UNC Charlotte Academic Policy: Posthumous Degrees and Degrees in Memoriam

I. Introduction

To provide families of deceased students with a meaningful acknowledgement of the student’s accomplishments and legacy while, at the same time, balancing the need for and upholding academic and institutional integrity in the awarding of degrees, University policy provides for the awarding of a Posthumous award of a Degree or Degree in Memoriam to students if, at the time of their death, they had not completed degree requirements but the conditions specified below are satisfied.

II. Policy Statement

Posthumous Degrees

A Posthumous Degree is a regular UNC Charlotte degree that is included as part of the University’s official count of degrees, but is awarded posthumously.

For undergraduate degrees and certificates: Any student who at the time of death was in good standing in an undergraduate degree or certificate program and had at least 90 credit hours toward a degree or 75% of credit hours toward a certificate at UNC Charlotte shall, upon recommendation by the faculty of the college and approval by the University faculty, be awarded the degree or certificate posthumously.

For graduate degrees and certificates: Any student who at the time of death was in good standing in a graduate degree program and had completed approximately two-thirds of the requirements toward a graduate degree or certificate at UNC Charlotte shall, upon recommendation by the faculty of the program and approval by the University faculty, be awarded the degree posthumously.

Degrees in Memoriam

A Degree in Memoriam is a recognition provided to honor a deceased student’s progress toward the degree. The Degree in Memoriam is not included in the official count of degrees.

For undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates:  Any student who was in good standing at the University at the time of his or her death and who does not meet the requirements necessary to be awarded a posthumous degree may be awarded a Degree in Memoriam.  Degrees in Memoriam will read “Bachelor of Arts in Memoriam,” “Bachelor of Science in Memoriam,” “Master of Arts in Memoriam,” “Doctor of Philosophy in Memoriam,” etc., depending upon the degree the student was pursuing at the time of death.  Undergraduate students in University College will be awarded the “Bachelor of Arts in Memoriam.”

III. Definitions

  • College – An academic unit of the University.  Each of the seven discipline-based colleges at UNC Charlotte represents an organization of related departments. 
  • Degree – Diploma or title awarded to a student who completed a prescribed course of study.
  • Faculty – The members of the teaching and research body staff of UNC Charlotte.  Faculty may hold the rank of professor, associate professor, assistant professor, instructor, lecturer, research associate, research assistant, or the equivalent of any of these academic ranks.
  • Posthumous Degree or Certificate A regular UNC Charlotte degree or certificate that is included as part of the University’s official count of degrees, but is awarded posthumously.
  • Degree in Memoriam - A recognition provided to honor a deceased student’s progress toward the degree. The Degree in Memoriam is not included in the official count of degrees.

IV. Policy Contact(s)

V. History

  • Established: April 17, 1975 (for undergraduate degrees)
  • Established: May 5, 1988 (for graduate degrees)
  • Revised: March 26, 2015
  • Revised: October 25, 2018 [added Certificates and Degrees in Memoriam]

VI. Related Policies, Procedures and Resources

VII. Frequently Asked Questions

  • Which students are covered under this policy? 
    This policy applies to all students at UNC Charlotte.
     
  • Are there requirements around what percentage of the degree the student had earned at UNC Charlotte in order to eligible for a posthumous degree? 
    Yes, posthumous degrees are held to the SACSCOC standard of all degrees awarded, including the requirement that for undergraduate degrees "at least 25% of the credit hours required for the degree are earned through instruction offered by the institution awarding the degree."  For the graduate level, at least 1/3 of the credit hours required for a graduate degree must be earned through the institution. 
     
  • What is "good standing?"
    Good academic standing is defined for undergraduates in the UNC Charlotte Academic Policy: Academic Standing and for graduate students in the UNC Charlotte Graduate Catalog
     
  • For graduate posthumous degrees, how are requirements measured? 
    Total research productivity, student progress toward their thesis/dissertation, and overall student progress toward degree is determined by the Graduate School in consultation with the advisor and any faculty member(s) associated with the student who can provide information on student progress.   
     
  • In what ways can a posthumous degree be awarded the family of a deceased student? 
    Posthumous degrees can be sent to the family of a deceased student or presented in person on campus, based on the wishes of the family.  Please refer to the UNC Charlotte Academic Procedure: Posthumous Degrees