Graduation Honors

Honors and Prizes

Graduation with School Honors

Degrees with honors are determined by grades in all work at Northwestern University and are awarded to the top 25 percent of the students in each school who complete graduation requirements. Spring quarter graduates in the highest 5 percent of the school’s class are awarded degrees summa cum laude; those in the next 8 percent, magna cum laude; and those in the next 12 percent, cum laude. Graduation honors are not announced before Spring Commencement, and the GPA cutoffs for each level of honors based on the stated percentages are not made public. Students who complete degrees in the summer, fall, or winter quarter are awarded school honors based on the GPA cutoffs established by the prior spring quarter’s graduating class.

Graduation with Departmental Honors

Departmental honors may be granted to graduating seniors who have done outstanding work in a department in connection with a research project or work of an integrative nature. Students are nominated for these honors by their departments. The faculty of the school concerned makes the final awards. See the school sections of this catalog for more information on departmental honors.

Honorary Organizations and Prizes

Students who qualify by reason of superior scholarship or other outstanding achievement are eligible for membership in certain honorary societies. Some of these recognize outstanding performance within one of the undergraduate schools, while others recognize distinction in a specific field of study, certain extracurricular options, or other endeavors.

In addition, several prizes established through gifts and endowments are awarded each year to undergraduate students. Some are all-University prizes, and others are available only to students in the school, department, or program that administers the awards. Prizes may recognize past achievements or provide students with funding for research projects or creative activities.