Graduation with Honors

The University Honors Program, the Honor Roll, graduation with distinction or highest distinction, and departmental honors are not the same. Please read the following carefully.

University Honors Program

Students are admitted to the Honors Program based on evaluation of their Honors application. Factors considered include grades, overall transcript, standardized test scores and potential for active involvement in the Honors Program and the university.

Students should contact the program director at 864-4225, Nunemaker Center, 1506 Engel Road for an application or check the University Honors Program website for a list of honors courses.

Honor Roll

To qualify, undergraduate students must earn a 3.5 minimum semester grade point average in at least 12 graded hours.

Graduation with Distinction or Highest Distinction

CLAS undergraduate students must have completed at least 60 graded hours in residence at KU (including the hours in which they are enrolled during the semester of graduation). Awards of distinction and highest distinction are based solely on the GPA determined by KU residence credit hours unless the overall GPA (including transfer hours) is lower than the residence GPA. Students who rank in the upper 10% of their graduating class graduate with distinction. The upper 1/3 of those awarded distinction graduate with highest distinction. No more than 3% of the graduating class may graduate with highest distinction.

Potential candidates are determined in mid-April for the entire academic year in order to invite them to a recognition ceremony during Commencement weekend in May. Final designation is not determined until mid-June when all grades have been received.

Graduation with Departmental Honors

Most departments and programs allow qualified majors to work for graduation with departmental honors. Graduation with departmental honors is awarded:

  1. In recognition of exceptional performance in the major;
  2. After completion of a program of independent research or an acceptable alternative project; and
  3. Based on a strong overall academic record. Students must have an overall GPA (3.25 KU + transfer) is required and a major GPA of (3.50 KU + transfer).

These departmental honors requirements are established by the College. Individual departments and programs may impose additional requirements (which must be approved by CUSA, the College Committee on Undergraduate Studies and Advising). Candidates must contact the appropriate departmental honors coordinator for more information.

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