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Mark Twain, wearing the full-dress gown of an Oxford DLitt.

Doctor of Letters (Latin: Litterarum doctor; D.Litt.; or Litt. D.) is a university academic degree.

In the United Kingdom, Australia, India and certain other countries, the degree is a higher doctorate, above the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), and is issued on the basis of a long record of research and publication. The degree D.Litt. is awarded to candidates whose record of published work and research shows conspicuous ability and originality and constitutes a distinguished and sustained achievement. University committee and board approval is required, and candidates must provide documented mastery of a particular area or field. The degree may also be awarded honoris causa to such people the university in question deems worthy.

In the United States, the degree is almost always an honorary degree often conferred on those who have contributed to the humanities and/or society. There are, however, a very small number of earned "D.Litt." programs, the best known being Drew University on the basis of 30 graduate credit hours post-Master's and a dissertation.


Notable recipients of a Doctor of Letters, as an honorary degree, include Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Gordon Brown,[1] Irish musician Enya,[2] former United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice,[3] and the writers J. K. Rowling,[4] J.R.R. Tolkien,[5] and Mark Twain.




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