DCU Honorary Degrees - Terms of Reference

Dublin City University Honorary Doctorate Committee

Terms of Reference

Approved by DCU Governing Authority:
Prepared by: President’s Office - Updated 26th January 2022



These Terms of Reference govern the process of nomination and selection of Candidates for the
award of a DCU Honorary Doctorate and apply to all members of staff, students, retired staff, alumni, members of the Council of Trustees of DCU Educational Trust and members of Governing Authority (the “DCU Community”) involved in the process of nomination, or selection, of individuals for this award. Section 3(a) (iii) of the Dublin City University Act (1989) identifies one of the functions of the University (DCU) as follows:

‘... to confer honorary degrees on persons in such manner and subject to such conditions as the
Governing Body, after consultation with the Academic Council, may deem appropriate.’

DCU awards Honorary Doctorates to exceptional individuals (“Candidates”) in recognition of their
outstanding achievements in a field of work that is consistent with the values of DCU and offers
inspiration to the DCU community. DCU’s Governing Authority approves the conferring of an Honorary Doctorate.


Honorary Doctorate conferred by DCU

Doctor of Philosophy, D Phil (Honoris Causa)


Honorary Doctorate Committee

The Honorary Doctorate Committee is a sub-committee of the DCU Governing Authority, and has responsibility for reviewing nominations and making recommendations to the Governing Authority in respect of the award of a DCU Honorary Doctorate to a Candidate.

The Honorary Doctorate Committee membership includes two nominees from Academic Council
who along with the Vice President for Academic Affairs, represent the views of Academic Council in the matter of reviewing nominations and making recommendations to the Governing Authority. The Honorary Doctorate Committee membership is as follows:

▪ Chancellor
▪ President
▪ Two external nominees of Governing Authority
▪ Up to two internal nominees of Governing Authority, one to be the Vice President for
Academic Affairs
▪ Two nominees elected by Academic Council


Eligibility Criteria for Candidates

To be eligible for the award of an Honorary Doctorate, Candidates must be recognised for one or
more of the following:

▪ Distinction in scholarship, especially in fields of interest to DCU
▪ Distinction, and outstanding services, in their profession, or field of endeavour
▪ Outstanding contributions and services to science, the arts, literature, culture and sport
▪ Outstanding services to civil society and the public good, including peace and reconciliation
▪ Outstanding service and contribution to DCU’s mission, and bodies associated with it
DCU does not award Honorary Doctorates to:
▪ Current, or retired, members of DCU staff
▪ Serving members of Governing Authority
▪ Serving National and Local Public Representatives

Honorary Doctorates are not awarded posthumously and only in exceptional circumstances may be
awarded in absentia.


Nomination Process

1. With the exception of current members of the Honorary Doctorate Committee, nominations
may be received from any member of the DCU Community.
2. Nominations must be made in strict confidence and must not be discussed with anyone,
including the person being nominated.
3. Nominations should be addressed to the President of DCU and marked “strictly confidential”.
4. Nominations must be submitted using the DCU Honorary Doctorate Nomination Template
(available from the President’s Office) and must include the following details:
▪ Title and full name of the Candidate
▪ Address/telephone/email details for the Candidate (where available)
▪ Brief biographical profile of the Candidate
▪ Outline of reasons for recommending award
▪ Connection to Ireland and/or Dublin City University (as applicable)
▪ Any other information regarding the calibre of the Candidate which exemplifies the
values of DCU
▪ Name and signature of proposer
▪ Date of nomination

Note: Should a Candidate be approved for a DCU Honorary Doctorate, the nominator will be asked
to prepare a citation to be read at the conferring ceremony, and may be asked to read the citation at
the ceremony.


Submission Timelines

Nominations can be submitted at any time throughout the year; in general, they will be considered at the next scheduled meeting of the Honorary Doctorate Committee.


Schedule of Meetings for the Honorary Doctorate Committee

Meetings of the Honorary Doctorate Committee will be convened immediately before a meeting of DCU’s Governing Authority. In exceptional circumstances only, the Chancellor may convene a special meeting of the Honorary Doctorate Committee to review a single nomination at any time that is appropriate. While it is expected that the Honorary Doctorate Committee will meet in DCU, where it is necessary and prudent, the Committee meeting can be convened at another location, or can be conducted online.

The President’s Office will undertake to:

▪ Schedule the meeting and notify members of the Committee at least two weeks in advance of
the Governing Authority meeting.
▪ Ensure the Committee is quorate – i.e. 50% + 1 - before the meeting can proceed.
▪ Circulate, under strict confidentiality, the nomination papers to members of the Committee
for advance review one week prior to the meeting.


Recommendations of the Honorary Doctorate Committee

Recommendations will fall into three categories:

1. Nominations endorsed by the Honorary Doctorate Committee.
Candidates will be put forward for approval at the next scheduled meeting of the Governing
2. Nominations which the Honorary Doctorate Committee deems should be held for possible
future consideration.
These nominations will be held by the President’s Office for a period of no more than three years. If, in that time, a nomination has not been endorsed by the Honorary Doctorate
Committee, it will no longer be considered an active nomination.
3. Nominations which the Honorary Doctorate Committee deems do not meet DCU’s criteria
for the award.

In this case, the decision is recorded, the proposer is informed of the outcome by the
President’s Office, and any documentation submitted in relation to the nomination is


Conditions of the Award

▪ The awarding of an Honorary Doctorate by DCU is subject to the Candidate’s agreement to
accept the award. The President, or a designee, is responsible for contacting the Candidate
to determine if they will accept the award.
▪ Where the Candidate is willing to accept the award, DCU will either confer the Honorary
Doctorate at the relevant discipline-specific graduation ceremony or, in certain cases, may
confer at a special Honorary Doctorate awards ceremony.
▪ Until such time as the Candidate has indicated his/her willingness to accept the award, the
entire nomination process will remain entirely confidential.


Right of Withdrawal

DCU reserves the right to withdraw an Honorary Doctorate in the event that, through subsequent
actions or behaviour, the Honorary Doctorate recipient brings DCU into disrepute. The decision to withdraw will be made by the Governing Authority, upon recommendation from the President.