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Policy on Awarding Posthumous Degrees

Policy Category: Academic

Effective Date: 2/14/2024

Responsible Officer: Registrar

History: New Policy

Responsible Office: Office of the Provost

Location: Link


This policy is intended to provide guidance to Wentworth Institute of Technology (the university) related to the granting of posthumous degrees.


This policy applies to all members of the Wentworth community, students, faculty, staff, and affiliates.




If a student in good academic standing passes away before graduation, the university may wish to acknowledge the student’s accomplishments and ties to the university community by awarding a posthumous degree


Posthumous Degree: Certificates, Certificates of Achievement, Associate, Bachelor's, or Master's degrees for students who have passed away before graduation.

Posthumous Degree Review Team: Representatives from campus departments who meet to discuss all decisions related to the awarding of posthumous degrees. This typically includes representatives from the Provost’s Office, the President’s Office, the Registrar's Office, Student Affairs, and Institutional Advancement and External Relations.


Posthumous Degree

Degrees: If all but one semester was completed, the individual will receive a posthumous degree. The diploma for the degree that the student was pursuing will be prepared in the same manner as if the student had lived. This diploma may be presented to the family of the deceased in a special ceremony, at Commencement, or in whatever manner is deemed most appropriate.

Certificate of Academic Achievement: If the conditions required for award of a posthumous degree have not been met, a Certificate of Academic Achievement may be issued if the student had made some progress toward a degree, as defined by the school of enrollment, or achieved particular distinction during their tenure at the university.

Posthumous degrees are cited using the same style as honorary degrees in digital and print communications.

Awarding for Posthumous Degree: 

  1. Nominations for awarding a Posthumous Degree may be submitted to the Office of the Provost. Such nominations must be made within a year of the intended completion date. 
  2. Requests will be reviewed by the Posthumous Degree Review Team who will issue a decision within 20 business days upon receipt of a request.  
  3. The Registrar will confirm the student’s academic standing and earned credits. 
  4. The submitting party will be notified of the type of degree/award for which the student is eligible.  
  5. A statement regarding the type of degree will be printed on the student’s academic transcript. Certificates of academic achievement will not be noted on the transcript. 
  6. The Registrar will convey the Posthumous Degree in one of three ways: via mail, private ceremony, or at Commencement.  
  7. The student’s name and type of degree will be included in the Commencement program.  
  8. If the recipient is financially indebted to the university, the debt will be waived. 
  9. Requests must be made within one calendar year of a student’s passing. 

Additional Information & Related Documents

Wentworth Writing Style Guide

Interpretation & Revision

Any questions of interpretation regarding this policy shall be referred to the Registrar. They will be the final authority regarding the interpretation of this policy.  

This policy shall be reviewed every three years, however minor changes and updates can be made at any time. 

Wentworth will typically apply the policy in place at the time it receives a report concerning the respected policy. 

Additionally, in instances where two or more policies are implicated, a case-by-case determination will be made to determine what policy will be used.  

Review and Revision History

This policy was drafted by representatives from Institutional Advancement and External Relations, Student Affairs, and Academic Affairs. This policy was reviewed by Cabinet and approved by the President on February 14, 2024.   

This is a new policy.