Rules – University of Copenhagen


Legal basis

The legal basis for awarding an honorary doctorate is stipulated in the general rules on the conferral of doctorates. At present, these consist of:

Decree of 17 October 1927 on the Acquisition of the Doctorate
– with some amendments by the decree of 14 June 1940

The latter contains a single paragraph about the honorary doctorate: “Honorary doctorates are awarded to researchers in recognition of scientific endeavours that deserve to be honoured with the highest academic degree.”

Nomination procedure

The Communications department in the central administration is responsible for coordinating the Annual Commemoration, including the procedure for nominating, awarding and promoting honorary doctorates.

The opportunity to award honorary doctorates is taken in turns so that three of the six faculties each award up to two honorary doctorates every two years. In even years, it is the Faculties of Law, Social Sciences and Health and Medical Sciences who can award honorary doctorates, and in odd years, the Faculties of Humanities, Science and Theology upon the decision of the Academic Council. Proposals for female honorary doctors are very welcome.

Proposals for honorary doctorates

The faculties must submit detailed proposals including reasons for the proposal, CV as well as a special fact sheet, which can be obtained by emailing The full material is sent to no later than 15 June in the year of the annual commemoration in question. The promotion at the annual commemoration is done in English, and all the material must therefore be submitted in both Danish and English.

In order to receive an honorary doctorate it is a condition that the recipient
1) has consented to receiving the award and
2) can participate in the annual commemoration.

The deans will be informed directly no later than 1 August when Rector  has approved the honorary doctorates of the year.

Announcement of honorary doctorates

The faculties may publish the honorary doctorate awards when they have been officially approved by Rector.

Promotion and annual commemoration

The deans promote the honorary doctorates at the annual commemoration. In addition, the deans appoint an ‘endorser’ for each honorary doctor. This is a person who has a special interest in the appointment of the honorary doctor, and who is the official contact person for the honorary doctor.

The endorser will assist with all the practical matters in connection with the annual commemoration and is responsible for all relevant correspondence between the honorary doctor and the Communications department. The endorser is invited to the annual commemoration.

Travel, accommodation, etc. for the honorary doctors and their companion are arranged and paid for by the individual faculties, and any events in honour of the honorary doctor will be held at the faculty.

As a rule, invitations are sent out in early September (invitation to the honorary doctors is sent to the endorser), and promotion guidelines are submitted along with access card etc. to the endorser and the dean approximately three weeks before the annual commemoration.


Questions about the above can be sent to The website (including English version) will be updated currently with general information about the annual commemoration.