The purpose of a posthumous degree is to recognize the academic achievement of an individual who has passed while a student at Claremont Graduate University, and to extend to the University community, family, and friends of the student some measure of solace. This policy is meant to make clear the University’s position, avoid confusion, and empower the academic unit and Provost to award a posthumous degree when appropriate.
To be eligible for the conferral of a Claremont Graduate University degree posthumously, the student must have met following conditions:
For doctoral degree conferrals
- The student had advanced to candidacy and/or has made substantial progress on their dissertation according to the faculty in their program.
For master’s degree conferrals
- Coursework-only master’s programs (without a thesis/master’s paper/capstone requirement): the student was in the last semester of coursework, in good academic standing, and had been earning passing grades in the work completed thus far for the term.
- Master’s programs with a thesis/master’s paper/capstone requirement: coursework had been completed (with no incomplete/outstanding grades), the student was in good academic standing, and a draft of their paper/capstone plan had been presented to their advisor/research supervisor.
- Master’s en route to PhD: the student had previously been admitted to the doctoral degree program in the same field as the master’s degree, and the student is deemed by the faculty in the program to have met the requirements for the master’s degree in breadth and scope of required coursework.
Faculty of the student’s academic department initiates a posthumous degree request by notifying the Registrar’s Office of the student’s passing and by providing a written statement confirming that the deceased student has met the eligibility guidelines above and that the request is supported by the school Dean/academic unit Director. The Registrar’s Office will conduct a review of the deceased student’s academic progress and prepare a summary of the review for the Provost for approval consideration. If the Provost grants approval they will notify the Registrar’s Office, and the student’s name will be added to the degree candidates list for final conferral by the Board of Trustees. If the Provost does not approve the posthumous degree, the school Dean/academic unit Director will be notified.
Upon approval of the award of a posthumous degree by the Board of Trustees the family of the deceased student shall be notified by the school Dean/academic unit Director. The degree shall be conferred at the next regularly scheduled degree conferral opportunity. The posthumous nature of the award shall be indicated on the student’s transcript. No special notation will be made on the diploma.
Depending on the family’s preference, the family may receive the diploma in the mail, or one family member may be invited to accept the degree on the student’s behalf at the next commencement ceremony.