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Retroactive Graduation


To define the conditions under which a degree may be retroactively conferred and the procedures to do so.

Applies to: 

All degrees granted by Lawrence/Edwards programs.

Policy Statement: 

Completing an application for graduation is a requirement for every student intending to graduate from KU.  Students who failed to complete an application for graduation (AFG), but otherwise met all other degree requirements by the course completion deadline for that semester, may petition their School/College to receive a retroactive graduation date.

In such a case, the degree may be back-dated to the semester in which all degree requirements (excluding the AFG) were actually met.  For example, in a situation where the student has an incomplete grade, the degree would be granted for the semester/term in which the incomplete was completed, not the term in which the enrollment occurred.

In situations where transfer work was not submitted in a timely fashion, USRR 3.1.2 (Requirements for Graduation with a Bachelor’s Degree) shall take precedence for one year.  If the course completion date is more than a year previous to the request for graduation, the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs shall determine which policy takes precedence based upon recommendations from the College/School and the Office of the University Registrar.

When a student petitions for a retroactive graduation date, the following procedures shall be utilized:

  1. The student shall complete an application for graduation and submit it to the student's School/College with any additional documentation required by that academic unit.
  2. The School/College will review the petition and, upon approval, shall submit to the Office of the University Registrar:
    1. A legible copy of the application for graduation.
    2. A statement from the Dean recommending retroactive graduation.
    3. A statement that “All degree requirements were completed as of [date of completion].”
    4. An explanation concerning why the degree was not applied prior to the deadline.
  3. The Office of the University Registrar shall check all applicable University graduation requirements, notifying the School/College if University requirements have been met or not.
  4. If the request is within 30 calendar days of the AFG deadline, the University Registrar will make the decision to accept the delinquent application for graduation.  If outside the 30 day window, the University Registrar will forward the statement from the Dean with a recommendation to approve or deny to the Senior Vice Provost – Academic Affairs.  In either case, the position making the final decision will notify the School/College and staff in the Office of the University Registrar of the decision.
  5. The School/College shall notify the student of the final outcome of the petition.  In the case of graduate students, the Dean of the School/College or designate shall also provide Graduate Studies with an amendment to the degrees conferred.
  6. Once all graduation requirements have been met, the Office of the University Registrar shall post the degree for the term in which the dates fell.  If the dates are between terms the course completion policy as specified in the University Senate Rules and Regulations shall be utilized to determine the graduation term.
  7. If it is more than 30 days since the degree list for that semester was due, the degree shall be posted with a note that displays on the academic transcript specifying the actual posting date.  The note shall read: “Degree posted on [date posted].”
  8. The Office of the University Registrar shall order the student’s diploma as per standard procedure for new graduates.

This policy shall be effective immediately and will be applied to any previous graduates upon request to their School/College.

Exclusions or Special Circumstances: 

In the case of late submission to transfer work, USRR 3.1.2 (Requirements for Graduation with the Bachelor’s Degree) shall take precedence over this policy for one year following the course completion date.

Any exceptions to this policy shall be determined by the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs in consultation with the applicable School/College and the Office of the University Registrar.


Office of the University Registrar
1502 Building
1502 Iowa Street
Lawrence, KS 66045

Approved by: 
Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Approved on: 
Monday, February 3, 2014
Effective on: 
Monday, February 3, 2014
Review Cycle: 
Biennial (Every Two Years)

The academic transcript should reflect the actual chronology of events. The graduation date should be the date that degree requirements were met thus reflecting the state of the academic discipline at the time of degree completion.

Graduation, Retroactive Graduation, Application for Graduation
Change History: 
03/01/2023: Updated contact section.
09/22/2017: Updated Contact information. 
07/11/2016: Updated to remove gendered pronouns.
01/10/2016: Review and update/clarification of 2.d, and 4.
Prior to final approval, this policy was developed by the Office of the University Registrar and reviewed and endorsed by the deans, SenEx, AP&P, the University Registrar, and the Vice Provost for Enrollment Management.
Academic Categories: 
Graduation & Degrees

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