Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Degree University

Degree, University, a title conferred on persons who have shown proficiency in arts, law, theology, science, or divinity. In the school of law at Bologna early in the 12th century the teachers of civil law formed themselves into a corporation of "doctores" (teachers) and admitted to it thenceforward those of their pupils who had proved their fitness by examination. In 1151 Pope Eugenius III. arranged that the title of "doctor" should be conferred on those proficient in canon law; and degrees in theology were first instituted at the University of Paris by Peter Lombard. Gradually degrees were also instituted in arts and medicine. "Bachelor," the first degree, usually meant only that the holder had studied his subject a certain time; "licentiate," that he had passed a private examination; "doctor," that he had held a public disputation and was qualified to teach; "master," which replaced "doctor" in the Faculty of Arts, also implied licence to teach, and was given after seven years' study (the period of apprenticeship). The degree of "Doctor of Philosophy" is modern and of German origin. German students, however, do not usually proceed to any degree, though that of "licentiate" in law and medicine still survives in some German universities. Some of these, and some American colleges, have been extremely lax as to granting degrees "in absence" for a fee, and (sometimes) on receipt of a Latin essay, which could easily be written by deputy. Thus, an Englishman in the last century obtained the degree of Doctor of Divinity (in absence) for a certain "Anglicus Ponto," who turned out to be his dog. Professor Mommsen's exertions some years ago stopped this practice in Germany, and it has also been checked in the United States, Besides the old degrees, there are the modern Bachelor and Doctor of Science, Doctor of Letters, and many strange American novelties, e.g. "Bachelor of Architecture" and (at Ladies' colleges) "Mistress of Music." "Lambeth Degrees" are conferred by the Archbishop of Canterbury in accordance with an Act of Henry VIII. transferring the power of doing so to him from the Pope. M.A. is the most usual; of late years it has only been conferred after examination. Honorary degrees - usually in law for laymen and divinity for clergymen - are conferred on distinguished strangers by many universities.