Academic Traditions at MDU

MDU is Sweden’s newest University, and despite that, several academic traditions, ceremonies and distinctions take place every year.


The Academic Ceremony

MDU’s Academic Ceremony is organised once every two years in honour of the University's new professors and doctors. Prizes and awards will be presented in connection with the Ceremony and new professors will be inaugurated.

There are many formal ceremonies at the University, and a significant one is the Academic Ceremony where the doctoral award ceremony and professorial inauguration take place. The Ceremony dates back to the Middle Ages and is common to all university colleges and universities in Sweden that conduct research. At the Academic Ceremony, the focus is on academic performance and this is what we celebrate.

Doctoral Award Ceremony

The Doctoral Award Ceremony is a solemn occasion for those doctoral students who have completed their Degree of Doctor during the current period (the previous year). At MDU, the Doctoral Award Ceremony takes place in connection with the Academic Ceremony. In addition, an honorary doctorate degree is conferred on those who have made meritorious achievements within their research domain. Those who will be conferred with a doctoral degree walk over the symbolic Parnassus, are welcomed by the Presiding Officer and will receive their laurel wreath or doctoral hat and diploma.

Professorial Inauguration

The professorial inauguration is a solemn ceremony dating from the Middle Ages where new Professors are inaugurated by the Vice-Chancellor and are presented with a ring and diploma. The ceremony is held in conjunction with the Academic Ceremony and the Professors give their Inaugural lectures during the week leading up to the Academic Ceremony.

The term “installation/inauguration" comes from the old ritual of introducing a newly appointed canon to his seat in the choir stall (stallum in Latin). In this way, Vice-Chancellors have symbolically inaugurated Professors by formally leading them in procession to the desk and allowing them to give a lecture.


The insignia are the symbols of the new dignity of the doctors and are presented by the Presiding Officer during the Academic Ceremony. These are physical objects, symbols or emblems that are proof of a position or belonging to an organisation.

At the Doctoral Award Ceremony, MDU’s doctoral students can choose to wear a doctoral hat or a laurel wreath. The doctoral hat symbolises freedom and power. It is always made of black, pleated fabric and has a gold-coloured hat buckle from the University. The laurel wreath was in ancient times a symbol of victory, but in the university world, it is a reward for academic labour.

The honorary doctors receive a ring during the Conferment Ceremony. The doctoral ring is traditionally worn on the left ring finger above the wedding or engagement ring and symbolises the doctor’s loyalty to science.

Vice-Chancellor Inauguration

The change of Vice-Chancellor is a solemn occasion where the predecessor hands over the Vice-Chancellor’s chain of office to their successor.
The Vice-Chancellor’s chain of office is hung on the Vice-Chancellor’s shoulders in connection with the inauguration during the Academic Ceremony. It will then be used on other solemn occasions at the University. The Vice-Chancellor’s chain of office at MDU was made by Odd Myrland, Master Goldsmith, in Kvicksund, and dates from 1995. It is made of sterling silver and the details in the logo are made of 18-carat gold. The chain weighs 700 g and is made up of 39 large rings, 41 small rings and two logos. To achieve the best lustre, the chain has been tumbled, silver-plated and hand-polished.

Prizes and Awards

Honorary Doctors

The title of honorary doctor is conferred on a person who has an important role for us and who has a clear link to our research or education or who has in another way made an outstanding contribution in one of our areas of activity. The conferring of honorary doctors takes place in connection with the Academic Ceremony.


Teaching Prize

The Teaching Prize was established to promote pedagogical development at MDU. The prize is awarded to a person who has made outstanding contributions to education at first-cycle and second-cycle levels (Bachelor’s and Master’s). The prize amount is SEK 50 000 and it may be divided between a maximum of three prize-winners. The prize is passed on to the department, division, or organisational unit to which the prize-winner(s) belong and must be used for the person’s or the group’s educational development. The prize is presented in connection with the Academic Ceremony and the prize-winner must also hold a short lecture about their educational contributions.

All students and staff at the University can nominate a person or group they consider should be awarded the prize. The nominee must be a permanent employee at MDU. A nomination committee will then submit suggestions for winners to the Vice-Chancellor, who appoints the winner

Collaboration Medal

The Collaboration Medal is awarded to someone who has made outstanding contributions to support the University’s collaboration and co-production profile. The medal will be awarded during the Academic Ceremony.

All permanent employees may nominate a person for the prize. The nomination must be accompanied by an explanation or rationale. A medal committee will submit proposals to the Vice-Chancellor for recipients of the medal. The Vice-Chancellor decides who should be given the medal.

Professorship in memory of Alva Myrdal

MDU has established a visiting professorship in memory of Alva Myrdal. The professorship honours Alva Myrdal’s achievements as a researcher, politician and social commentator. The award will be presented during the Academic Ceremony.

The visiting professorship is financed by Samhällskontraktet, the strategic agreement on extended collaboration between MDU, Eskilstuna Municipality and Västerås City.

Alum of the Year

The alumnus/alumna of the year is a former MDU student who is a great role model for the University, the students and the surrounding community. The winners are appointed by the University together with the public and private sectors.


  • The Alumn of the Year must have taken their degree at MDU.
  • The Alumn of the Year must be a good ambassador for MDU and contribute towards enhancing the University’s brand name.
  • The Alumn of the Year must, through their profession or interests, have contributed to the development of the private sector, the public sector or non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
  • The Alumn of the Year must be a great role model and source of inspiration for prospective, current and former students, collaboration partners, financiers and the general public.

Student Traditions

Completion Ceremony

The Completion Ceremony is arranged after each spring and autumn semester. Students who are in their final semester at MDU are welcome to take part in the Completion Ceremony, regardless of whether they have taken a programme or done the equivalent freestanding courses.

This ceremony is a thank you from MDU to all our students who have studied with us.