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Makerere University Deputy Vice Chancellor Discusses Distinction Between Honorary Doctorate and PhD Titles

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makerere university deputy vice chancellor discusses distinction between honorary doctorate and phd titles
makerere university deputy vice chancellor discusses distinction between honorary doctorate and phd titles
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In a recent address at the 27th Annual International Management Conference of Makerere University Business School in Kampala, Prof Umar Kakumba, the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, expressed concerns regarding the use of the title “doctor” by some individuals who hold honorary doctorate degrees. He emphasized that this title should primarily be reserved for those who have earned a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) through rigorous academic work.

Honorary doctorate degrees are typically granted by educational institutions to individuals who have made significant contributions to society, and they do not necessarily involve an academic journey. Prof Kakumba believes that it is important for the public to distinguish between those who hold genuine PhDs and those who have received honorary doctorates.

He explained, “A PhD is a highly respected academic achievement worldwide. Nowadays, we see people referring to themselves as ‘Doctor,’ even those who have paid fees ranging from $2,000 to $3,000 in certain colleges in North America and Latin America to receive honorary degrees. They are given these degrees as honorariums and wear ceremonial gowns, but often they don’t fully understand the significance. They might use ‘Doctor’ before their names and, in parentheses, add ‘PhD,’ although they have been awarded an honoris causa degree. It’s crucial that we educate them about the distinction.”

Prof Kakumba emphasized that Makerere University, with its century-long history, has the moral authority to provide public education on this matter and to ensure that due credit is given to those who have academically earned the title of “Doctor of Philosophy.”