Sir Paul donned a sash and robe to collect his degree
Sir Paul McCartney has been awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Yale University in the United States.
The former Beatle had awakened a generation, giving a fresh sound to rock and roll and to rhythm and blues, Yale's president, Richard Levin, said.
"You have pushed the boundaries of the familiar to create new classics," he added, at the ceremony in Connecticut.
A band played Beatles classic Hey Jude as Sir Paul, 65, walked on stage to accept his degree.
"From the energy of I Want to Hold Your Hand to the melancholy of Yesterday, to the spirituality of Let It Be, you have played every chord, touched every emotion," Mr Levin said.
"We admire your musical genius and your generous support of worthy causes."
Sir Paul, who did not make a speech at the event, was one of eight people to receive honorary degrees, including US poet John Lawrence Ashbery.
More than 3,000 students received their degrees at the same time.
"We're very excited Paul McCartney is here; we're all big fans," student Laura Frye told local TV station WTNH.
"He passed by us really close, so we all waved and smiled and took pictures."