Procedures for the Award of Honorary Degrees

The Senate is empowered to award DBA/LLD/DLitt/DSc degrees honoris causa as a means of honouring individuals who have distinguished themselves in a particular field or profession, or who have given meritorious service to the University. 

Criteria for Nominations

The following criteria have been approved by the Advisory Committee for Awards and Honours.

The Honorary Degrees of DBA/LLD/DLitt/DSc are the University's public recognition of an individual's outstanding achievements or service at a local, national or international level. It is particularly appropriate if the achievements or service are directly related to Aston University and/or Birmingham and the West Midlands, or to the principles for which Aston University stands: the advancement, dissemination and application of learning and knowledge, by teaching, and research, for the benefit of industry and commerce, and of the community generally. In nominating candidates, nominators should aim to reflect the diversity of the Aston community.

A candidate for an Honorary Degree must have made highly significant contributions at a local, national or international level, for example:

  • An outstanding contribution to scholarship in its broadest sense, either by advancement of learning and research, or the application of existing knowledge in a particularly useful and innovative manner.
  • An outstanding contribution in a field of activity critical to or supported by the University, or for notable achievement in a profession for which Aston educates students.
  • Contributions and service to academia, and to Aston in particular, by leading public figures.
  • Candidates should be oustanding role models for Aston Graduates and their families.
  • Members of the University Council are not normally eligible to be nominated for an honorary award while in office.

Submission of Nominations

Nominations should be submitted to the Vice-Chancellor’s Office (email: Rachel Rutter, using the form which can be downloaded by clicking here.

Those submitting nominations are asked to provide:

  • A clear statement of the grounds on which the candidate is being proposed related to the criteria stated above. It should be based, as far as possible, on personal knowledge of the candidate. In particular, the nominee's connection with the University must be clearly stated.
  •  A suggested award (DBA/LLD/DLitt/DSc) and suggested wording for award (‘for significant contribution to…’).
  • An up-to-date biographical note. If, for any reason, this cannot be provided and details of the candidate are not available in standard reference books such as ‘Who's Who’, a note should be given of people who can be contacted by the Advisory Committee to provide further information on the candidate.

Consideration of Nominations

The business of the Advisory Committee for Awards and Honours is conducted in strict confidence.  The proposer of a nomination should not, therefore, contact the nominee in advance of submitting a case.  If the Committee considers the nominee to be worthy of an honorary degree, a recommendation will go forward to the University Senate.  If Senate approves the award, the Vice-Chancellor will write to the nominee regarding the offer.

At the start of each meeting members of the Advisory Committee for Awards and Honours will be asked to declare any interests in relation to any of the candidates under consideration (eg family relationships, business connections), and where they do declare interests, they will be asked to withdraw and take no part in the consideration of the candidate in question.

The Advisory Committee for Awards and Honours ensures that:

  • All honorary awards of the University are conferred upon individuals whose achievements and activities reflect the values of the University
  • There is appropriate evidence of the listed achievements
  • The style and level of the honour reflects appropriately the nature of the achievement and/or contribution
  • The list of candidates nominated for honorary awards reflects the range of academic endeavour in which the University is engaged
  • There is no risk of embarrassment to either the candidate or the University as a consequence of the award being made.

Honorary Graduates

The names of past honorary graduates are published on the University website.