Every university or college outlines its own expectations for each program, and some higher education institutions do not bestow Latin honors at all. Others, like Stanford University, have a separate set of non-Latin distinctions that are typically seen as roughly equivalent to the traditional Latin titles. Although Latin honors are quite common in the United States, very few other countries around the world use the system. Summa cum laude is one of the three Latin honors traditionally given to select students upon receiving a bachelor's degree, although it can in some cases be included with other types of degrees as well. Students who graduate with honors may wear colored stoles or other designations during commencement ceremonies, and the honor is read aloud along with the person's name. Latin honors generally appear on a student's official transcript and diploma after graduating. Criteria for Latin honors may include grade point average GPA , class rank, number of hours completed, and honors designations from an academic department. Many institutions use cumulative GPA to determine who graduates with a summa cum laude designation. Students at the University of New Mexico, for instance, need to complete 60 credit hours toward graduation in addition to a GPA of 3.
Faculty & Staff
Magna, Summa, and the Honor Roll
Cum laude is Latin for "with honor" literally "with praise" and serves as a way to distinguish students with exemplary academic success. Schools confer honors in a variety of ways and there is no standardized set of criteria. Most colleges award three tiers of honors cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude based on the college's own unique requirements. The determining factor is usually GPA, but college prerequisites for graduating with honors may also include completion of an honors thesis or early graduation. With the exception of law students, Latin honors are almost always given to students earning bachelor degrees. High schools traditionally recognize the highest grade in the class with the honor of valedictorian, although there is a trend towards recognizing multiple top students—including classes with dozens of valedictorians. Some high schools use the three-tiered Latin honors system and award honors based on GPA or class ranking percentage. Cum laude is the most common Latin honor conferred for academic achievement. Magna cum laude means "with great honor" and is a higher distinction than cum laude.
The University recognizes student merit by awarding several distinctions at Convocation. Academic distinctions are not awarded for certificates since a certificate is not a degree. A medal or a plaque is awarded at the Fall Convocation to a student who has obtained a cumulative grade point average equal to or higher than that of the recipient of the same medal or plaque at the Spring Convocation. Students cannot change their graduation date or the date of their Convocation ceremony for the purpose of receiving a distinction. No decision regarding distinctions can be retroactively modified as a result of a repeated course or of an academic reset request. Once the Senate has officially conferred degrees, awarded distinctions cannot be revoked. Recipients are chosen by a Selection Committee under the authority of the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
Latin honors are conferred at many colleges and universities in the United States and other parts of the world. Some U. Magna cum laude comes next in prestige, followed by cum laude. Like summiting a mountain, the student who has achieved summa cum laude has achieved "the highest distinction. There is no national standard for what it takes to qualify for these honors. Even the individual colleges or schools within a particular university sometimes have different requirements.