DEGREES, academical. Marks of distinction conferred on students, in testimony of their proficiency in arts and sciences. They are of pontifical origin. See 1 Schmidt's Thesaurus, 144; Vicat, ad voc. Doctores Minshew, Dict. ad voc Bacheler; Merl. Rep ad voc Universite; Van Espen, p. 1, tit. 10, c. Giaunone Istoria, di Napoli, lib. xi. c. 2, for a full account of this matter.