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University Honours and Recognition Policy (MPF1235)

  • Category: Engagement
  • Version: 14
  • Document Type: Policy
  • Document Status: Published
  • Approved On: 15 March, 2023
  • Audience: Staff, Research, Academic
  • Effective Date: 31 March, 2023
  • Review Date: 13 March, 2023
  • Policy Approver: Council
  • Policy Steward: University Secretary
  • Supporting Process:

    Governance Processes

University Honours and Recognition Policy (MPF1235)

1. Objective

1.1. The objective of this policy is to guide:

a) the recognition of outstanding contributions, distinguished service, and exceptional generosity and support to the University by individuals or communities engaged with the University; and

b) the nomination and awarding of honorary degrees under the Council Regulation.

2. Scope

2.1. Unless otherwise stated, this policy applies to proposers and approvers of all honours and awards at the University.

2.2. This policy does not apply to

a) student awards established under the Establishment and Award of Student Awards Policy (MPF1062); or

b) the naming of University property, entities, academic positions, academic programs, and student or staff awards in recognition of a person, group or organisation under the University Naming and Memorial Policy (MPF1201).

3. Authority

3.1. This policy is made under the University of Melbourne Act 2009 (Vic) and the Council Regulation .

4. Policy

4.1. The nomination and approval of honours and awards at the University must:

a) align with the objects, values, strategies and policies of the University and community expectations;

b) respect and reflect the diversity of the community;

c) not damage the University’s reputation or other interests, including the University’s commitment to maintaining high standards of integrity, academic freedom and freedom of speech; and

d) be commensurate with the contribution made recognised by the honour or award.

4.2. Care will be taken to ensure that there is appropriate diversity in the pool of individuals selected for honours and awards. In this regard, approvers of awards and honours must carefully consider proposed awards and honours in the context of the full range of an individual’s activities, community, and achievements. Awards and honours must be capable of recognising contributions and service across a broad spectrum.

4.3. In addition to honorary degrees awarded under the Council Regulation, Council may establish University honours and awards to recognise outstanding contributions, distinguished service, and/or exceptional generosity and support to the University.

Honours and Awards

4.4. Schedule 1 lists the approvers, name and selection criteria of honours and awards established and/or approved by Council in furtherance of the objectives of this policy.

Honorary Doctorates

4.5. In accordance with the Council Regulation, Council may admit a person to:

a) an honorary degree of doctor provided Council is satisfied the recipient is a person of probity and shows distinguished eminence in some discipline or branch of learning associated with the proposing faculty;

b) Doctor of Laws provided Council is satisfied the recipient is a person of probity and is distinguished by eminent public service, outstanding cultural achievement, or other significant activities recognised by the University.

4.6. In accordance with the Council Regulation, Council may approve nominations for the awarding of honorary doctorates on the recommendation of the Governance and Nominations Committee (GNC) provided that:

a) where the nomination is for the Honorary Doctorate in Laws, the nomination is supported by a member of the University Executive Committee; or

b) where the nomination is for a discipline based Honorary Doctorate the nomination is by the relevant dean.

4.7. Upon conferral, a recipient of an honorary doctorate is an alumnus of the University.


4.8. Conferral of an honour or award under this policy does not give the recipient any special privileges or any control or responsibility nor must it be used to seek material benefit from association of the name with the University.

4.9. For the avoidance of doubt, nothing in this policy requires an honour or award to be approved if no candidate or nominee meets the selection requirements for the honour or award.

Withdrawing an honour or award

4.10. In the event of a change in the recipient's circumstances (for example, if the recipient comes into disrepute), Council, or the approver, may, on reasonable grounds withdraw an award.

5. Procedural Principles

Processes for Council-approved nominations

5.1. Where Council is the approver, the University Secretary must establish and publish processes for nominating, considering and awarding of the honours and awards listed in Schedule 1.

Additional requirements for Honorary Doctorates and Fellow of the University award

5.2. Nominations for honorary doctorates to Council must include:

a) written evidence of support from the nominator;

b) a one page citation;

c) written evidence of support from a member of University Executive Committee ;

d) a plan for communication and engagement activities with the potential recipient;

e) a summary of the nominee’s achievements; and

f) a nominated relationship manager.

5.3. From the time a recipient accepts an award for an honorary doctorate, the nominated relationship manager, in consultation with the Manager of Protocol, is

a) the key University contact point for the recipient; and

b) responsible for the strategic oversight of the relationship between the University and the recipient.

5.4. Following Council approval of Honorary Doctorates or Fellow of the University awards, the University Secretary informs the proposed recipient of the offer of the degree or award.

5.5. If the proposed recipient accepts the offer of the Honorary Doctorate or Fellow of the University, the University Secretary informs the relevant stakeholders.

5.6. Honorary doctorate and the Fellow of the University of Melbourne awards are conferred at a graduation ceremony or other suitable University conferral ceremony.

5.7. Subject to 5.6, the awarding of honours and awards may be held at appropriate ceremonies or events managed by the appropriate University division.


5.8. Apart from processes established under sections 5.1, approvers of other honours and awards must, for the honours and awards that the approver is responsible, establish and publish processes for nominating and awarding the honours and awards.

5.9. Nominators must include required documentation in accordance with the processes published under this policy.

5.10. Records of actions taken in accordance with this policy must be created and managed in accordance with the University’s Records Management Policy (MPF1106).

6. Roles and Responsibilities






Conditions and limitations


Award University honours and awards




In accordance with this policy and supporting processes


·         Support an Honorary Doctorate

·         Nominate a relationship manager for honorary doctorate recipients


Member of the University Executive Committee


In accordance with this policy and supporting processes


Be the key contact for, and manage the relationship with, recipients of honorary doctorates


Nominated relationship manager


In accordance with this policy


Publish supporting processes


University Secretary or other (non-Council) approvers of honours and awards list in this policy


For honours / awards where Council approves recipients, and Patrons of the University, and in accordance with this policy.


7. Definitions

Coming into disrepute means to lose previous good public or community reputation through actions, speech or associations that are unlawful or criminal, or are widely regarded as reprehensible, unethical, or highly inappropriate. A person may come into disrepute through actions, speech or associations connected with their public or private lives.




University Secretary


This policy is to be reviewed by 13 March 2023.



Approved By

Approval Date

Effective Date

Sections Modified



9 September 2013

9 September 2013



Governance and Nominations Committee authorised by Council

23 June 2016

21 July 2016

New version arising from the Policy Consolidation Project consolidating the University Honours & Recognition Policy (MPF1235) and the University Honours & Recognition Procedure (MPF1255).



19 April 2017

14 June 2017

Revisions to include information on the body responsible for recommending honours and recognition to Council and information about the appointment of Patrons of the University. Addition of policy principles 4.2 – 4.4. Addition of procedural Principles 5.1 – 5.16.


Created in error






30 May 2018

30 May 2018

Removal of (a)- (d) from procedural principle 5.1.


created in error


University Secretary

22 October 2018

01 February 2019

Editorial amendment formatted 4.1 (c)



13 March 2020

13 March 2020

Major revision of policy. Amended all sections except section 3.



9 December 2020

18 January 2021

Revised policy. Amended all sections except sections 1, 4.6, 5.4 – 5.7, 5.8 - 5.10. Inserted new Schedule 1.


University Secretary

4 October 2021

27 October 2021

Amendment to Schedule 1.



15 March 2023

31 March 2023

Amendment to 4.1(b).