A deceased student may be considered a candidate for a posthumous degree when nominated by the academic department chair in which the student was enrolled at or prior to his or her death, and when minimum academic degree requirements have been verified. Posthumous degrees may be awarded at the undergraduate or graduate career level. 

Requirements for Nomination:

  1. The student must have been in good academic standing with the institution at the time of death. Good standing is defined as not being academically deficient for their classification (academic probation, continued probation, suspension or expulsion).
  2. The student must have satisfied the university requirements for earned credits in residence.
  3. The student must have been enrolled at time of death (summer excluded), or their continuous enrollment was interrupted by their injury, illness, deployment, etc.
  4. An undergraduate student must have been within two semesters (30 credits or 75% of degree requirements complete) to be nominated for a posthumous degree.
  5. A graduate student must have been within 75% of degree completion to be nominated for a posthumous degree.
  6. The academic department in which the student was enrolled recommends the awarding of a posthumous degree.

Nomination/Approval Process:

  1. Anybody may identify a candidate for a posthumous degree, but such a suggestion must be made to the chair of the appropriate academic department for consideration and to begin the formal process.
  2. The student’s degree audit shall be obtained from the Registrar’s Office to verify progress toward degree completion.
  3. The academic department in which the student was enrolled will recommend the candidate for a posthumous degree in a formal written request to the Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA). The request must include the name and ID of the student, the degree, majors, minors, and concentrations, if applicable, to be awarded, and the recommended semester for degree conferral. The VPAA may choose to present this nomination to the Academic Policy and Affairs Council (APAC) for review/discussion.
  4. If supported by the VPAA, the VPAA will submit the recommendation to the university president for formal approval.

If approved by the president:

  1. The VPAA will notify the registrar to begin the process for degree posting and commencement proceedings, if applicable.
  2. The President will inform the immediate family of the university’s decision and desire to recognize their student with this honor (this process should be kept confidential until and unless approved at all levels). If the family desires to represent the student and receive the diploma at a commencement ceremony, this must be relayed to the commencement coordinator for planning.

Miscellaneous Details/Considerations:

  1. A posthumous degree will be printed in commencement programs within the appropriate college section. If the family chooses not to participate, this award may still be read during the ceremony (unless explicitly requested otherwise by the family).
  2. If the student had financial debt to the university, this debt will be waived.
  3. Exceptions to the aforementioned minimum requirements may be considered in special cases, with support of the academic department chair and VPAA and approval of the president.
  4. The statement "awarded posthumously" will be printed on the student’s academic record, but not on the diploma.

Sponsor: VCSU President

Effective: May 2014