The governing council of Madrid's Universidad Rey Juan Carlos unanimously agreed to give Edelman the degree doctor honoris causa following a proposal by the school's department of communication sciences and sociology.
The awarding ceremony will take place in January.
Edelman will be the first person from an international PR firm to receive the academic honour, a statement from the agency said.
Previous recipients include Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) secretary general Ángel Gurría, and Nobel Laureate in Medicine Harald Zur Hausen.
Edelman, who is also is a commissioner on The Business Commission and a member of the World Economic Forum, will receive the award at an investiture ceremony taking place in January next year.
His agency, which was founded in 1952, was again listed as the world's largest PR firm in PRWeek's 2017 Agency Business Report, with revenue of $874.8m (£675.3m).