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Related Policies

Posthumous Degrees

Schools may be interested in conferring a degree posthumously in recognition of a deceased student’s work and as a source of solace to the student’s family.

Should a posthumous degree be conferred, a diploma is made available to the student’s family. A transcript is not produced.

Awarding a Posthumous Degree

The awarding of a posthumous Indiana University or Purdue University degree requires that the deceased student must have completed:

  • 85% of credit hour requirements; and
  • most requirements for the major.

For awarding of a posthumous Purdue University degree requiring a thesis, the following additional provisions will apply:

  • the student must have completed the research to the extent that a thesis, or one or more articles in lieu of a thesis, can be prepared; and
  • the advisory committee must approve the research and results, including a thesis or article(s), and recommend granting the degree.

Requests to award a posthumous degree should emanate from the dean’s office and must receive the approval of the campus vice chancellor for academic affairs and the campus chancellor.

Indiana University Degrees

Copies of the written request, plus the requisite approvals, should be sent to the student’s academic school recorder, the registrar, the campus alumni director and University Ceremonies.  Generally, posthumous degrees are conferred during Commencement season, but not at the main graduation ceremonies. The intent is to honor the student and to celebrate his or her accomplishments in a meaningful way while avoiding an awkward public event that may not be of comfort to the family.

Posthumous degree conferrals vary case by case. Thus, each campus will be responsible for working with the family to determine the time and place for the conferral and for providing pertinent information about the candidate to University Ceremonies. Generally, the president will preside, with the chancellor and appropriate dean in attendance. The president, chancellor and dean should robe. There may be occasions when the president is not able to attend. In those cases the chancellor may confer the degree with advance approval of the president.

Source:  IU Board of Trustee Policy

Procedures for Awarding Posthumous Degrees (USSS-03): https://policies.iu.edu/policies/usss-03-posthumous-degrees/index.html 

Purdue University Degrees

Baccalaureate, Associate, and Professional Degrees

  • A recommendation from the college/school faculty must be endorsed by the dean.
  • The dean of the college/school and/or chancellor of the campus, as appropriate, must submit the recommendation to the provost for transmittal to the president. The names of the candidates approved by the president will be submitted to the Board of Trustees for final action.

Graduate Degree

  • A recommendation must be submitted to the head of the department/school by the major professor only after the requirements specified above have been fulfilled.
  • The head of the department/school must submit a request to the dean of the Graduate School. The head of the department/school may choose to recommend awarding a non-thesis degree instead of a thesis degree.
  • The Graduate Council must endorse a recommendation from the dean of the Graduate School.
  • The endorsement must be submitted to the provost for transmittal to the president.
  • The names of the candidates approved by the president will be submitted to the Board of Trustees for final action.

Source:  Purdue Board of Trustee Policy.  Approved by the Purdue Board of Trustees on March 27, 1998; Reaffirmed on August 3, 2018.

Commendation for Attendance

If requested by the family, in cases where a student does not reach the milestone to be awarded a Posthumous Degree approved by the Board of Trustee policies, a Certificate of Attendance may be produced.

The certificate should be written on IUPUI letterhead or produced with official IUPUI logo with the following language, signed by the Dean of the student’s school and the IUPUI Chancellor.  The certificate will be produced by the Office of the Registrar upon request from the academic unit and will read as follows:

Upon the recommendation of the Dean of <enter student’s school here> and approval of the Chancellor of Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, a posthumous commendation is hereby conferred on <STUDENT NAME HERE> based on his/her attendance at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis.  This commendation is effective <enter date here.>

The Certificate will be provided by the Registrar to the Dean of the School for appropriate delivery to the family.

Approved by APPC, IFC Executive Committee.  October 2014