III-7.30 - POLICY ON THE AWARD OF POSTHUMOUS DEGREES

(Approved by the Board of Regents, December 1, 2006)



I.  Purpose.

The University System of Maryland recognizes that its
degree-granting institutions may seek to extend sympathy and compassion to
families of deceased students near completion of their degrees and to recognize
the academic achievement of these students who would have fulfilled the
requirements of the degree.  It is critical, however, that these actions are 
balanced appropriately with attention to academic and institutional integrity.

II. Policy.

No institution in the USM is required to award posthumous
degrees.  Those that do, however, will
make decisions regarding such awards on a case-by-case basis using the
following criteria. 

  A. For the Posthumous Baccalaureate Degree.
     The student was a senior in his/her final semester of coursework.  At the
     time of death, the student was enrolled in courses that would have completed
     the degree requirements.  It is likely that the student would have passed 
     the courses with an acceptable grade and would likely have fulfilled the 
     requirements of the degree.

  B. For the Posthumous Graduate Degree.

    1. For graduate degrees not requiring a thesis or dissertation, the student was at the
       time of death enrolled in courses that would have completed the degree
       requirements.  It is likely that the student would have passed the courses 
       with an acceptable grade and would likely have fulfilled the requirements of the degree.
    2. For graduate degrees requiring a thesis or dissertation, the student had completed
       all course requirements and was near completion of the thesis or dissertation. The 
       student's committee has reviewed the most recent draft of the thesis or dissertation 
       and has found it to be worthy of the degree.  These include graduate degrees such 
       as the master of fine arts (MFA) or the doctor of musical arts (DMA) requiring a 
       thesis or dissertation that may include artistic, performance, and design components. 
 
In addition, the institution shall take into account whether
the student has engaged in serious criminal activity or misconduct.

III. Procedure.

A formal request may be initiated by any of the following: a family member, the 
student's academic dean or department, or the chair of the student's 
graduate committee.  If the request is not made by a family member, the 
family should be contacted and found to be receptive of the possible award.

The student's academic department and appropriate student academic services 
offices certify that the student would have satisfied all of the criteria for 
award of the degree.

The dean or division head responsible for the student's
academic department or the dean of the graduate school in the case of a
graduate student shall forward a recommendation to the provost/vice president
for academic affairs, who shall in turn forward a recommendation to the institutional
president or designee.  The president has
final approval in awarding the posthumous degree.

Upon approval, the office of registration and records will record the award of the 
degree on the student's transcript.  The appropriate office will send a 
diploma to the student's family and will invite the family to send a 
representative to participate in the commencement ceremony in behalf of the deceased
student.  The graduation application fee, if any, will be waived, and the 
student's name will be listed in the appropriate commencement ceremony program.