thumbnail Honours for leading academics

We've recognised outstanding individuals by awarding honorary degrees to Professors Dorothy Bishop, Dame Sally Davies, Martha Nussbaum, Keith Wrightson and Sir Mark Walport.

Dorothy Bishop (Honorary Doctor of Science) (pictured) is among the leading psychologists of her generation. A specialist in the development of language in children, she was responsible for a series of assessments for children with speech and language difficulties that have fundamentally changed the way that practitioners and researchers work with children across the world.

Dame Sally Davies (Honorary Doctor of Civil Law) is the Chief Medical Officer for England, Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department of Health and Director of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). She was instrumental in establishing the NIHR, which has led to a dramatic change in the way the NHS funds research.

Professor Martha Nussbaum (Honorary Doctor of Civil Law) is one of the world's foremost philosophers. She is best known for the development of the ‘capabilities approach’, an influential theory of social and global justice. She has written on a wide range of subjects including ethics, feminism, law and literature, and is regarded as a world-leading authority on ancient Greek and Roman philosophy.  

Sir Mark Walport (Honorary Doctor of Civil Law) has been the UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser since April 2013. Before that, for 10 years he was Director of the Wellcome Trust, one of the largest funders of medical research in the world. While at Wellcome, he led the funding of research projects on the human genome, and championed open access to scientific research.

Professor Keith Wrightson (Honorary Doctor of Letters) is arguably the leading early modern British historian in the world. In a career spanning four decades, he has transformed the study of social and economic history with major publications that are compulsory reading for any student of the subject.  A native of County Durham, Professor Wrightson has used the North East of England as a case study to chart the development of Britain’s modern industrial society.

The honorary degrees were presented by the Chancellor of Newcastle University, Sir Liam Donaldson, during the summer Congregation period.


published on: 18th July 2013

Key Facts:

  • Newcastle University is a Russell Group University
  • Ranked in the top 1% of universities in the world (QS World University Rankings 2014)
  • Ranked 16th in the UK for global research power (REF 2014)
  • Ranked 10th overall in the UK and 3rd for quality of staff/lecturers in the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2015
  • Winner: Outstanding Leadership and Management Team and Outstanding Procurement Team, Times Higher Leadership and Management Awards 2015
  • Amongst our peers Newcastle is:
    • Joint 6th in the UK for student satisfaction
    • Ranked 1st in the UK for Computing Science research impact, 3rd in the UK for Civil Engineering research power and 11th in the UK for Mathematical Sciences research (REF 2014)
    • Ranked 8th in the UK for Medical and Life Sciences research quality (REF 2014)
    • Ranked 3rd in the UK for English, and in the top 12 for Geography, Architecture and Planning, and Cultural and Media Studies research quality (REF 2014)
    • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) top 20 strategic partner
  • 94% of our students are in a job or further training within six months of graduating
  • We have a world-class reputation for research excellence and are spearheading three major societal challenges that have a significant impact on global society. These themes are: Ageing, Sustainability, and Social Renewal
  • Newcastle University is the first UK university to establish a fully owned international branch campus for medicine at its NUMed Campus in Malaysia which opened in 2011
  • 90% Satisfaction level from our international students (ISB 2014)
  • Newcastle University Business School is one of 21 Triple Accredited Business Schools in the UK