Posthumous Degree Conferral


Faculty, staff, and students

I. General Policy Statement

This policy governs the posthumous conferral of degrees to students who pass away while matriculated in, or on an approved leave from, a Syracuse University undergraduate or graduate degree program.

II. Reason for Policy/Purpose

When a tragic event cuts short the life of a Syracuse University student, the family members, friends, faculty and others who knew the student may feel comforted by the conferral of a posthumous degree. This policy provides a framework for requesting, approving, and completing the conferral of posthumous degrees.

III. Policy

A deceased student may be awarded a posthumous degree by the University provided that the following conditions are met at the time of death:

  1. The student was matriculated, or on an approved leave of absence.
  2. The student was in good standing, both academically and with respect to conduct.
  3. The student substantially completed a declared program of study, meaning at least three-quarters of the credit hours and other program elements required for the degree at issue.

The Provost has discretion to approve or reject requests for posthumous degrees. The Provost’s decision will be the final decision on such matters. The Registrar will be responsible for documenting posthumous degrees and issuing diplomas for same.

In general, the University does not publicly award posthumous degrees, for example, at school/college convocations or commencement. At the dean’s discretion, a school/college may memorialize the student and the conferral of the posthumous degree in written materials.

Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this policy, the Provost has discretion to approve or reject any requests for posthumous degrees.

IV. Appendices (as applicable)

    1. Procedures
      1. Requests for Posthumous Degree Conferral
        1. A dean may initiate the request for conferral of a posthumous degree by notifying the Provost of the request in writing and by providing information about the academic progress and standing of the student at the time of death.
        2. In exceptional circumstances, the dean’s request may include justification for another definition of substantial completion of the program of study.
      2. Conferral of Posthumous Degree
        1. Upon approval by the Provost, the Registrar will prepare a transcript showing the student’s completed course work and with special notation indicating posthumous conferral of the degree.
        2. The Registrar will also prepare a diploma indicating conferral of the degree in the declared area of study, with the graduation date noted as the nearest official university graduation date following the student’s death. The diploma need not contain a notation of posthumous conferral.
        3. The Registrar will take care to maintain the student’s records in compliance with state and federal guidelines for the accuracy of graduation data.
    2. Definitions

“Good standing” – This term means that a student is not on academic warning, probation, or suspension, and all matters pending before the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities or the Academic Integrity Office have been fully and finally resolved (including, but not limited to, full satisfaction of any sanctions imposed).

“Substantially completed” – This term means at least three-quarters of the credit hours and other program elements required for the degree at issue.

  1. Forms
    1. None
  2. Other Related Policies and Documents
    1. Course Catalog
  3. Frequently Asked Questions
    1. Does this policy apply retroactively?
      1. No. This policy is effective as of August 29, 2016, and only applies on a going-forward basis from that date.
    2. I have additional questions about this policy, who should I contact?
      1. For additional information about this policy, contact your school/college dean, or the Office of the Provost.

Date Created: May 2017