Under what circumstances would a University revoke a student's undergraduate bachelor's degree if something was discovered after the degree was awarded, but actually happened when the student was still enrolled in the University?

  • Is there any examples of degrees being revoked? If so, what types of academic misconduct would justify this?

  • What types of alleged offences would be able to be proven after the fact?

  • Would the blame be placed on the University since it would have been beneficial for the student to remediate their situation to plan and still graduate at his/her desired date if it were addressed at the proper time?

  • Would a student be able to sue the University for something like this?

Question is kind of vague but any general insight is helpful.

This is asked in regards to a typical person doing an undergrad, not unique stories regarding celebrities and/or high-end people getting doctorate degrees revoked for non-academic reasons. Only purely academic and the steps/reasoning for why it happened, not just what the allegation was.


  • 4
    You've been asking a lot of questions along these lines lately. I think you're overly concerned about something that is relatively unlikely to happen.
    – astronat
    Dec 19, 2016 at 22:17
  • Voting to close as duplicate. You really have asked this question numerous times in the past. Maybe you should talk to someone at your school if you're concerned about this. Dec 19, 2016 at 22:26
  • The duplicate question is specifying actions taken after the degree has been awarded. I asked the same question except I'm specifying the actions would have happened before the degree was awarded but was discovered after the degree was awarded.
    – ATomz
    Dec 19, 2016 at 22:32
  • I agree that this isn't a duplicate; the edits have made it clear that this question refers to actions taken prior to degree being awarded, not after, as the other question states. That said, I think the question is a no-brainer; of course you can lose your degree if it was obtained through misconduct.
    – eykanal
    Dec 23, 2016 at 1:32
  • Like, what are examples of academic misconduct situations in which they could prove it happened after the fact? I'd say that for certain things you have no circumstantial evidence unless it's addressed at the actual time the course was going on so that there's no confusion as to what circumstances were undergone at the time
    – ATomz
    Dec 23, 2016 at 1:39

1 Answer 1


I'm not going to answer all of your questions, some being duplicates, too broad or opinion-based.

Is there any examples of degrees being revoked? If so, what types of academic misconduct would justify this?

There have been spectacular examples of falling from grace.

  • Pal Schmitt resigned as President of Hungary after his doctorate was stripped by Semmelweis University on findings of plagiarism.

  • Former German Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg graduated summa cum laude from the University of Bayreuth in 2006 with a dissertation entitled "Constitution and Constitutional Treaty: Constitutional developments in the USA and EU." A finding of plagiarism led to his degree being revoked.

Most cases aren't as public, I think. In my university, the provision for a revocation of the degree is vested in the President of the University by the Trustees of the University. The policy allows for a revocation in the event that the degree was awarded in error or through fraud. The policy proceeds to list the criteria and processes to be followed. Fraud is defined broadly and includes conventional definitions of academic misconduct, but other acts as well. Finally, in the case of my university, there is a specific clause about the role of intentionality. In short, this is irrelevant to the decision. That is to say, one cannot base one's defense on the basis that there was no intention to commit fraud.

I expect that these policies vary between universities. I suggest checking with your university.

  • 1
    I was looking more toward examples of typical undergrads getting a bachelors revoked, not really high-profile people doing doctorates. I was wondering if it's more based on if the offence would have led to the student being suspended or expelled. If it was minor with no bad intentions/misunderstanding and/or negligence on the University's part, then it would go unchanged or a minor mark reduction, etc. and not to go to the extent of retracting the whole degree, which seems extreme.
    – ATomz
    Dec 20, 2016 at 15:38

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