Former Prime Minister Helen Clark has been awarded an honorary doctorate.

The degree, from the University of Auckland, is a Doctor of Laws.

University spokesman Bill Williams said Helen Clark would receive the doctorate at a ceremony later this year.

Chancellor Roger France said in a written statement that the degree recognised Helen Clark's "enormous contribution to New Zealand and on the international stage".

"Helen Clark had made a mark nationally and internationally in a way that few leaders can aspire to.

"She became highly respected at home and abroad for strong, principled and intelligent leadership. The experience, knowledge and networks built up in this role will enable her to make a powerful contribution in her new position as Head of the United Nations Development Programme," Mr France said.

Helen Clark graduated and later taught at the University of Auckland before entering Parliament in 1981.