System Procedures
Chapter 3 - Educational Policies

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for Board Policy 3.18

Part 1. Purpose and Applicability. The honorary degrees procedure identifies the awards that may be conferred, provides guidelines for selection of honorary degree recipients, provides limits to the number of honorary degrees, and specifies how awards are presented. This procedure implements Policy 3.18 Honorary Degrees.

Part 2. Authorized Honorary Awards. Colleges and universities may select from the following categories of honorary degrees based upon the intended recipient's field(s) of contribution, achievement, service, and distinction.

  1. Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts (Hon. D.F.A.)
  2. Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (Hon. LH.D.)
  3. Honorary Doctor of Laws (Hon. LL.D.)
  4. Honorary Doctor of Literature (Hon. Litt.D.)
  5. Honorary Doctor of Education (Hon. D.Ed.)
  6. Honorary Doctor of Science (Hon. Sc.D.)
  7. Honorary Doctor of Engineering and Technology (Hon. D. Eng. & Tech.)

Part 3. Guidelines for Selection.

Subpart A. Intention. Honorary degrees should recognize and honor persons who have made exceptional contributions to a specific field or to society in general.

Subpart B. Procedures. Each college and university shall establish procedures for recommending candidates for honorary degrees. These procedures should include provisions for consultation with the institution's faculty.

Subpart C. Justification for Awards. Service or benefaction to the college or university does not in itself provide justification for the award of an honorary degree. To be recognized and honored, the candidate must be distinguished with a regional, national or international reputation.

Part 4. Limits to the Number of Honorary Degrees.

Subpart A. Colleges and universities granting honorary degrees generally should limit their award to no more than one per commencement ceremony.

Subpart B. Colleges and Universities may grant a second honorary degree in a different category to a person when there are compelling circumstances.

Part 5. Presentation of Honorary Degrees. Honorary degrees shall be awarded during commencement exercises, and on occasion, at convocations, presidential inaugurations, or other similar ceremonies.  The recipient should agree to be present as a condition of receiving the awards.  An honorary degree may be awarded in absentia in the case of compelling or extraordinary circumstances.

Part 6. Report to System Office. Colleges and universities that have awarded honorary degrees will submit an annual report in September of each year to vice chancellor for academic and student affairs. The report shall include information about the type of degrees awarded, the names of the recipients, and the rationale for the award.

Part 7. History of Honorary Degrees Awarded. A history of honorary degrees awarded shall be maintained on the MnSCU website at

Related Documents:

System Procedure History:

Date of Adoption: 01/30/09
Date of Implementation: 01/30/09
Date of Last Review: 08/26/13

Date & Subject of Amendments:

8/26/13 - Part 1 amended to clarify language. Part 2 amended to include Honorary Doctor of Engineering and Technology. Part 4 amended to clarify when a second honorary degree can be awarded. Part 5 amended to improve the process used for presentation of honorary degrees. Part 6 and Part 7 were added.

3/18/09 - Language was corrected in Parts 1-3.

No additional HISTORY.