The founder member of the Birmingham heavy metal band was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Arts by Coventry University.
He said it was a “great honor” to receive the doctorate and thanked the university for his nomination.
The honorary degree was “in recognition of his contribution to the world of popular music”, the university said.
It recognized “his role as one of the founding fathers of heavy metal music and his status as one of the industry’s most influential figures”.
Iommi said: “It’s brilliant. I couldn’t believe it.”
He planned to head straight from the graduation ceremony at Coventry Cathedral to join Black Sabbath in Helsinki for the start of their latest European tour.
He has sold more than 80 million records worldwide during his career.
Other high-profile recipients of honorary degrees from the university included artist George Shaw, whose depictions of Coventry’s Tile Hill landscape have won him a Turner Prize nomination.