The conferring of honorary degrees provides the university with an opportunity to convey to the world our values and principles by recognizing the contributions and accomplishments of exceptional individuals. The honorary doctorates conferred at each Convocation also provide our graduating students with exemplary role models and meaningful messages that will carry them into their futures.

Click here to view past honorary degree recipients.

Degrees Awarded

Carleton University confers the following honorary degrees:

  • LL.D. – Doctor of Laws – Awarded for exceptional service to the University or to the community as a whole, or for outstanding scholarly achievement in a profession not covered by other honorary degrees
  • D.Litt. – Doctor of Literature – Awarded for outstanding achievement in the Humanities
  • D. Eng. – Doctor of Engineering – Awarded for outstanding achievement in the field of Engineering
  • D. Mus. – Doctor of Music – Awarded for outstanding achievement in Music
  • D. Sc. – Doctor of Science – Awarded for outstanding achievement in the pure and applied sciences
  • D. Fine Arts – Doctor of Fine Arts – Awarded for outstanding achievement in the Fine Arts
  • D. Arch. – Doctor of Architecture – Awarded for outstanding achievement in Architecture

In exceptional circumstances, and in recognition of long-term service to Carleton University, the committee may recommend the awarding of an honorary Master’s degree.


The Senate Honorary Degrees Committee encourages members of the Carleton University community and the general public to submit nominations of exceptional and distinguished individuals for an honorary degree.

Nominations must be submitted in strict confidence and therefore should not be discussed with the nominee.

Nominations may be submitted to the Senate Office at any time throughout the year, and will be reviewed at the meetings of the Honorary Degree Committee, which normally occur twice per year.

Eligibility and Exclusions

Citizens and nationals of any country may be nominated. Serving employees of the university, sitting members of the Board of Governors, and sitting members of legislative bodies, such as Parliament, are not eligible for nomination. Also, current adjunct professors and research fellows at Carleton University are normally excluded from consideration. Carleton University also does not award honorary degrees posthumously, or in absentia. The approved candidate is expected to attend a Convocation and address graduating students.

Criteria for Selection

The Senate Honorary Degrees Committee will review each nominee in terms of whether they personify the core values of the relevant Faculty and/or the university, and exemplify the personal and professional characteristics to which we wish our students to aspire. An honorary degree recipient is someone who:

  • is a scholar of notable significance, pioneering or revolutionizing a field,
  • has made a significant contribution to the University,
  • has made a significant contribution to the community, nation, or the world, and/or
  • brings honour to Canada on the world stage.


Nominators should begin by completing all sections of the Honorary Degree Nomination Form. Incomplete nomination forms will not be forwarded to the committee. Note that additional information and documentation to support the nomination may be attached to and included with the nomination form.

Each nomination should be accompanied by two letters of support from individuals who are familiar with the candidate’s achievements and knowledgeable in the candidate’s area of expertise. The letters should state the relationship of the writer to the candidate, and should complement, rather than reproduce, the information provided on the nomination form, by providing a broader context to the candidate’s accomplishments and their impact. The individuals supplying these letters must be informed of the need to maintain strict confidentiality; they should not contact the candidate to inform him/her of the nomination. The Committee may contact the nominator if further information is required.

The Honorary Degrees Committee will consider all nominations in strictest confidence. Candidates recommended by the Committee will then be presented to a closed session of Senate for approval. In order to protect the confidentiality of the process, nominators will not be informed of the decision of Senate, and will only be contacted if and when the granting of the honorary degree has been scheduled.  If a nominee is approved by Senate, the university’s President will choose when to contact the candidate with an offer to receive the honorary degree. The President also decides, in consultation with the candidate, at which Convocation ceremony the degree will be awarded, and when the honorary degree will be publicized.

Approved nominees are held on an active list for a period of five years to allow time for the candidate to attend a convocation ceremony to receive the degree.

Revocation of Honorary Degrees

In rare and exceptional circumstances, where the behaviour of an individual has caused significant concern, the Honorary Degrees Committee has the right to review and recommend to Senate the rescinding of an Honorary Degree.


Please send nominations and direct all inquiries to:

607 Pigiarvik
1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, ON K1S 5B6 Canada
613-520-2600 x3386