Effective January 4, 2024, this is a new policy.
The University may grant undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees posthumously. Decisions regarding posthumous degrees are made on a case-by-case basis, based on the general criteria below. Any exception to these criteria requires strong justification. Requests to award a posthumous degree should emanate from the collegiate dean’s office and must receive approval from the executive vice president and provost, and from the president. The Office of the Registrar will be notified of decisions regarding posthumous degrees and posthumous certificates.
- Posthumous baccalaureate degree. At the time of death, the student had completed at least 75 percent (e.g., 90 of 120 hours) of the required credit hours toward the degree requirements, at least 30 of which were taken at the degree-granting institution, and was in good academic standing.
- Posthumous graduate or professional degree.
- For graduate or professional degrees not requiring a thesis or dissertation, at the time of death, the student had completed at least 75 percent of the required credit hours toward the degree requirements and was in good academic standing.
- For graduate degrees requiring a thesis or dissertation, the student was near completion of the thesis or dissertation and was in good academic standing. The student's faculty advisor has reviewed the materials being prepared for defense and has found the work to be worthy of the degree. These include PhDs as well as graduate degrees such as the master of fine arts (MFA) or the doctor of musical arts (DMA) requiring a thesis or dissertation that may include artistic, performance, and design components.
- Posthumous certificate. In the event that the student does not meet the requirements described above, a posthumous certificate can be given. The posthumous certificate is prepared at the request of the family and has no minimum credit completion requirements.