Awarding Diplomas and Certificates

Programs of Study Defined

  1. A degree program is defined as an approved academic program of study, outlined in a Marquette University bulletin, that contains a degree and, in the case of an undergraduate, at least one major and leads to an official diploma and notation of such on the university’s official transcript.
  2. A certificate program is defined as an approved academic program of study, outlined in a Marquette University bulletin that includes the specialized study of a subject area and leads to an official certificate and notation of such on the university’s official transcript.
  3. An official diploma or certificate is defined as one on which the university seal is affixed and is released only by the Office of the Registrar.


  1. Structuring of degree and certificate programs requires approval through the appropriate Marquette University curriculum process.
  2. Requirements for all Marquette academic programs of study are to be documented in the appropriate Marquette University bulletin by the college/school/department offering the degree or certificate program. No official diploma or certificate is awarded that does not first appear in the appropriate bulletin.
  3. The college/school offering the degree or certificate program bears the responsibility for authenticating completed program requirements. Changes or exceptions in course requirements for individual students must be documented in the academic record of the student, either online, when the program of study requirements are in the university degree audit system (Academic Advisement), or, on paper when not.
  4. Diplomas and certificates are ordered and issued only by the Office of the Registrar, in consultation with the appropriate college/school of the student and the Office of the Provost.
  5. Diplomas and certificates cannot be earned retroactively. Students must have an active record, apply for graduation, satisfy all applicable degree/course/credit requirements, and appear on the Trustee’s List before a diploma or certificate will be produced or awarded. Students may not appear on the Trustee’s List until all applicable degree/course/credit requirements are satisfied. The posting date of the diploma or certificate is the earliest available diploma/certificate date after the student appears on a Trustee’s List.
  6. No student is allowed to officially declare a degree or certificate program once it has been discontinued, except those who entered the university in an academic year prior to the discontinuation and maintained continuous enrollment on the same academic level as the discontinued program (i.e., undergraduate, graduate, etc.) until completion of their program of study. Once a student fails to register for one term (except summer), or graduates from a program of study, the student has failed to maintain continuous enrollment on that academic level, even if readmitted to the same academic level.
  7. When certification of a specific skill or acknowledgement of completion of a learning experience is needed, university administrators and deans are authorized to prepare and issue a letter acknowledging completion of such program on official letterhead, or produce a document recognizing the experience; however, the document must include the name of the issuing college/school and the university seal may not be used on these documents.
  8. A letter or other document certifying completion of a course is not considered an official diploma or certificate; and therefore, is not posted to the student’s official academic record.

Diploma Distribution

See the Marquette Central website for information regarding the distribution of diplomas.