Human Resources

University Honorary Status

Information on new nominations and reviews of University Honorary status in the College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine.

Honorary Status of the University is intended to honour persons who have rendered appreciable public service to the University, probably over a number of years, but not excluding those whose contribution has been particularly significant, although over a shorter period. Honorary Status may not be awarded to University employees.

Most Honorary Status titles are subject to three-yearly review by the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine Academic Staff Promotions and Honorary Status Committee.

Queries regarding Honorary Status should be directed to the College HR team:

How to Apply For Honorary Status

To apply for Honorary Status the New Nomination for Honorary Status Form should be completed and sent, along with a copy of the individual’s Curriculum Vitae (CV) (the CV should be restricted to 2-3 pages), to the School/Deanery Office.

The 'Head of Division/Unit' section of the authorisation part of the form must be signed by the Head of the University of Edinburgh department who is nominating you for the award of honorary status. We are unable to accept signatures from anyone employed by en external organisation.

The Office will then arrange for the Head of School/Dean/Head of College to sign and approve the nomination and will then forward this to HR for processing.

If you are unsure of how to contact your School/Deanery Office, please submit your application to the College HR team in the first instance.



Please note that the most senior levels of honorary status (Honorary Professor and Honorary Reader) are managed through the College Promotions process. For Nominations and reviews of Honorary Professors and Honorary Readers, please see the promotions section.

Reviews of Honorary Status

For reviews of Honorary Status the Review of Honorary Status Form should be completed and submitted as above.

Honorary Status Titles Awarded to Clinical Staff

Under the terms of their NHS contracts with the Trusts or Boards all consultants are expected to participate in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and to avail themselves of opportunities for clinical research.

When the research or teaching they do contributes to the aims of the University, the consultant may be offered honorary academic status, appropriate to the nature and extent of their contribution, as either Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer or Honroary Clinical Tutor as below.

Clinical staff below consultant level may be offered the title of Honorary Clinical Tutor or Honorary Clinical Fellow as appropriate below.

Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer

Honorary Clinical Senior Lectureships are normally awarded to consultants or SAS doctors who are playing, or who wish to play, a major role in the work of the University, usually through active and frequent participation in undergraduate or postgraduate teaching, or supervision for higher degrees.

In district hospitals and clinical divisions with relatively restricted teaching duties, or in general practices, this title will normally be given to the consultant, or practice principal, who accepts responsibility for the organisation of teaching in that hospital, department or practice, and who is prepared to oversee the education of the students attached there. At its discretion, the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine Academic Staff Promotions and Honorary Status Committee may also recommend this title for consultants with special administrative responsibilities in NHS laboratories or units.

Honorary Clinical Tutor

This title may be awarded to NHS Clinical Staff, General Practitioners, Nursing staff or others working in a clinical setting, who act as tutors and who regularly teach and organise day to day teaching programmes in clinical units taking medical students.

Honorary Clinical Fellow

This title is offered to Clinical Staff below consultant level who are carrying out significant teaching or research within the University. This status is not offered to Foundation Year Doctors.

Honorary Clinical Fellow (FY Doctor)

This title is offered to Foundation Year Doctors only who are carrying out teaching or research within the University. This status is awarded for two years or until the end of the individual's FY programme and is not eligible for review. However the individual can apply for a different honorary status title if association is continued following the end of the Foundation Year programme.

Honorary Status Titles Awarded To Non-Clinical Staff

Honorary Fellow

In the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine this title may be offered:

  1. to individuals working in areas associated with the College’s teaching or research
  2. to Medical or dental practitioners who are not employed by a Health Board
  3. to recently retired members of the University’s honorary or academic staff

In each case the title is offered in recognition of a significant contribution in teaching or research to the work of the University, for example, an annual course of lectures, supervision of graduate students, or a major contribution to research in collaboration with University staff.

Honorary Lecturer

The College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine Academic Staff Promotions and Honorary Status Committee may recommend this title, occasionally, for non-medical teachers holding senior appointments with the NHS or other authorities who are playing, or who wish to play, a major role in the work of the University, usually through active and frequent participation in undergraduate or postgraduate teaching, or supervision for higher degrees.

The individual would be expected to have the skills and experience equivalent to those of permanent appointees to Lecturer posts at UE08 or UE09.

Senior Honorary Status Titles (Clinical & Non-Clinical)

Honorary Professors (Clinical & Non-Clinical)

Nominations and review of Honorary Professors take place through the annual promotions process.

This title may only be conferred on individuals who are not members of the University’s staff, and are of sufficiently high academic distinction that, were they University of Edinburgh employees, they would be credible candidates for the award of a Personal Chair.

They may hold Directorships of, or lead major research teams in, organisations with which the University has a close working relationship in research (such as Associated Institutions) or hold similar positions in local organisations with which the University has close working relationships in the areas of teaching or research infrastructure.

As part of the annual academic promotions round, existing Honorary Professorships are reviewed and proposals are made for their renewal where appropriate.

New nominations are sought, and submitted to the College Promotions Committee for discussion and, if deemed appropriate are approved. Honorary Professors are not paid by the University of Edinburgh.

The rights and obligations of holders of the title of Honorary Professor

Holders are entitled to the use of the courtesy title of ‘Professor’. It should be noted that Honorary Professors are not established chairs or personal chairs and consequently Honorary Professors may indicate their title designation as e.g. “Professor J.T Smith, Honorary Professor” but NOT “Professor J.T Smith, Professor of Experimental Cardiology”

The title confers no specific rights or privileges, other than the right to receive official University publications (e.g. Calendar, Diary, Bulletin) and to take part in such ceremonial and social functions as may be decided.

The title carries with it no obligations on the bearers, other than that of making themselves available, so far as in their own judgement is possible, for consultation by University colleagues. In the event of the bearer leaving Edinburgh to take up another appointment and severing connections with this University, the Honorary Professorship will lapse immediately.

Honorary Clinical Readers (Clinical only)

Individuals awarded the title of Honorary Clinical Reader are expected to meet the same criteria as members of University staff being awarded the substantive title of Reader. Nominations and review take place through the annual promotions process.

The title of Reader is conferred on an individual to recognise specific research achievement within a broader academic role. A Reader will be required to demonstrate a high level of excellence in research with an international profile.

There should be clear evidence that the Reader’s research is growing in quality, volume and impact. Examples of how this may be evidenced are as follows:

  1. a substantial track record of research activity and publications of high quality and impact including books, chapters and articles
  2. a significant record of success in securing research grants and awards
  3. a substantial track record of invitations to present papers at prestigious national and international conferences
  4. successful knowledge transfer from research, in the form of patents, licenses and spin-out companies
  5. editorships or membership of editorial boards of learned journals
  6. evidence of regular requests to referee the work of other scholars for prestigious journals
  7. membership of national and international bodies relevant to the research field, especially where membership carries some mark of esteem
  8. contribution to the work of professional societies in significant roles
  9. substantial evidence of citations by other researchers and practitioners
  10. evidence of significant achievements in one’s field through the receipt of prestigious prizes and awards
  11. notable contributions to the public understanding of research
  12. where appropriate, evidence of innovation and leadership in clinical service

Honorary Professorial Fellow

This title is awarded in conjunction with Emeritus Professor Status to retired staff members who have previously held a Chair within the University of Edinburgh.

The conferment of the title of Honorary Professorial Fellow on a retiring Professor is a mark of respect by a College for an individual’s achievements as well as an indication of the continuing association that is anticipated. Honorary Professorial Fellows will normally have an active role to play in the College and School with which they are associated. The type of activities in which they are involved will depend on the arrangements agreed locally with the College and School. However they are likely to include some or all of the following: a) Continued research and publication in their area(s) of expertise; b) Acting as an ‘ambassador’ for the College and the University in the wider community; c) Playing a supporting role in events, such as seminars and conference organised by the School or College.

Other addition contributions, less frequently and at a modest level may be: Contributing to teaching and lecturing; Setting and marking of examinations; Supporting students, particularly postgraduate students. This title may not be offered to University employees.

Policy For The Award Of University Honorary Status

The University's policy for the award of honorary status can be found at the following link: