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Posthumous Degrees

Process and procedure for nomination and award of posthumous degrees.


A deceased student may be considered a candidate for a posthumous degree when nominated by the dean of the college in which the student was enrolled at or prior to death, and when minimum academic degree requirements have been verified. Posthumous degrees may be awarded at any career level (undergraduate, graduate, or professional).

Requirements for Nomination

  1. A 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. University requirements for earned credits in residence must have been satisfied.
  3. Student must have been enrolled at the time of death (summer excluded), or their continuous enrollment was interrupted by their injury, illness, deployment, etc.
  4. An undergraduate or professional 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 completed an adequate amount of research/work toward a thesis, paper, dissertation, or comprehensive project as determined by the department/program and college in which the student was enrolled. A graduate student who was not required to complete a disquisition as part of their plan of study must have been within 75% of degree completion to be nominated for a posthumous degree.
  6. The college 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 Dean of the appropriate college for consideration and to begin the formal process.
  2. The student’s degree audit file shall be obtained from Registration and Records (undergraduate and professional students) or the Graduate School (graduate students) to verify program/plan and progress toward degree completion.
  3. The Dean of the college in which the student was enrolled will recommend the candidate for a posthumous degree in the form of a formal written request to the Office of the Provost. The request must include the name and ID of the student, the degree/program/plan to be awarded, and the recommended semester for degree conferral. The Provost may choose to present this to the Deans Council for review/discussion.
  4. If supported by the Provost, the Office of the Provost will submit the recommendation to the University President for formal approval. If approved by the President:
    1. The Provost or Dean will notify the Office of Registration and Records to begin the process for degree posting and commencement proceedings, if applicable.
    2. The Dean 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 Office of Registration and Records 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 Dean and Provost and approval of the University President.
  4. The statement "awarded posthumously" will be printed on the student’s academic record, but not on the diploma.

Approved by NDSU University Senate — May 11, 2009

Keywordsposthumous, faculty senate, procedures   Doc ID135598
OwnerMelissa L.GroupAcademic Affairs
Created2024-02-21 09:33:39Updated2024-02-21 09:50:53
SitesNDSU Academic Affairs
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