What is an Honorary Degree


What is an Honorary Degree

The main interesting fact about honorary degree lays right on the surface. You can get a degree without any efforts from your side. So, what is an honorary degree? Is it legal? Is it available and affordable for everyone? Well, let’s learn more together in this article our experts have prepared for you.

It is hard to become a student. College students are payings impressing summs to study. It is a real challenge to get a degree while studying. You need to deal with all those academic tasks and deadlines. It is a hard work and there are still no guarantees you are going to get a degree. Yes, you need to create and state your dissertation. But what if we tell you that hundreds of people all over the world are awarded without attending any institutions. Yes, it is not as hard to earn it as to study for years, but there are few main reasons why it is still fair.

What is an Honorary Degree?

So, what is an honorary degree? It is a special type of academic degree but different requirements.

You can earn it without studying a day in a university that awards you with it. There are no exams and academic writing tasks needed to get it. You do not have to even live on campus. The types of an honorary degree itself may vary. The doctorate one is the most common of all.

Types of Honorary Award

There are few main honorary degree types:

  • Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Doctor of Laws
  • Doctor of Science
  • Doctor of Fine Arts
  • Doctor of Divinity

A Little Bit of History

If you think that an honorary degree is a new thing, you are wrong. It is probably older than the college you are studying in. The very first honorary degree is known to be presented in 1478. Young bishop Lionel Woodville was a man of great honor and also a king’s brother-in-law. It is not a surprise Oxford University wanted to have such an influential friend.

Woodville never attended Oxford and didn’t match any of their requirements except his wide religious and political connections. From that time he became something we now know as a PhD holder. Very easy and useful for both parties. Then Oxford University started to award such honorary degrees to any person at least in some way useful for them.

Of course, other universities and colleges got the thing and copied that genius trick from Oxford.

Famous People with Honorary Degrees?

There are lots of famous people and celebrities with honorary awards. Actually, more than you can probably imagine. More of that, some of them have received such honorary awards for multiple times.

Do you know Meryl Streep? Of course you do! So, she is not just an Academy-Award winning actress but also holder of few honorary doctorates. There are four of them. Three from the one and only Ivy League (Harvard, Princeton and Yale) and one from Indiana University at Bloomington. Now she is a doctor of Fine Arts. Also, she has a real one after studying at Vassar College.

Another great example of honorary success is J.K. Rowling. How many books about Harry Potter she wrote? Seven. How many honorary awards she has? Yes, also seven. Universities in Europe and the US wanted to have this famous writer among their friends. Almost all legendary Hollywood actors and actress have at least one honorary degree.

There are also some ironic moments such as honorary award given to Kanye West by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Why is it ironic enough? Well, West has an album titles “The College Dropout”. Mark Zuckerberg, yes, famous Facebook creator has an honorary award given by the same college he was dropped out Harvard.

Does It Make Sense?

Well, this question has two sides. It may seem to be unreasonable for you but for an institution it is a chance to get an influential name to their list. As you may see this is not about awarding the most talented academics and intellectuals. This is about awarding the most talented celebrities. Actually, in most cases this degree has nothing to do with academics and science at all. These people do not contribute anything nor to science, neither to the institution they are awarded by.

Does it make any sense to the recipient? Of course, this is a status thing but still it gives them nothing. It make sense in some image field of both sides, but nothing more. The star gets something to proud of and the institution gets some rich donation or at least PR in press. But do Harvard need any more publicity? Of course. no. Money? Always, yes.

Do You Need It?

Remember, that you are studying hard not just because you do not have a choice. The main reason is to earn knowledge. Your future depends on how you are studying and getting a degree means counting on a better job, counting on a better future. You are earning respect, skill, and experience to build your career upon it. Can honorary thing give you any of those points? Obviously no.

Honorary is not an actual degree and some institutions even ask their recipients not to add prefix Dr. to their name. It is still just a status thing, just a show off story, nothing more.

Bottom Line

Not all colleges and universities have such an honorary award. In this case they just do not consider it as a proper investment. Real scientists do not want to reward rich and famous people just for having money. Still, all those recipients may be extremely talented people, and they really are, but they have nothing to do with real science.

In your case, only hard working attitude and knowledge will make you successful. And if you have any troubles with your academic tasks, you have a perfect opportunity to have one of our experts to help you out.