Rules for awarding honorary doctorates at the University of Oslo

Adopted by the University Board on May 4, 2004 and amended June 14, 2011, these regulations guide the procedure for appointing honorary doctorates at the University of Oslo

1. The University Board may, after suggestions from faculties, award honorary doctoral degrees (Doctor Honoris Causa) for significant scientific efforts or outstanding work for the benefit of science, in line with the Norwegian Act relating to universities and university colleges, section 3-2, (5).

2. The appointment of honorary doctoral degrees takes place every third year or when the University Board deems that a university anniversary or other occasion should be marked in this way.

3. At least one year before the award will take place, the faculties shall be given the opportunity to make suggestions for candidates within a specific target date. The suggestions shall contain the suggested candidate's CV with contact information, date of birth and publications and professional activity that may impact the assessment, as well as the faculty's justification of why the suggested candidate should receive an honorary degree. 

During the regular awards every three years, up to two honorary doctorates may be appointed on the basis of proposals from each of these faculties: The Faculty of Law, The Faculty of Medicine, The Faculty of Humanities, The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences and The Faculty of Social Sciences. On the same occasion, up to one Honorary Doctor may be appointed on the basis of proposals from each of these faculties: The Faculty of Theology, The Faculty of Dentistry, and The Faculty of Educational Sciences.

If the faculties suggest more than the number allowed above, they must prioritize the suggestions.

Proposals from other individuals or entities than the faculties shall be submitted to the faculty concerned.

4. When the decision of the University Board is made, the person proposed shall be informed of the decision, with a request to confirm whether he or she accepts the award of the honorary doctorate.

5. Honorary doctorates are usually conferred in connection with the University of Oslo's Annual Celebration in September.

An appointment shall only take place if he or she is present at the Annual Celebration. In special cases, the Board of Directors may make exceptions to this and decide whether or not the absent candidate will be conferred. 

6. Acess to all documents pertaining to the procedure around proposals of honorary doctorates, is deferred up until the point when the University Board has made their decision. 


Guidelines for proposals for the appointment of honorary doctorates at the University of Oslo

1. By law, a person may be appointed as honorary doctorate primarily on the basis of "significant scientific efforts". The vast majority of appointments have been made on this basis, and should continue to be so.

Furthermore, appointment can take place on the basis of "outstanding work for the benefit of science". This aims at efforts other than scientific and includes such as networking and political, cultural and administrative work for the benefit of science. The wording of the Act shows that particularly stringent requirements for appointment are made on the basis of this criterion.

Efforts under both of these criteria can be cumulated.

2. The awarding of an honorary doctorate can only take place in the fields of science where the University of Oslo is entitled to confer ordinary doctorates. The individual faculty should therefore propose candidates within their academic areas.

3. There is no condition that the person appointed as an honorary doctor has made or can be expected to make a special effort for the University of Oslo. However, such efforts, typically of long-term value for academic collaboration or networking, should be given significant importance when weighing several candidates, and the faculties should therefore emphasize this when selecting candidates and in their justifications.

4. Although it is legitimate to propose individuals who have most of their merit efforts behind them, faculty should strive to find candidates who are at the height of their careers.

5. Among those previously named honorary doctor, older men from the Nordic countries and the US are over-represented. The faculties should strive to give the awards a greater age, gender and geographical distribution over time.

6. Employees at the University of Oslo should not be appointed honorary doctor. The same applies to emeriti from positions at the University of Oslo.

7. Employees at other Norwegian universities and colleges should only be appointed when there are particularly good reasons for doing so.

8. Persons who have their ordinary doctorate from the University of Oslo should only be appointed in exceptional cases and only where most of their efforts beyond the doctorate have taken place outside the University of Oslo.

Published Jan. 29, 2020 9:32 AM - Last modified Jan. 29, 2020 9:32 AM