Call for nominations

Who would you nominate for an honorary degree?

An honorary degree is one of higher education's most significant accolades. Each year, the University of Bristol bestows a number of honorary degrees on distinguished individuals who merit special recognition for outstanding achievement and distinction in a field or activity consonant with the mission and strategy of the University. We are very proud of all our existing honorary graduates, with many of whom we retain strong links.

The people concerned receive their degrees at one of the two degree congregations held in February and July of each year in the Great Hall of the Wills Memorial Building. During the ceremony an oration is delivered in commendation of each Honorary Graduand.

We welcome all honorary degree nominations made by anyone within or outside the University. All nominations are considered by the Honorary Degrees Committee and approved by Senate and the Board of Trustees.

When considering a candidate for an honorary degree, the Honorary Degrees Committee may refer to agreed selection criteria. These criteria should not be viewed as exhaustive or restrictive, but they do provide useful guidance.

Criteria for the award of honorary degrees:

  • Genuine achievement and distinction in an activity consonant with the mission, values and strategy of the University, including: scholarship, the advancement of learning, welfare diversity and social responsibility, creativity and innovation, enterprise, public service; or significant demonstration of personal qualities that exemplify the University’s values, including: integrity, pursuit of excellence, resilience and courage.
  • Being of sufficient standing professionally and personally to be an exemplar and of interest to undergraduate and postgraduate students attending the graduation ceremony, and to their families.
  • There may be an existing or possible future association between the individual and the University or city of Bristol.
  • Inclusivity and diversity are important strands of our strategy. Nominations on behalf of women and other frequently under-represented groups, that enhance the overall diversity of our honorary graduates, are therefore particularly welcome.

Honorary degrees will not be awarded to individuals in current employment at the University of Bristol; former employees of the University might occasionally be honoured for exceptional service to the University; former academic staff that retain an honorary connection to the University (e.g. Emeritus Professors) might exceptionally be considered, where their particular achievement has impacted uniquely beyond the usual scope.

The following accomplishments are regarded as not in themselves sufficient reason for consideration: currently holding elected public office; acts of philanthropy; receiving popular acclaim, but they would not be a bar to consideration should one or more of the other criteria be met.

Honorary Fellowships

An Honorary Fellowship is the highest honour a university can bestow. The title is awarded rarely by the University of Bristol and recognises outstanding distinction in an academic field and/or a particular and consistent contribution over a period of time to the life of the University.

Nomination process

To make nominations for honorary degrees or Honorary Fellowships, please complete the nominations form (Word doc or PDF):

Please send nominations for Honorary Degrees and Honorary Fellowships to

Nomination deadline

Monday 25 February 2020

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