The 30-year-old received the honorary degree of Doctor of Science (DSc) for his outstanding contribution to sport.
He was presented with the accolade by Chancellor James Nesbitt during Wednesday's graduation ceremony at the Belfast Waterfront Hall.
"It is certainly very different from what I am used to," said Tommy.
"Obviously I am hugely honoured. It was a bit of a shock and certainly the boys in the squad were having a right laugh at me about it, but I am proud to be here in my gown and to enjoy this great day."
Other sportsmen were also recognised by the university this week, as Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers and Champion Jockey, AP McCoy, also received doctorates.
"It is unbelievable. To hear that those two guys were here earlier in the week and for me to be put alongside those two is pretty special," Bowe added.
Bowe is a graduate of the University of Ulster's School of the Built Environment.
The Head of that School, Greg Lloyd said his students look up to the athlete.
He said: "Tommy is an absolutely fantastic sportsman and a wonderful example to the many other young people who are graduating today about the skills and disciplines that he has brought to bear on his life.
"We are very proud to acknowledge him."