Posthumous Degree Awarding - Graduate Students

Honoring Deceased Graduate Students

The following policies and procedures apply in instances in which a graduate student dies before being awarded a degree.

Student Completed All Degree Requirements

If the student has completed all degree requirements, the college or school’s representative (dean, assistant/associate dean or director) will contact the Office of the  Provost  and Dean of the Graduate School to nominate the individual to receive a posthumous degree.

The diploma for the degree that the student was pursuing will be prepared in the same manner as if the student had lived. This diploma may be presented to the family of the deceased in a special ceremony, at Commencement or in whatever manner is deemed appropriate.*

Student Did Not Yet Complete Degree Requirements

If the student had not completed degree requirements but was making satisfactory progress at the time of death, a dean’s certificate honoring the student can be provided by the appropriate academic unit(s). These certificates may be designed and presented in a manner that is fitting to the circumstances.*


In some instances, presentation of the degree or certificate to family members may be made at a remembrance ceremony.