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Doctoral conferment ceremony

The doctoral conferment ceremony is the major academic event of the year at Lund University. Ceremonies have been held since the late 1600s, with the ceremony taking place at the end of May/early June. Traditionally, the University's nine faculties together organise the doctoral degree ceremony. At the ceremony, the University bestows its highest honour on those who have completed a doctoral degree and defended their thesis.

The doctoral procession from the Main University Building to the cathedral

    Procession to Lund Cathedral

    At precisely 12:00 p.m. the doors of the main university building are thrown open to the procession in which the doctoral graduands, the promovendi, led by the chief of protocol and escorted by ceremonial officers, make their way through the Lundagård park to the Lund Cathedral, in which the ceremony takes place.

    The ceremony

    The ceremony opens with a speech by the vice-chancellor, which is followed by the conferring of degrees from the faculties that in the past were regarded as the higher faculties, i.e. the faculties of theology, law and medicine. Before the philosophy degrees are conferred, the laurel wreaths are brought in by the 'wreath carriers', nine or more young girls representing the nine muses, who arrive at the cathedral by horse and carriage. After the ceremony, one of the new doctors delivers an oration to the University. The bishop concludes the ceremony with a prayer in Latin.

    Doctor's hat, laurel wreath and ring

    The doctor's hat symbolises both freedom and power. The hat is black and pleated, but in the past has sometimes been coloured. Doctors from the faculties of theology, law, medicine and engineering wear hats. The laurel was Apollo's tree in Greek mythology and in the ancient world the laurel wreath was a symbol of scientific, literary and athletic merits. At the early universities the wreath was made a reward for scholarly efforts. Doctors from the philosophical faculties wear laurel wreaths. The doctor's ring is in gold and represents faithfulness – a symbol of the marriage that has been entered into with science.


    As part of the doctoral conferment ceremony at Lund University, a salute is given for the doctors. Wendes Artillery Regiment assists the University in saluting the jubilee doctors with two shots, the honorary doctors with one shot and the new doctors at each faculty with three shots.

    Photos: 2019 doctoral conferment ceremony

    The 2020 doctoral conferment ceremony was cancelled and the 2021 ceremony was held digitally because of the Covid-19-pandemic. The most recent photos are therefore from the 2019 ceremony.

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