Recognition of High Achievement

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The University uses a number of means to encourage and reward students who demonstrate academic excellence. The dean's list recognizes students who have achieved outstanding academic success. Students achieving honors are recognized at the annual Honors Convocation. Finally, the most extensive form of recognition and encouragement is the Honors College Program for the superior student, which provides the most capable students with opportunities for intellectual stimulation and development.


Students are recognized for their high academic achievement by being placed on the dean's list of their respective schools.

In order for undergraduate students to qualify for the dean's list, students must complete 12.0 or more credits in Fall or Spring and earn a semester GPA of 3.5 or better.These requirements apply to all undergraduate students, regardless of their academic class (i.e., freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior).


The Honors College is a four-year program for exceptionally well-prepared students. It offers a challenging, stimulating environment in which to practice analytical, creative, and verbal skills.

Honors College freshmen and sophomores enroll in Level One:  Honors Foundations, a series of interdisciplinary courses and seminars.  The program continues with the Honors Minor in Transdisciplinary Concepts and Perspectives, culminating in an Honors College Capstone experience.  This sequence satisfies most of the Liberal Education Program.  Honors College students must also complete an academic major and all the requirements of that major. 

Admission to the Honors College is competitive. Inquiries are invited from interested freshmen and transfer students. Information on the Honors College may be obtained from the University's Admission Office; from the Honors College Office, Engleman B225A; or from


Undergraduate students who have performed with distinction in scholarship, leadership, and service to the University are accorded special recognition at the Honors Convocation at the end of the spring semester. Seniors who have achieved collegiate honors are announced: those maintaining a 3.5-3.69 GPA are graduated cum laude; 3.7-3.89, magna cum laude; 3.9-4.0, summa cum laude. The GPA is computed from the student's entire collegiate record. Transfer students who have taken at least 60 credit hours at SCSU and have attained a 3.5 GPA or higher in these courses will be eligible for academic honors. Only earned grades at Southern will be tabulated when determining academic honors. Students who successfully defended their honors theses are also recognized at the Honors Convocation, and graduate "with departmental honors."


Departmental Honors focuses on original research and is fostered by all departments. Students work independently in the library carrel, the science laboratory, or the experimental classroom pursuing the solutions to their research problems. The rigors of direct, unbiased observations, critical analysis, integration, and logical reasoning develop the disciplined thinker needed today.

Prerequisites for application for departmental honors research are a 3.0 GPA at the end of three years of collegiate study, and of a 3.2 GPA in a major concentration. Decision to apply for departmental honors research should be made during the junior year when a departmental sponsor should also be requested.

At that point, the chairperson of the department will submit the name of the applicant to the chair of the University Honors Thesis Committee.The student must submit a prospectus to the chair of the University Honors Thesis Committee; instructions and deadlines for the prospectus are sent each semester to all departments. Once the prospectus has been approved, the student becomes a candidate for departmental honors.

Generally, the first semester of the senior year is spent completing research. During the second semester the student writes a thesis for which, if accepted after an oral defense, the student is awarded three semester hours of credit and departmental honors. Upon request, detailed instructions are available from the chair of the University Honors Thesis Committee, or from chairpersons of academic departments.


Several national honor societies are represented on campus. Election and initiation into these societies are conducted annually by their membership and are based mainly on scholastic achievement, interest, and active participation. Societies represented include:

Alpha Kappa Delta—Sociology
Delta Mu Delta — Business Administration
Gamma Theta Upsilon — Geography
Golden Key National Honor Society—Top 15% of Junior and Senior Class
Iota Iota Iota — Women's Studies
Kappa Delta Pi — Education
Lambda Pi Eta — Communication
Phi Alpha Theta — History
Pi Sigma Alpha—Political Science
Psi Chi — Psychology
Sigma Tau Delta - English
Sigma Theta Tau, Mu Beta Chapter — Nursing
Zeta Delta Epsilon—Service