An ad eundem degree is an academic degree awarded by one university or college to an alumnus of another, in a process often known as incorporation. The recipient of the ad eundem degree is often a faculty member at the institution which awards the degree, e.g. at the University of Cambridge, where incorporation is expressly limited to a person who "has been admitted to a University office or a Headship or a Fellowship (other than an Honorary Fellowship) of a College, or holds a post in the University Press ... or is a Head-elect or designate of a College".[1]

Although an ad eundem degree is not an earned degree,[2][3] both the original degree(s) and the incorporated (ad eundem) degree(s) are given in post-nominals listed in the Oxford University Calendar.[4]

United Kingdom and Ireland

In earlier times it was common, when a graduate from one university moved into the neighborhood of another, for the new university to admit the graduate as a courtesy, "at the same degree" (in Latin, ad eundem gradum). Thus if someone was a Bachelor of Arts in the university that they had attended, they would likewise be a bachelor of arts of their new university. (Not every college extended this courtesy to all other colleges, however.) The practice of incorporation diminished in the early 19th century, but it continues at the University of Oxford,[5] the University of Cambridge,[1] and Trinity College Dublin.[6] At the University of Oxford, incorporation first appears in the University Statutes in 1516, though the practice itself is older: In the 15th and early 16th centuries, incorporation was granted to members of universities from all over Europe. This continued until the 19th century, when in 1861 incorporation was restricted to members of Cambridge University and Trinity College, Dublin. In 1908, incorporation was further restricted to specific degrees from these universities.[7]

A number of female students at Oxford and Cambridge were awarded ad eundem University of Dublin degrees at Trinity College, Dublin, between 1904 and 1907, at a time when their own universities refused to confer degrees upon women and were nicknamed steamboat ladies.[8]

After the foundation of the University of Durham in 1832, Durham made attempts to have its degrees recognised in the ad eundem system, introducing the first external examiner system, with all examinations co-marked by an Oxford academic, to assure the other universities that it was maintaining comparable standards. These attempts were rebuffed by the other universities, and eventually abandoned by Durham.[9] Still, Durham granted graduates from other universities degrees ad eundem until the practice was abolished by the adoption of new university statutes in 1909.[10]

United States

In the United States, the ad eundem Master of Arts as a regularly awarded academic qualification generally dates from the colonial period, and was awarded at a number of institutions including Harvard, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Columbia, and Williams.[11] Harvard first awarded ad eundem degrees in 1714 and continued to do so until the early 19th century.[12] At Yale, the practice was widespread from 1724 until its abolition in 1874.[13] Columbia (then King's College) awarded ad eundum gradum degrees at its first commencement in 1758[14] and continued the practice until sometime during the Civil War.[15] These degrees were regularly awarded until 1884 at Princeton.[16]

Several US universities, including Harvard,[17][18] Yale,[19][20] Brown,[21] Amherst and Wesleyan, follow a tradition that only alumni may be tenured faculty, and in limited cases preserve the tradition of the ad eundem Master of Arts. Faculty of those universities who are granted tenure (or in some cases become full professors) but do not already hold an earned degree from the institution that employs them are therefore awarded an honorary master's degree ut in grege nostro numeretur ("so that (s)he may be numbered in our flock", as these degrees are described at Harvard).[17][18] Yale refers to this degree as the "M.A. Privatim"[22] and at Wesleyan University it is called "MA ad eundem gradum". This tradition began at Wesleyan somewhat more recently, at the commencement ceremony in June 1894.[23] During the 150th anniversary of Princeton University, in 1896, 16 full professors were awarded the M.A. Privatim, though this seems to be a singular event and not an ongoing part of campus tradition there.

At Amherst College the granting of a Master of Arts degree by the college to its faculty occurs even though the college itself grants only bachelor's degrees (AB) to its matriculated students.

At Brown[24] and Harvard[25] the degrees are awarded to those faculty who are granted tenure and the rank of associate professor, while at Amherst,[26][27] Wesleyan,[28][29] and Yale[30] the degrees are conferred only upon those who rise to the rank of full professor. Because these degrees do not involve any further study, most faculty members do not list them on their curricula vitae,[19][20] although some choose to do so given the exclusivity of the degree. Finally, the location of these ceremonies varies. At Amherst, in recent years, the degrees are awarded during first year convocation in August,[26][31] while at Yale it is an "elegant, brief ceremony, usual in February or March."[30] At Brown[32] and Wesleyan,[33] the degrees have been awarded as a part of the annual May commencement ceremony. It is unclear if Harvard has an official ceremony to confer the degree. Although the practice is poorly documented at Harvard, as the last reference to the degrees in the Harvard Crimson is from 1959, some professors, such as Francesca Gino, do occasionally list the degrees on their CVs.[34]

In April 2023, the President of Yale, Peter Salovey, awarded M.A. Privatim degrees posthumously to Reverend James W. C. Pennington and Reverend Alexander Crummell, the first two black students at Yale, both of whom faced numerous incidents of discrimination and left Yale without earning degrees.[35][36]

Other countries

Rhodes University in South Africa uses the term ad eundem gradum to give a student status to undertake a research higher degree based on experience, as opposed to an explicit qualification.[37] In this case the student does not acquire a qualification, but is exempt from an entry requirement. In yet another variation, the University of Sydney may confer an ad eundem gradum degree on a retiring staff member (academic or otherwise) who has had at least 10 years' service and is not a Sydney graduate, though in this case, the Sydney award is at the same level as an existing qualification.[38]

See also


  1. ^ a b Ordinances of the University of Cambridge, Chapter II, Section 8. Incorporation.
  2. ^ "ad eundem". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 13 July 2019. to, in, or of the same rank —used especially of the honorary granting of academic standing or a degree by a university to one whose actual work was done elsewhere
  3. ^ Martha Wright (December 1966). "ad eundem gradum". AAUP Bulletin. American Association of University Professors. 52 (4): 433–436. doi:10.2307/40223470. JSTOR 40223470. by the last quarter of the nineteenth century most colleges abandoned the ad eundem gradum and substituted only the 'earned' degree
  4. ^ "Oxford University Calendar: notes on style" (PDF). 2018. p. 3. Retrieved 13 July 2019. In the case of incorporated degrees, the original degree and the incorporated degree should be shown: eg 'MA Dub, MA Oxf'
  5. ^ University of Oxford, Council Regulations 22 of 2002 Archived 2016-07-27 at the Wayback Machine, sec. 1.7-1.18.
  6. ^ The 2010 Consolidated Statutes of Trinity College Dublin and of the University of Dublin Archived 2017-02-13 at the Wayback Machine, Division - University, sec. 3.(4)(a), p. 157.
  7. ^ Oxford University Archives, A History of Incorporation at Oxford.
  8. ^ "A Timeline of the History of Women in Trinity". A Century of Women in Trinity College. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  9. ^ Andrews, Matthew (12 August 2016). "Durham University: Last of the Ancient Universities and First of the New (1831-1871)". University Histories. Archived from the original on 30 March 2022. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  10. ^ University of Durham (1837). Calendar. Robarts - University of Toronto. Durham.
  11. ^ Wright, Martha (1966). "Ad Eundem Gradum". AAUP Bulletin. 52 (4): 433–436. doi:10.2307/40223470. ISSN 0001-026X.
  12. ^ "No Harvard Charter Ever Gave College Authority to Grant Honorary Degrees | News | The Harvard Crimson". Retrieved 2023-06-21.
  13. ^ "A.M. Degree before the Civil War? | H-Education | H-Net". Retrieved 2022-06-11.
  14. ^ King's College (New York, N. Y. ). "The matricula or Register of admissions & graduations, & of officers employed in King's College at New-York". Retrieved 2023-06-21.
  15. ^ "Columbia University bulletin. 1896-98". HathiTrust. Retrieved 2023-08-07.
  16. ^ SELDEN, WILLIAM K. (1990). ""Honoris Causa" Honorary Degrees at Princeton University, 1748 – 1987". The Princeton University Library Chronicle. 51 (3): 283–290. doi:10.2307/26403802. ISSN 0032-8456.
  17. ^ a b "Honorary Degrees at Harvard: Quick Facts". Harvard University Archives Research Guides. 3 December 2015. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  18. ^ a b Elkins, Kimball C. (1958), "Honorary degrees at Harvard", Harvard Library Bulletin, 12 (3): 326–353
  19. ^ a b Lassila, Kathrin (July–August 2010). "The "private" Yale degree". Yale Alumni Magazine. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  20. ^ a b Mirkinson, Jack (March 23, 2006). "Profs' degrees are relics of old University tradition". Yale Daily News. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  21. ^ Mitchell, Martha (1993). "Honorary Degrees". Encyclopedia Brunoniana. Brown University Library. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  22. ^ [1] Yale University, Office of the Secretary and Vice President for Student Life, Academic Ceremonies
  23. ^ "Commencement Program, Commencement 2021 - Wesleyan University". Retrieved 2022-09-13.
  24. ^ "Encyclopedia Brunoniana | Honorary degrees". Retrieved 2022-06-11.
  25. ^ "University Has Broadened Idea of Honorary Degrees | News | The Harvard Crimson". Retrieved 2022-06-11.
  26. ^ a b "Convocation | Events & Calendars | Amherst College". Retrieved 2022-06-11.
  27. ^ Convocation 2022 - Amherst College, retrieved 2023-05-17
  28. ^ "4 Faculty Honored with MA Ad Eundem Gradum Degrees". Retrieved 2022-06-11.
  29. ^ "Wesleyan University's 189th Commencement | You are cordially invited to join us for our virtual Commencement! We look forward to celebrating the Class of 2021 and their accomplishments. For all... | By Wesleyan University | Facebook". Retrieved 2023-05-17.
  30. ^ a b "Academic Ceremonies | Office of the Secretary and Vice President for University Life". Retrieved 2022-06-11.
  31. ^ Convocation 2022 - Amherst College, retrieved 2023-05-17
  32. ^ "Brown to confer 2,921 degrees at 255th Commencement". Brown University. 2023-06-01. Retrieved 2023-06-07.
  33. ^ "4 Faculty Honored with MA Ad Eundem Gradum Degrees". Retrieved 2022-09-13.
  34. ^ "About". Francesca Gino. Retrieved 2023-08-07.
  35. ^ "Honoring the Rev. James W. C. Pennington and the Rev. Alexander Crummell". Office of the President. 2023-04-22. Retrieved 2023-05-17.
  36. ^ Staff, TheGrio (2023-04-27). "Black men who suffered racial injustice at Yale finally get degrees". TheGrio. Retrieved 2023-05-17.
  37. ^ Higher Degrees Guide Archived October 10, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, 2010
  38. ^ Degrees conferred ad eundem gradum, The University of Sydney, 2007