Appointment of honorary doctors at NTNU

Målgruppe: Medarbeidere Tema: Forskning
Tagger: honorary doctor

NTNU traditionally appoints one or two honorary doctors at each doctoral awards ceremony. Here are the criteria for appointment, as well as information about the selection process and the ceremony.   

Norwegian version - Utnevne æresdoktor ved NTNU

How to propose honorary doctors #

Proposals for new honorary doctors are forwarded through the Department and Faculty by 1 October or the date the Rector has set. State how the candidate satisfies the criteria for the appointment of honorary doctors at NTNU. A brief description of the candidate's career and central works (CV) shall be included. The proposals should be supported by the academic community.

NTNU Honorary Doctors Committee assesses the proposals and gives its recommendation to the Rector. On recommendation of the Rector, the Board of Directors approves who will be invited to become honorary doctors at NTNU.

NTNU does not publish names of honorary doctors before they have accepted the appointment. The proposals and the case processing are excluded from public disclosure, Section 26, 2nd paragraph.

When the names are public, the academic communities are encouraged to use the strategic opportunity honorary doctors provide for profiling and international networking.

It is desirable that the honorary doctors at NTNU over time reflect the diversity of the university's academic communities. See overview of NTNU honorary doctors.

Criteria for the appointment of honorary doctors #

The right to appoint honorary doctors is regulated by Section 3-2 (5) of the Norwegian Act relating to Universities and University Colleges. "An institution that has a right to award doctorates or corresponding degrees may in the same fields award honorary doctorates (doctor honoris causa) for important scientific or artistic contributions or outstanding work for the benefit of science or art.”

The NTNU Board has adopted the following criteria for the appointment of honorary doctors at NTNU:

Important scientific contribution or outstanding work for the benefit of science, or outstanding work for the benefit of art or culture, are conditions for the appointment of honorary doctors. Presence at the appointment is a premise.

In assessing proposals for honorary doctors, in addition to the quality and extent of the candidates' efforts within their field of study, it will also be taken into account:

  • if the appointment promotes NTNU's strategy and reputation. 
  • if the appointment helps to mark what NTNU stands for regarding research at international level and international research collaboration.
  • if the one designated, by academic cooperation and contact with the environment at NTNU has influenced the professional development of these.
  • that the appointment of honorary doctorate over time will reflect the diversity of the university's academic environments.

Norwegian citizens can be appointed honorary doctors if it is motivated by their international contribution.

The appointment of honorary doctors shall be an act of significance, and 1-3 honorary doctors will be appointed each year.

If honorary doctors in the future could be expected to play an important role in contact between NTNU and other institutions this should be of added importance.

Persons who are employed at NTNU at the time of the proposal cannot be appointed honorary doctors.

The Rector appoints an Honorary Doctors Committee. The committee shall have 5 members so that the committee over time reflects NTNU's academic diversity. The members are appointed by the Rector for four years, but in different years to ensure the renewal of the committee.

The committee will be a driving force to find candidates who meet the Board's criteria and to ensure a good gender balance among NTNU’s honorary doctors. The committee shall:

  • ask the academic environment for proposals through the Faculties. The committee may also propose candidates.
  • submit a recommendation to the Rector with proposals for the appointment of honorary doctors.

Guest lecture and doctoral awards ceremony #

The Faculty and academic community who forwarded the candidate proposal, are the professional and social hosts of the honorary doctor. They are responsible for arranging the honorary doctors' guest lecture, which usually takes place the day before the doctoral awards ceremony. The guest lecture can very well be part of a wider academic event.

At the doctoral awards ceremony, the proposer reads the grounds for the nomination, the honorary doctor receives a ring and diploma by the Rector, and returns his/her thanks for the award of the honorary doctorate degree. Honorary doctors often wear an academic gown as do the Rector and the Deans at the awards ceremony.

The night before the awards ceremony, the Rector invites the honorary doctors to dinner at Lerchendal estate. Proposers and representatives from the academic community and university management also participate. Pictures of NTNU's last named honorary doctors, as well as the name of all honorary doctors, can be seen on the 2nd floor at Lerchendal estate.

Honorary Doctors Committee #

The NTNU Honorary Doctors Committee has five members appointed by the Rector for four years. The mandate will be seen in the NTNU Board criteria on the appointment of honorary doctors.


  • Helge Holden, Professor, IE Faculty (2016–2019) (Committee Chair)
  • Monica Lillefjell, Professor, MH Faculty (2016–2019)
  • Karoline Daugstad, Vice Dean of Research, SU Faculty (2018–2021)
  • Ingrid Schjølberg, Vice Dean of Research, IV Faculty (2016–2019)
  • Jørn Wroldsen, Vice Rector, Gjøvik (2018–2021)

Contact #

Kristin Wergeland Brekke, Senior Adviser, Rector’s Office  (Committee Secretariat)

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