How to Use My Honorary Degree?

How to Use My Honorary Doctorate with My Name?

I hold a few degrees and am about to receive an honorary doctorate. How do I indicate the doctorate with my name? I currently have (Full Name), B.B.A., B.Th., and an M.R.E. The honorary doctorate will be in Theology.
—————-– Marc Coffee

I have just been granted an honorary doctorate. Am I correctly addressed as ‘Dr. (Name)’ now?
—————-– Sandor Green

Dear Mr. Coffee & Mr. Green:
An honorary degree is a great honor, but it is an honor. It is not exactlydegree.

—-#1) Honorary-degree recipients may be addressed as Dr. (Name) orally during the ceremony or in correspondence from by the granting university as a courtesy.

—-#2) But recipients are not addressed orally or in writing as Dr. (Name) by other academic institutions – and not correctly addressed as Dr. (Name) in their professional/personal life. They continue to be addressed orally and in writing with the form of address to which they entitled prior to receiving the honor. E.g., Mr./Ms./Mrs.


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

—-#3) They may use the pertinent post-nominal abbreviation for the honorary degree with their name if they use the words honoris causa with the post nominal for the degree – to note that the degree is honorary, not earned.

—-#4) On one’s resume/CV, honorary doctorates are listed with honors or awards, not as education with your earned academic degrees. In a complete introduction it would be stated that ‘Marc Coffey received an honorary Doctorate in Theology from (Name of Granting Institution)’

The best source on this topic is Academic Ceremonies: a handbook of traditions and protocol by April Harris. Google it.  You’ll find it.  It’s the bible on the use of academic degrees.

– Robert Hickey

How to Use My Honorary Degree?

Use of an Honorary Doctorate with the Honorable?

We have a newly elected official who received an honorary doctorate. She wants to be addressed as ‘Dr. (Name)’ I’ve always followed the rule not to use a double honorific. But to this person, it’s important. (What can I tell you!) How to Use My Honorary Degree?

She is suggesting we use one of these. What do you think?

—-—-The Honorable Dr. Mary Jones
—-—-Dr. The Honorable Mary Jones?

– Anne Lesley How to Use My Honorary Degree?

Forms of Address: How a conversation begins can have a huge impact on how the conversation - even the entire relationship - develops.


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

Dear Ms. Lesley:

__#1) In the USA ‘the Honorable (Full Name)’  is not used in combination with honorifics. We just one thing at a time. So she is:
————–The Honorable Mary Jones

__#2) If she insists that she be addressed as ‘Dr. (Name)’  – in a salutation or in conversation she’d be:
———-Dr. Smith

__#3) Everyone is entitled to have their name be what they want it to be, But recipients of honorary doctorates are not entitled to be addressed as ‘Dr. (Name)’  except at the granting university.

__#4) In the USA – all honors and distinctions would be mentioned on a resume under honors. In an introduction it might be mentioned that she was a awarded an honorary doctorate. See the post at the top of this page on the use of honorary degrees for the details.

You can’t tell that to her of course, unless she asks your opinion. But she’s going to look either ignorant of the correct style (not good for a person holding a doctorate I’d say) – or pretentious – if others know she’s asking to be addressed as ‘Dr. (Name)’ when the degree is an honorary one.

– Robert Hickey How to Use My Honorary Degree


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

When Should You Use the Forms on this Page?

You can use these forms of address for any mode of communication: addressing a letter, invitation, card or Email. (If there are differences between the official and social forms of address, I will have mentioned the different forms.)  The form noted in the salutation is the same form you say when you say their name in conversation or when you greet them.
___What I don’t cover on this site are many things I do cover in my book: all the rules of forms of address, about names, international titles, precedence, complimentary closes, details on invitations, place cards, all sorts of introductions, etc. I hope you’ll get a copy of the book if you’d like the further detail.

Not Finding Your Answer?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  If you don’t see the official you seek included or your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, Sometimes I post the question  – but always change all the specifics.

— Robert Hickey 


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”