Honorary Awards Procedure

Policy code: CG1996
Policy owner: Director, Strategy, Governance and Office of the Vice-Chancellor
Approval authority: Vice-Chancellor and President
Approval date: 13 June 2024
Next review date: 29 June 2026


This procedure describes the process through which the University will receive nominations and confer honorary awards of: Honorary Doctorate, Fellow of the University, and Emeritus Professor.

The Honorary Doctorate is the highest recognition the University can bestow. Nominations for the award of Honorary Doctorate may be for any person distinguished by eminence in public service or cultural achievement or in service to the University or its communities. Honorary degrees will only be awarded in recognition and celebration of eminent achievement at the highest levels.

The award of Fellow of the University Award will be limited in number and is conferred in recognition and celebration of distinguished service to the University at the highest level. For service to be considered as distinguished, the service must be well beyond the normal expectations of the person’s former role or association with the University.

The honorary title of Emeritus Professor is prestigious and awarded to honour any former Professor of the University who has made a distinguishing contribution to teaching, research, scholarship, the arts or with outstanding service to the University.


This procedure applies to all members of the University community.

Current elected representatives in government in Australia at Local, State and Federal level and current staff, students or members of committees of the University or persons being remunerated by the University are not eligible to be awarded an honorary doctorate or appointed as Fellows of the University.

Legislative Context

  • Federation University Australia Act 2010
  • Federation University Australia Statute 2021
    • Part 8 - Awards, Titles and Honorary Degrees
  • Federation University Australia AcademicRegulations 2022
    • Part 4 - Academic Dress


A complete list of definitions relevant to this procedure is contained within the University Awards Procedure.


1. Nominations

A. Receipt of nominations or potential nominees Council Secretariat
  1. Names for consideration for nomination are received by the Council Secretariat and passed to the Vice-Chancellor and Chancellor for potential Nomination
  2. Formal Nominations under B progress to Review after scrutiny by the Council Secretariat to ensure eligibility.

Note: nominations for current members of University Council, current members of Parliament, or current members of local council will not be considered. Applicants cannot nominate themselves for an Honorary Award.

B. Nominating a candidate The Chancellor/Vice-Chancellor/other Member of Council or on the recommendation of Academic Board or the Professoriate
  1. A nomination of candidate may be made to the Secretary to Council which:
    • indicates the grounds on which the nomination should be considered
    • is accompanied by supporting documentation including relevant biographical information about the nominee if possible
    • contains evidence-based material
  2. Nominations, at all stages of the process, will be treated with the strictest confidence
    • the nominee must not be approached personally about their nomination

2. Reviewing, selecting and shortlisting nominations

A. Reviewing nominations Governance & Strategy Committee and Secretariat
  1. All nominations received by the Secretary to Councilwill be considered
  2. An initial review will consider nominees against the award criteria and any other requirements detailed in the Statute and this procedure
  3. Further information may be sought about a nominee, if necessary
  4. Consider due diligence and risk assessment processes which may include:
    • Contacting referees listed by the nominator
    • Reviewing the nominee’s media and social media coverage
    • other levels of scrutiny, as required
  5. Prepare a preliminary recommendation/report for Council
B Considering recommendation/s Council
  1. Within an ‘in camera’ session, consider the recommendations of the Governance & Strategy Committee
C. Resolving to approve Council
  1. Resolve to approve the nominations it wishes to award, provisional upon confirmation of the willingness of the nominee to accept the award

3. Notifying of decision

A. Notifying successful nominee/s Council Secretary
  1. Take necessary steps to contact the successful nominee/s
  2. Ascertain nominee/s willingness to accept the award offered
  3. Formalise the communication by letter signed by the Vice-Chancellor
B. Disclosing the outcome Vice-Chancellor
  1. After confirmation by the successful nominees of their acceptance, a decision will be made regarding the timing of the disclosure of the outcome

4. Accepting an award

A. Willing to accept the offer Nominee
  1. The offer of the award is formally accepted
B. Unwilling to accept the offer Nominee
  1. The offer of the award will lapse if:
    • the nominee is not willing to accept the award; or
    • the nominee has not responded to the formal communication within six months of the letter being sent
C. Advising others Council Secretary
  1. Advise Council of the outcome
  2. Liaise with award recipient regarding attendance and number of guests (including VIP seating), etc, and advice graduation office.
    • Provide gown measurements for Honorary Doctorate recipients to graduation office no less than 6 weeks prior to ceremony to ensure sufficient time for gown to be made.
  3. Advise appropriate staff of the University, including:
    • Public relations
    • Media and communications
    • Ceremonies/graduations staff

5. Presenting awards

A. Conferring the award Council
  1. The awardee/s will be presented at an appropriate University Graduation Ceremony, unless exceptional circumstances require alternate arrangements to be made
  2. When deemed appropriate, reasonable travel and accommodation costs may be covered
  3. Awards may be conferred in the absence of the candidate or posthumously by specific resolution of the Council
  4. Honorary doctorate awards will normally be conferred in perpetuity
B. Waiving fees Council Secretary/Finance
  1. No fees will be payable for admission to any honorary degree

6. Selecting academic dress

A. Sourcing appropriate dress Award recipients

1.     Honorary doctorates

Academic dress is a maroon bonnet with gold silk cord and tassel and an Oxford style gown of maroon light weight woollen cloth with gold satin facing and sleeves and a maroon wool cloth hood lined with gold satin

2.     Fellows of the University

Academic dress as per Honorary Doctorate gown and bonnet without hood

4.     Emeritus Professors

Academic dress of highest degree

7. Creating and presenting citations and testamurs


Creating citation for:

 - Honorary Doctorate

- Fellow of the University

- Emeritus Professor

Vice-Chancellor’s Office

Vice-Chancellor or nominee

  1. Prepare citation/s
  2. Deliver citation/s at Graduation
    Ceremony and present to the recipient/s

Printing and providing testamurs

Honorary Doctorate

- Fellow of the University

- Emeritus Professor

Graduation Office

University Registrar

Council Secretariat

  1. Print and provide testamurs/certificates (Graduation Stage) (see supporting form)
  2. Collect and provide testamur/certificates to Chancellor to present to recipient/s
  3. Provide extract from Council Minutes with full name of recipient and citation to graduation office to be printed.

Wording for testamurs of:

 - Honorary Doctor

- Fellow of the University

- Emeritus Professor

Council Secretary on the Advice of Council  

8. Accessing entitlements and privileges

A. Attending functions Recipient
  1. Recipients of Honorary Awardswill be invited to Graduation Ceremonies and other important University occasions as appropriate
B. Using the relevant title Recipient
  1. Recipients of Honorary Doctorates are entitled to use the relevant title (honoris causa) in all situations and for all correspondence and cite the official award abbreviation after their name, as long as the title remains valid eg
    • Doctor of the University (honoris causa) HonD FedUni
    • Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) HonDLitt FedUni
    • Doctor of Science (honoris causa) HonDSc FedUni
    • Doctor of Arts (honoris causa) HonDA FedUni
    • Doctor of Business (honoris causa) HonDBus FedUni
    • Doctor of Education (honoris causa) HonDEd FedUni
    • Note: The recipients of honorary doctorates are not permitted, under the Australian Qualifications Framework (Second Edition, January 2013), to use the title ‘Doctor’
  2. Fellows of the University are permitted to use the title outside the University eg [name] Fellow of the University
  3. Emeritus Professors are permitted to use the title outside the University eg Emeritus Professor [name]
C. Accessing privileges Recipient
  1. Holders of honorary awards shall be entitled to a number of privileges, which may include:
    • participation in the University’s academic procession
    • participation in special events such as those run through the University Foundation
    • receipt, at no charge, of University publications
    • use of the University Library
    • noted on the University Register and
    • such other privileges as may be determined by the Vice-Chancellor from time to time
  2. Honorary award recipients shall not, by reason of the office, be a member of the University

9. Revoking an Honorary Award

A. Rescinding an award Council
  1. An honorary award may be rescinded by Council on the recommendation of the Governance and Strategy Committee or Academic Board where Council is of the opinion that the recipient has acted in such a manner as to bring the University’s name into disrepute (Refer Revocation of Awards Procedure)


  • Vice-Chancellor and President, as the Approval Authority, is responsible for monitoring the implementation, outcomes and scheduled review of this procedure.

  • Director, Strategy, Governance and Office of the Vice-Chancellor, as the Document Owner, is responsible for maintaining the content of this procedure as delegated by the Approval Authority.


The Honorary Awards Procedure will be communicated throughout the University via:

  1. An Announcement Notice via FedNews and on the FedUni Policy Central ‘Recently Approved Documents’ page to alert the University-wide community of the approved Procedure
  2. Council Agenda
  3. Academic Board Agenda


The Honorary Awards Procedure will be implemented throughout the University via:

  1. An Announcement Notice via FedNews website and on the ‘Recently Approved Documents’ page on the ‘Policies, Procedures and Forms @ the University’ website to alert the University-wide community of the approved Procedure

Records Management

Document Title Location Responsible Officer Minimum Retention Period
Honorary Award Nomination Form The University’s approved records management system Council Secretariat


Destroy once administrative use is concluded

Fellows of the University Nomination Form The University’s approved records management system Council Secretariat


Destroy once administrative use is concluded

Titles of Emeritus Professor Nomination Form The University’s approved records management system Council Secretariat


Destroy once administrative use is concluded

Report to Council The University’s approved records management system Council Secretariat


Destroy once administrative use is concluded