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Nominations open: Honorary degrees, Medals of Honour and national honours

20 Dec 2022

Submit your nomination for an outstanding individual to receive one of our University’s highest awards or a national honour

Chancellor Nazir Afzal with foundation day honorary graduates

Each year our University recognises remarkable individuals that have made outstanding contributions to society that embody our values, improve the lives of people in local communities or have created significant impact in their field of work.

Honorary degrees and Medals of Honour are our University’s highest awards and we welcome nominations from current University students, alumni, staff and members of the Board of Governors or General Assembly for these awards.

When thinking about who to nominate in these categories, it’s important to remember that successful candidates are likely to receive their awards in 2024, our bicentenary year. At this time we’ll be celebrating 200 years of education, innovation and positive impact on society with our community of staff, students, alumni, donors and external stakeholders. In this context we’re particularly keen to receive nominations for outstanding individuals who have excelled in ways that link strongly to our core goals and themes and our values.

In addition, we welcome nominations for a range of national honours.

Our Awards and Honours Group oversees nominations for all honour categories. 

Types of honour

Honorary degree

Honorary degrees are the most prestigious awards our University can confer.  As such, it is likely that recipients will have high standing nationally or internationally in their chosen field and, in most cases, beyond their immediate sphere of influence. 

Nominees will be expected to have made an exceptionally distinguished contribution to their field and/or have made an exemplary contribution to public life. 

When considering a nomination account will be taken of whether: 

  • The nominee serves as an example of ambition and achievement; 
  • The merit the award brings to the individual mirrors the merit the conferment brings to our University; 
  • The nominee embodies our University's vision and values.

A connection with our University, the city of Manchester or the North West is desirable but not essential. 

When considering if your nominee meets the criteria for an honorary degree you should reflect on whether the contributions are truly exceptional.  If they could be considered outstanding and are in service to the University, city or region in whatever field, a Medal of Honour could be more appropriate.  You might also wish to consider if your candidate is suitable for a national honour where the nomination could be submitted directly by you to the Cabinet Office. 

For advice on which type of award to put someone forward for and how to draft a nomination to try to ensure the strongest chances for success, please contact the Secretary to the Awards and Honours Group, Deborah Black.   

The University Medal of Honour

The University Medal of Honour is the highest non-degree award bestowed by our University. The award is intended to honour and recognise individuals who have made an outstanding and sustained contribution usually to the work of our University, the city of Manchester or the north-west region. Many types of contributions can be considered including to the voluntary/community sectors, business, philanthropy, the economy, education, the arts, science, sports, etc. 

For the majority of nominees, nominators should set out the nominee’s contributions to the work and aims of our University, city or region and explain why their particular achievements are seen to merit the award of a University Medal of Honour. 

Where the contributions are not directly in service to the University, city or region, nominators will need to make a compelling case for why the nominee should be considered. 

For advice on whether the Medal of Honour is the correct award for the person you are thinking of nominating and on how to draft a nomination, please contact the Secretary to the Awards and Honours Group, Deborah Black

National honours

The Awards and Honours Group will also consider nominations which are made for national honours that you would like our University to sponsor. The number of cases our University does sponsor each year is very small so you may wish, as anyone can submit a case, to consider putting your candidate forward directly for these national awards.

Nominations should highlight how the potential recipient has:

  • made a difference to their community or field of work;
  • brought distinction to British life and enhanced its reputation;
  • displayed moral courage and vision in making tough choices and hard applications;
  • improved the life chances of those less able to help themselves.

The guidance issued on submissions for national honours states that if a nomination is ultimately successful, success will not be immediate and will take at least 12 to 18 months.   Your attention is also drawn to the fact that nominations should be made while the nominee is still active and, if possible, at least 12 months before he/she is expected to retire or stand down.

  • If the name you put forward on this nomination form is considered appropriate by the Awards and Honours Group you will be asked to work up the full nomination, using the appropriate form supplied by the Cabinet Office or relevant professional association.

How to nominate

You can submit nominations for the award of honorary degrees, the University Medal of Honour and national honours using our online nomination form.

If you would prefer to submit your nomination by email, please download a Word version of the form.

  • The deadline for the submission of nominations is Friday, 27 January 2023.

A shortlist of nominations will be agreed by the Awards and Honours Group in February 2023 and it will meet in April/May to determine who will be recommended. These names will then be reviewed by Senate and the Board of Governors.

The names of individuals that will be awarded honorary degrees or the University Medals of Honour will be made public only when the offers have been accepted. You are asked to note that this can take some considerable time (up to two years).

Under-represented groups 

Nominations for individuals in under-represented groups (e.g. women and ethnic minority groups) will be particularly welcomed in all three categories. In the case of honorary degrees, we would welcome suggestions for individuals who have not already received recognition in this way although holding such awards from other universities will not preclude consideration of nominations.

Eligibility to nominate

In order to submit a valid nomination, you must be a current University student, graduate, member of staff or Member of the Board of Governors or General Assembly.


All nominations must be made in the strictest confidence. Nominees and members of their family must not be made aware that their names have been put forward. Should the Awards and Honours Group learn that a nominee has prior knowledge of a submission, the nomination will be rejected, however strong the case.