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Posthumous Degree 4.9-1


Academic & Research
Authorizing Body:
Board of Control - BC
Responsible Department:
Academic Affairs
Applies To:
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Adopted Date:
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A deceased student may be awarded honorary posthumous degree with the approval of the President, and when minimum academic degree requirements have been verified. Honorary posthumous degrees may be awarded at the undergraduate or graduate level.  For deceased students in good academic standing who do not meet the criteria for an Honorary Posthumous Degree, a Certificate of Attendance may be awarded. In rare circumstances, when completing a degree is impossible due to severe (likely terminal) illness, an Honorary Degree of Certificate of Attendance may be provided to a student who is living.

Requirements for Nomination

  1. A student must have been in good academic standing with the institution at the time of death.
  2. Student must have been enrolled at time of death (spring or summer semesters excluded), unless their continuous enrollment was interrupted by their injury, illness, deployment, etc.
  3. A student must have completed three quarters of degree requirements to be nominated for an honorary posthumous degree.
  4. If these requirements are not met, SVSU can elect to provide a Certificate of Attendance indicating that the person was a student in good standing at the time of his/her death.

Nomination/Approval Process for a Posthumous Honorary Degree

  1. A formal request for an honorary posthumous degree can come from a family member or any member of the campus community and should be forwarded to the appropriate dean for consideration and to begin the formal process.
  2. The department faculty in the student’s program of study will be consulted regarding the request to award an honorary posthumous degree. 
  3. The dean or department shall obtain the student’s degree audit from the Office of the Registrar to verify program/plan and progress toward degree completion.
  4. The dean will recommend the candidate for an honorary posthumous degree in the form of a written request to the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs. 
  5. If supported, the Provost will submit the recommendation to the University President for final approval.
  6. The dean will inform the immediate family of the University’s decision and desire to recognize their student with this honor. All steps in this process should occur expeditiously, so that the family can be informed as soon after the death as possible.
  7. The President's Office will notify the Registrar to begin the process for degree posting and commencement proceedings, if applicable.

Miscellaneous Details/Considerations

  1. An honorary posthumous degree will be printed in commencement programs within the appropriate college section. 
  2. Exceptions to the aforementioned minimum requirements may be considered in special cases, with support of the dean and Provost and approval of the President.
  3. All documents shall clearly indicate that the degree was an honorary degree, awarded posthumously.

Certificate of Attendance

Any student in good academic standing at the time of his/her death shall be eligible for a Certificate of Attendance upon the request of a family member or any member of the campus community.  The Office of the Registrar will verify the student's standing and issue the certificate to the family.