Ad eundem degree

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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]

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.[8]

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, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Columbia, and Williams.[9] It faded out gradually, sometime during the Civil War at Columbia, in 1874 at Yale,[10] and in 1884 at Princeton.[11]

Several US universities, including Harvard,[12][13] Yale,[14][15] Brown,[16] 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).[12][13] Yale refers to this degree as the "M.A. Privatum"[17] and at Wesleyan University it is called "MA ad eundem gradum". This tradition began at Wesleyan somewhat more recently, in 1894.[18]

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[19] and Harvard[20] the degrees are awarded to those faculty who are granted tenure and the rank of associate professor, while at Amherst,[21] Wesleyan,[22] and Yale[23] 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,[14][15] although some choose to do so given the exclusivity of the degree. Finally, the location of these ceremonies varies. At Amherst, the degrees are awarded during first year convocation in August,[21] while at Yale it is an "elegant, brief ceremony, usual in February or March."[23] During the 150th anniversary of Princeton University, 16 full professors were awarded the M.A. Privatum, though this seems to be a singular event and not an ongoing part of campus tradition there.[24] At Wesleyan, in recent years, the degrees have been awarded as a part of the annual May commencement ceremony.[25]

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.[26] 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.[27]

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, 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. ^ Wright, Martha (1966). "Ad Eundem Gradum". AAUP Bulletin. 52 (4): 433–436. doi:10.2307/40223470. ISSN 0001-026X.
  10. ^ "A.M. Degree before the Civil War? | H-Education | H-Net". Retrieved 2022-06-11.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ a b "Honorary Degrees at Harvard: Quick Facts". Harvard University Archives Research Guides. 3 December 2015. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  13. ^ a b Elkins, Kimball C. (1958), "Honorary degrees at Harvard", Harvard Library Bulletin, 12 (3): 326–353
  14. ^ a b Lassila, Kathrin (July–August 2010). "The "private" Yale degree". Yale Alumni Magazine. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  15. ^ a b Mirkinson, Jack (March 23, 2006). "Profs' degrees are relics of old University tradition". Yale Daily News. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  16. ^ Mitchell, Martha (1993). "Honorary Degrees". Encyclopedia Brunoniana. Brown University Library. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  17. ^ [1] Yale University, Office of the Secretary and Vice President for Student Life, Academic Ceremonies
  18. ^ "Commencement Program, Commencement 2021 - Wesleyan University". Retrieved 2022-09-13.
  19. ^ "Encyclopedia Brunoniana | Honorary degrees". Retrieved 2022-06-11.
  20. ^ "University Has Broadened Idea of Honorary Degrees | News | The Harvard Crimson". Retrieved 2022-06-11.
  21. ^ a b "Convocation | Events & Calendars | Amherst College". Retrieved 2022-06-11.
  22. ^ "4 Faculty Honored with MA Ad Eundem Gradum Degrees". Retrieved 2022-06-11.
  23. ^ a b "Academic Ceremonies | Office of the Secretary and Vice President for University Life". Retrieved 2022-06-11.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ "4 Faculty Honored with MA Ad Eundem Gradum Degrees". Retrieved 2022-09-13.
  26. ^ Higher Degrees Guide Archived October 10, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, 2010
  27. ^ Degrees conferred ad eundem gradum, The University of Sydney, 2007