A doctorate is the highest degree conferred upon a person. These degrees are most often obtained through years of coursework, research and teaching. Many well-known public figures have received honorary degrees at commencement ceremonies. You can apply or be nominated for an honorary degree from a university or college without spending tuition or years in the classroom.

How to Get an Honorary Doctorate

Step 1

Prepare your resume. Make sure you include all of your educational and professional background, as well as any philanthropic work you have performed. You should also include any samples of your published work or honors you have received.

Step 2

Ask reputable sources to write letters of reference for you. These letters should indicate what you have accomplished, as well as their relationship to you and how long they have known you.

Step 3

Decide which doctorate degree you feel your most accurately depicts your personal and professional accomplishments. These degree choices include Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Law, Doctor of Literature and other educational areas.

Step 4

Research from which college or university you would like to receive an honorary degree. Larger, well-known universities are more difficult to obtain nominations and degrees from, since those degrees are usually given to highly accomplished individuals such as former presidents, authors, and humanitarians.

Step 5

Another option is to apply for an honorary degree through a program such as the University of Berkley Online Honorary Degree or the Cosmopolitan University Doctorate Project. You will most likely be required to make a donation to these programs.

Step 6

Contact the university directly for information about the application process and requirements, including the donation amount.

Step 7

Fill out an application, or in some cases, ask a reference to fill out a nomination form for you. Wait for your approval or rejection letter from the university or program. If you are rejected, try again through another university. Don't give up; it may take some time before you are accepted.