

    12. The Head of the Academic Office will be informed of any approvals in order to prepare the certificate of award. 

    13. If the nominee accepts the invitation, but is unable to attend on the date suggested, the Vice-Chancellor may offer to defer conferment to a future occasion. Any deferred conferment should be reported back to the next HCC meeting. The HCC will note the outcome at the next meeting, the proposer will be informed and the matter will be closed.

    14. The strictest confidentiality must be maintained throughout the process of nomination and consideration. It is important from the beginning of the process of nomination, through to the point at which a decision is reached and the successful candidates have been invited to receive their award and have accepted, that a high level of confidentiality be maintained. Under no circumstances should a nominee be informed of their nomination.

    15. Honorary graduates may use the approved post-nominal letters as contained in section A1.1.8 of the University Regulations: ‘Honorary Degrees’. It is not customary, however, for recipients of an honorary doctorate to adopt the prefix ‘Dr’.


    For further information about these regulations, please contact the Head of Academic Office.

    Approved: Academic Board, 3 November 2010
    Last updated: Academic Board, 11 November 2015