Are Honorary Degrees Stupid? (Yes/no, Reasons, FAQs)

Honorary Degrees Stupid

Have you ever noticed that some famous people get a “degree” from a university without ever having to study or take exams?

This is called an honorary degree, a way for schools to recognize someone for doing something great. But not everyone agrees with that.

Some wonder if giving away these free degrees makes the idea of a “degree” less valuable. So, are special degrees a good way to show respect, or are they just dumb? Let’s start talking about it.

What are Honorary Degrees?

An honorary degree is a special degree given by a university to someone to honor them for their achievements or contributions in a particular field or to society.

The person receiving the honorary degree usually hasn’t taken classes or passed exams to earn it; instead, it’s a way to recognize their work, talent, or influence.

How do you get an Honorary Doctorate?

You can get an honorary doctorate if a university decides to recognize you for doing something really special or important. You don’t have to take classes or pass exams.

Instead, the university gives you this honorary degree as a way to say, “Hey, you’ve done something amazing in your field or for society, and we want to give you some credit for that!”

Usually, you’ll be invited to a special ceremony, and you might even give a speech.

After that, you get to use “Doctor” as a title, but it’s good to remember that an honorary doctorate isn’t the same as a regular doctorate where you’ve had to study and pass exams.

Are Honorary Degrees Stupid?

The answer to the question of whether special degrees are “stupid” depends on who you ask and how you look at things.

Honorary degrees are academic degrees for which a university has waived the normal requirements, such as enrolling in classes, living on campus, studying, and passing exams.

They are often given to show appreciation for someone’s work in a certain area or society.

Simple Reasons Why People think Honorary Degrees are Good

1. Recognition of Important Work:

An honorary degree is a way to recognize someone for doing something that’s made a big difference.

For example, someone might have started a charity that helps thousands of people, or maybe they’ve made groundbreaking scientific discoveries.

The honorary degree tells the world that this person’s work is important.

2. Inspiration for Others:

Seeing someone get recognized with an honorary degree can be really inspiring for students and other people who attend the ceremony or hear about it.

It can motivate them to strive for excellence in their lives, aiming to achieve great things.

3. Public Awareness:

Sometimes, the work that earns someone an honorary degree isn’t widely known. The degree and the ceremony can be a way to let more people know about it.

This is good because it helps spread the word about important issues like social justice causes or scientific research that could help many people.

4. Boost for the University:

When a university gives out an honorary degree, it can also make the university look good. It shows that the school values excellence and is connected with important people.

This could make more students want to attend that university, or it could encourage donations and support from the community.

5. Networking and Collaboration:

Sometimes, the person who gets the honorary degree decides to form a relationship with the university. This can lead to cool projects, lectures, or research opportunities that benefit both the honoree and the university.

Why Honorary Degrees Seems Stupid

1. Not Earned the Hard Way:

People usually spend years studying and taking exams to get a regular degree. Some think giving someone an honorary degree without all that work makes regular degrees seem less special.

2. Who Gets to Decide?:

There’s no set rule on who gets an honorary degree, so sometimes people think the choices are unfair or influenced by things like money or popularity rather than real achievements.

3. Fake Credentials:

Some people worry it’s confusing since you get called “Doctor” with an honorary degree. It’s not the same as being a real doctor who went to medical school or earned a Ph.D. by doing research.

4. Cheapens Real Degrees:

For people who worked hard to earn their academic degrees, seeing someone get one for free can feel like it cheapens their own hard work and achievements.

What is the Controversy in Honorary Degree?

1. Questionable Choices:

When a university gives an honorary degree to someone not widely considered deserving, it can lead to public backlash.

For example, if a celebrity who hasn’t done much beyond entertaining people gets an honorary degree, some might argue that the university is just chasing headlines, not honoring true achievements.

2. Divisive Figures:

Sometimes, the person getting the degree has strong opinions or a history that some strongly disagree with.

Awarding a degree to such a person can be seen as the university taking sides in a divisive issue, which can lead to protests or even boycotts.

3. Cheapening Academic Effort:

For those who have worked to earn their degrees for years, the idea that someone can get similar recognition without effort can be upsetting.

They feel that it undermines the value of their degrees and the general concept of academic achievement.

4. Misleading Qualifications:

With an honorary degree often comes the title of “Doctor.”

This can mislead people into thinking that the recipient has some expertise or academic qualification they don’t possess, which can be a serious issue in certain contexts.

5. Bias and Unfairness:

Choosing who gets an honorary degree isn’t always clear, and there’s often a suspicion that these awards can be influenced by money, personal connections, or social status rather than merit.

This perceived unfairness can lead to criticism.

6. Damage to Institutional Reputation:

If a university gives out a widely criticized honorary degree, it can harm the university’s reputation.

People might start questioning the institution’s values or decision-making process, which could have long-term effects.

How do Honorary Degrees from other lifetime achievement awards?

1. Who Gives Them:

Schools like universities usually give honorary degrees. A government might give medals, and lifetime achievement awards often come from organizations focusing on a specific field, like music or movies.

2. What You Have to Do:

With honorary degrees, you’re usually honored for a big contribution to a field of study or to society in general. Medals and other awards might be for bravery, long service, or being good at something specific.

3. Ceremony:

Honorary degrees are often given at a big school event where students get their regular degrees. Other awards might be given at special ceremonies or events for that purpose.

4. Fancy Title:

When you get an honorary degree, you often get called “Doctor,” even if you’re not a doctor. Medals and other awards usually don’t come with a new title.

5. How People See It:

Some people think honorary degrees are a big deal because they come from a university. Others think they’re not as special as other awards because you didn’t have to pass any tests to get one.

FAQs on Honorary Degrees Being Stupid

Why Do People Think Honorary Degrees Are Stupid?

Some people think honorary degrees are “stupid” because they feel these awards cheapen the value of academic degrees that require years of study and hard work. They worry that honorary degrees are handed out too easily, sometimes just because someone is famous or has connections.

Can You Use ‘Dr.’ in Your Name with an Honorary Degree?

Yes, you can technically use the title ‘Dr.’ if you have an honorary degree, but it’s often considered misleading. This is another reason some folks consider honorary degrees to be “stupid”—they feel it can confuse people about someone’s real qualifications.

Do Universities Benefit from Giving Out Honorary Degrees?

Some universities like giving honorary degrees because they attract attention and may attract donations or partnerships. However, critics argue that this focus on PR rather than academic achievement makes the practice “stupid” or at least questionable.

Do Honorary Degrees Hold Any Academic Value?

Honorary degrees are symbolic and don’t represent academic achievement. You can’t use them to get a job that requires a specific degree or academic training. This lack of practical use is another reason some people consider them “stupid” or meaningless.


Honorary degrees are a topic of debate, with some seeing them as a meaningful way to honor significant contributions, while others criticize them as superficial or even misleading.

Ultimately, the value of an honorary degree may depend on the context in which it is given and how the public perceives it.

Awesome one; I hope this article answers your question.

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