Honoris causa


January 24, 2022

Honorary Doctor (Latin honoris causa - “for the sake of honor”, ​​abbreviated as hc) - the degree of Doctor of Science or Doctor of Philosophy / Doctor of Arts / Doctor of Pedagogy / Doctor of Divinity / Doctor of Music (depending on the system of academic degrees) without defending a dissertation, awarded on the basis of significant merits of the applicant to science or culture. The degree-granting institution will usually indicate by this that it considers it honorable to have that person in the ranks of the teaching staff, even if this presence is symbolic. Formula Dr. h. c. mult. indicates that this person was awarded the title of Doctor Honoris Causa several times (in several educational institutions). An honorary degree can not only be awarded, but also withdrawn.


The practice of awarding degrees dates back to the Middle Ages. Universities began to award honorary degrees as a mark of respect. The award of this degree was not subject to the formal requirements established for ordinary degrees awarded for specific scientific research. Thus, it was not a degree for any particular scientific research or discovery, but for a combination of merit. The earliest recorded degree was awarded to Lionel Woodville in the late 1470s at Oxford University, who later became Bishop of Salisbury. Since the second half of the 16th century, the granting of honorary degrees has become common, including at Oxford and Cambridge universities. In 1985, Oxford University denied Margaret Thatcher an honorary degree in protest against her government's cuts in higher education funding. Prior to this, all prime ministers who graduated from Oxford received an honorary doctorate. In addition to universities, the degree (or title) of an honorary doctor can be awarded by scientific societies and academies of sciences, both state and public.

In Russia

From 1803 to 1819, and then from 1863 and subsequently, there was an institution of honorary doctors (resumed in the 1930s), that is, “men known for their learning and writings, or who distinguished themselves in public service in foreign lands

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