It is the policy of the University not to confer degrees indiscriminately. On rare occasions, a student who has completed all or nearly all of the requirements for a degree meets an untimely death through accident or illness before the degree is conferred. In such cases, it may be appropriate that students be recognized for their work by means of conferring a degree posthumously.



A petition is initiated by the student’s college dean.  The college dean will provide a recommendation along with a verification of the student’s academic standing and degree progress before forwarding the petition via the Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education (for undergraduate degrees) or the Dean of the Graduate School (for graduate degrees).  The petition is then forwarded on to the President for approval.

If approved, the President will notify the Vice President and Dean for Undergraduate Education or the Dean of the Graduate School (whichever is appropriate).  In the case of undergraduate degrees, the college dean will notify the Registrar’s Office; in the case of graduate degrees, the Dean of the Graduate School will notify the Registrar’s Office.  The Registrar’s Office will obtain the appropriate diploma and forward it to the college dean, or Dean of the Graduate School, as appropriate, for presentation.  The official commencement program will include the student’s name with the annotation that the degree was conferred posthumously.  The student’s record will be similarly annotated.

Approved:  President Jordan (12-11-87)
Revised and Effective:  President Spanier (7-15-96)
Revised:  ACUE (3-14-02)
Revised:  Editorial (6-5-06)

The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. Please consult a Penn State academic adviser for more detailed information. Penn State is an affirmative action, equal opportunity university.