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Queen's University

University Secretariat and Legal Counsel

Guidelines for the Selection of Honorary Degree Candidates

Approved February 1999

  1. To be recommended for an Honorary Degree the candidate should have made an outstanding contribution on a national or international scale. The contribution may be to the advancement of the candidate’s discipline or field of work, or it may be to the community, to society or to the University

  2. Active members of faculty and staff at Queen's are not to be recommended for honorary degrees.

    Honorary degrees have traditionally not been awarded to active members of faculty or staff. Outstanding contributions to Queen's may be recognized in other ways. Retired members may be recommended at least three to five years after retirement.

  3. Traditionally, new principals and chancellors are asked to name the honorary degree recipients for their installations. They should be made aware of these guidelines

  4. Normally an active politician should not be recommended for an honorary degree.

    An exception may be made in the case of a person who has been a politician for a considerable length of time and has made a particularly outstanding contribution. This rule does not apply at a special convocation for the installation of the Chancellor or Principal, when the university may wish to recognize a person in a high position.

  5. Posthumous honorary degrees will not be recommended.

    In awarding the Honorary Degree, the University honours the person and not his or her memory. If the candidate dies after accepting the Senate invitation but before the convocation, the Honorary Degree will be awarded.

  6. Only in exceptional circumstances will a degree be awarded in absentia.

  7. In selecting the candidates for the award of an honorary degree,
    1. Some recommendations should also acknowledge that Queen’s has international interests. However, it is desirable to recognize outstanding Canadians.
    2. It is desirable to recognize individuals who have not received honorary degrees from other institutions, but who are clearly worthy candidates.
    3. The committee should ensure that such groups as women, visible minorities, aboriginal peoples, persons with a disability and others who reflect the diversity of Canadian society are regularly included in the recommendations.
  8. One or two persons of international distinction should be offered honorary degrees each year at the fall convocation.

  9. Degrees that may be awarded:

  10. DD

    Doctor of Divinity


    Doctor of Laws


    Doctor of Science

    In awards to scientists and engineers, the D.Sc. degree should be awarded if the major contribution of the candidate is to pure or applied science. If the major contribution is to public service, the community etc., the LL.D. degree should be awarded. The DD degree is awarded on the recommendation of the Queen's Theological College

    Honorary degrees of MA and MSc have been awarded to three support staff members, one in 1953, one in 1970 and one in 1979. Since 1979 Senate has awarded only the above degrees.

  11. These guidelines are publicly available

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