Ed Sheeran Receives An Honorary Doctorate Degree, But Says Higher Education Isn’t Necessary

Ed Sheeran

After climbing to the top of the music industry in a remarkably small amount of time, singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran has quite a career to be proud of. Along with the honor of having his song “Thinking Out Loud” shatter a streaming record on Spotify, Ed Sheeran can now boast another impressive honor: a doctorate degree.

According to People, Ed Sheeran was granted an honorary doctorate from University Campus Suffolk in Ipswich, England, on Monday. The 24-year-old U.K. pop star was deemed worthy of the degree for his “outstanding contribution to music,” including chart-topping singles and multiple Grammy nominations.

The university has a special connection to Ed Sheeran, who grew up in the close by town of Framlingham in Suffolk county.

“Suffolk is very much where I call home,” he explained to the press. “Receiving this recognition is a real privilege.”

Sheeran accepted that privilege in person, dressed in a colorful graduation gown and a traditional cap. However, no Ed Sheeran look would be complete without his converse shoes and his iconic tattoos proudly displayed. Ed shared the outfit on his Instagram account with the caption, “I graduated today, I am now officially Dr. Sheeran.”

Ed Sheeran in a graduation gown.

Before accepting the honorary doctorate, Ed Sheeran spoke to thePress Association about university degrees, revealing that he believes getting a higher education is not necessarily what every person needs to do to succeed.

“Choose something you love and work hard at it and you’ll be surprised how far you can get. I think there is a lot of pressure among young people. I definitely found it at school. When I was at school it was pretty much like – you do your GCSEs, you do your A-levels, you go to university, you find a job, and then you find out what you want to do. That doesn’t always work out for everyone. I don’t necessarily think university is what you have to do to get a job. I know that’s a weird thing to say coming to receive a doctorate but I think there’s a lot of pressure on kids to go to university, then a lot of them end up in debt with a degree they didn’t really need to get the job they want.”

Ed Sheeran also took the time to mention the fact that many people who graduate with a university degree end up in serious debt, unable to pay off their student loans and often unable to find a job. Despite his criticism of degrees, Ed Sheeran admitted that he wasn’t necessarily the best person to consult on issues of higher education, especially since he’s one of very few musicians to find any measure of success in an incredibly difficult industry.

“I’m not really the poster boy for education and I don’t know if I can give advice on that side of things,” Ed Sheeran said. “I chose something I love and worked hard at it and didn’t really listen to anyone who told me I couldn’t do something.”

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After voicing all of his doubts about the true value of a university degree, Ed Sheeran expressed his gratitude for the honorary doctorate, saying “I’ve had an amazing year with my world tour and this makes it even better… Receiving this recognition is a real privilege.”

Ed Sheeran is scheduled to host the MTV European Music Awards with Ruby Rose from the Netflix show Orange Is The New Black in Milan, Italy.

What do you think about Ed Sheeran earning an honorary doctorate? Do you think it’s a strange privilege for someone who doesn’t think university is necessary?

[Image credit: Ed Sheeran, Instagram; Bobby Bank / David Becker / Getty Images]