Shah Rukh Khan, who has appeared in more than 80 movies, was presented with all the doctorate in recognition and his world-wide reach as a performer.
Khan, who has 15.7 million followers on Twitter, received the award from the university’s chancellor the Princess Royal.
His charitable work has included creating a children’s ward in a Mumbai hospital, bringing solar power to rural villages in India and supporting relief funds to assist places devastated by tsunamis.
Khan gave a public lecture attended by many of the association’s 400 South Asian students, as well as community groups, after receiving the degree.
Shah said: “It’s a happiness to be honoured by the University of Edinburgh and tread in the footsteps of so many of earth’s illustrious thinkers, leaders and styles.
“To possess the opportunity to address one of the very esteemed educational institutions in the whole world is a special instant.
“I anticipate the university continuing on its course as a great civic university, demonstrated by its own partnership with India, addressing health, academic and research excellence and social justice.
“I expect that many more of India and South Asia’s brightest minds get an opportunity to learn, believe and grow at Edinburgh.”
Edinburgh’s first Indian student graduated and by the 1920s its Indian student population was greater than that.
India Liaison Office and its India Institute seek by encouraging academic exchanges and research collaborations to expand the relationship of the university there.
Professor Charlie Jeffery, the university’s vice principal, said: “The University of Edinburgh has quite strong ties with India and I am pleased that we are able to recognise the philanthropic work and livelihood of one of the most spectacular stars of world cinema.
“As India’s population and economy grow, so also does the demand for world-class education. Our purpose at Edinburgh will be to develop partnerships and strengthen consciousness that will augment our position as the partner of choice for the Indian knowledge economy.”