Honorary Degrees

Criteria and Eligibility

Submission Criteria

  • Cover letter including:
    • Name of nominee (past nominees may be resubmitted)
    • Nominee’s contact information, including a phone number and email address.
    • Brief narrative (300-400 words) describing their achievements and connection to the campus
    • Doctorate degree nomination: Fine Arts (DFA), Humane Letters (LHD), Laws (LLD), Letters (LittD), Science (ScD)
  • Resume (CV) of the nominee

Criteria for Honorary Degrees

Honorary degrees may be awarded to recognize achievements in all parts of the world. Awardees should represent an appropriate balance between local and non-local, academic and non-academic, and represent a wide diversity of fields of endeavor.

Service or benefaction to the university does not alone justify the awarding of honorary degrees. However, these criteria do not preclude nominees who are CSU benefactors. Personal relationships alone do not justify the awarding of honorary degrees.

Nominees for honorary degrees must demonstrate high moral character, be distinguished in their respective fields, and the eminence of persons nominated must be widely recognized. Nominees must have demonstrated intellectual and humane values consistent with the ideals of the CSU, the aims of higher education, and the highest ideals of the person’s chosen fields.

CSU awards honorary degrees:

  • To recognize inspirational character, excellence, and extraordinary achievement in significant areas of human endeavor that reflect the objectives and ideals of the CSU.
  • To honor meritorious and outstanding service to the CSU collectively or to individual campuses, the State of California, the United States, or to humanity at large.
  • To recognize individuals whose lives, conduct, and significant achievements serve as examples of the CSU’s aspirations for its diverse student body.

The honoree must attend the appropriate CSU function to accept the degree. In case of the honoree's severe illness, a family member must be present to accept the degree. A family member must agree to accept a posthumous degree at an appropriate CSU function.

Limitations on Eligibility 

Honorary degrees shall not be awarded to:

  • Incumbent members of the CSU Board of Trustees
  • The incumbent chancellor of the CSU
  • Incumbent campus presidents of the CSU
  • A person who already has been awarded an honorary degree by the CSU (See list online)
  • All incumbent elected officials
  • Honorary degrees shall not be awarded solely on the basis of past or present employment by the CSU
  • Current faculty and staff, as well as members of their immediate family, are ineligible