Skip to main content

Honorary Awards at the University of London

The University of London has awarded honorary degrees since 1903 to outstanding individuals who have excelled in their field. 

The award recognises their achievements and forms a lifelong link with the University. More recently, we have also awarded Honorary Fellowships for those individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the University directly.

Each year we solicit nominations for the next round of honorary awards which are made at one of four degree ceremonies:

  • University of London graduation ceremony for distance learning students worldwide (held in London usually in March or April)
  • University of London Institute in Paris degree ceremony (held in Paris each July)
  • Foundation Day (celebrates the founding of the University in 1836 and takes place in November)
  • School of Advanced Study degree ceremony (usually held in December or February each year)
Foundation Day 2021 event photos at Senate House. 23 November 2021
Chancellor during Foundation Day

Previous honorary graduates and fellows

Over time honorary degree recipients have included individuals from many walks of life and just a few of the recipients are highlighted below:

  • Dame Antonia Byatt (novelist) 1995
  • Sir Anthony Caro (sculptor) 2006
  • Rev Dr John Sentamu (archbishop) 2010
  • Sir Madgi Yacoub (heart surgeon) 2011
  • Baroness Helena Kennedy (lawyer) 2015
  • Professor John Beddington (biologist) 2015
  • Katya Adler (journalist) 2017
  • Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (actor) 2017
  • Professor Sue Black (computer scientist) 2018
  • April Ashley (pioneer for LGTB+ and Gender Recognition) 2019.

Who can make a nomination for an award?

We welcome nominations from staff, alumni, stakeholders and the general public.

Who can be nominated?

Honorary Degree

The nominee should be an outstanding individual who has excelled in their field.  They should command international or at least national recognition. They may have a specific connection to the University or to London or have substantial achievements in their lifetime. These achievements could relate to academia, public service, business or the arts. Nominations are welcomed that represent both the diversity of the University’s global community and of London itself.

  • Read more information about honorary degrees - Regulation 2 [PDF]

Honorary Fellowship

The nominee should be a person of significant achievement and distinction, who has made an outstanding contribution to the University’s reputation, mission or objects over a period of time. 

Please note that self-nominations are not accepted. We do not normally accept nominations from serving politicians.

How can I make a nomination?

Complete the nomination form.

What is the deadline to make a nomination?

The deadline for nominations for 2024 is 9 February 2024.

What happens next?

All nominations which meet the criteria will be considered by the Honorary Degrees and Fellowships Group, which is chaired by the Vice-Chancellor. Its recommendations are then presented to the Collegiate Council and Board of Trustees, the bodies responsible for approving awards of University of London Honorary Degrees and Honorary Fellowships respectively. The University will contact, in due course, those selected for the award of an Honorary Degree or an Honorary Fellowship. All nominations are treated in the strictest confidence. Please do not contact your nominee under any circumstances. 

You may be contacted if your nomination is successful and may be asked to provide further information. If you do not hear from the University, you should assume that your nomination has not been successful on this occasion, though names are often carried forward for consideration in subsequent years.

Is it possible to resubmit nominations?

Please note that if you submitted a nomination for the previous calls you should not resubmit the same name, however, you can submit another individual for consideration.