Honors at Graduation

Date Revised: April 8, 2019
Date Effective: December 2019

Policy Statement

Graduation with Latin Honors

Candidates for bachelor’s degrees who demonstrate high levels of scholarship throughout their undergraduate years will graduate with Latin honors. To graduate with this recognition at Kent State University, students must achieve one of the following criteria:

  • Earn a minimum 60 credit hours at Kent State and earn a minimum 3.500 Kent State GPA; or
  • Earn at least 30 but fewer than 60 credit hours at Kent State and earn a minimum 3.500 Kent State GPA and earn a minimum 3.500 transfer GPA

There are three levels of Latin honors at graduation with a bachelor’s degree:

  • Cum laude — Student has earned a Kent State GPA of 3.500 to 3.699.
  • Magna cum laude — Student has earned a Kent State GPA of 3.700 to 3.899.
  • Summa cum laude  — Student has earned a Kent State GPA of 3.900 to 4.000.

The Kent State GPA for determining Latin honors is calculated from all grades earned in undergraduate courses at Kent State University, including original grades forgiven and/or recalculated under other policies. The transfer GPA is calculated from all grades earned in undergraduate transfer courses that were awarded college credit by Kent State and completed prior to the student’s most recent admission to Kent State. The GPA for both is extended to three decimal places and not rounded up.

Because grades in courses taken in the student’s final term are not official until after commencement, Latin honors candidates will be recognized at the commencement ceremony based on all their Kent State academic work completed prior to those courses. However, the final term grades will be used in determining honors posted to the transcript and the diploma. Honor citations are inscribed on diplomas as follows: cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude.

Graduation with Distinction

Candidates for associate degrees who demonstrate high levels of scholarship throughout their coursework will graduate “with distinction.” To graduate with this recognition, students must achieve the following criteria:

  • Earn a minimum 30 credit hours at Kent State University, and
  • Earn a minimum 3.500 Kent State University GPA

A Kent State GPA is calculated from all grades earned in undergraduate courses at Kent State University, including original grades forgiven and/or recalculated under other policies. The GPA used to determine the “with distinction” designation is extended to three decimal places and not rounded up.

Because grades in courses taken in the student’s graduation term are not official until after commencement, distinction candidates will be recognized at the commencement ceremony based on all their Kent State academic work completed prior to those courses. However, the final term grades will be used in determining the “graduated with distinction” recognition posted to the transcript and the diploma.

Reason for Policy

Students who achieve high academic performance as evidenced in their grade point average receive recognition on their transcript and diploma and during the commencement ceremony.

Forms/Instructions

There are no forms associated with this policy.

Additional Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can any student earn Latin honor?
    To qualify for Latin honors, students must (1) be awarded a bachelor’s degree, (2) earn a minimum of 60 semester credit hours of Kent State courses and (3) meet the minimum criteria for one of the three honors level as listed in the policy. Students who are being awarded a bachelor’s degree with fewer than 60 semester credit hours of Kent State courses still may qualify for Latin honors if they have a minimum 3.500 transfer GPA and meet the minimum criteria for one of the three honors level at listed in the policy.
  2. Will a student’s transfer GPA (if one) always be calculated for eligibility for Latin honors?
    No, the transfer GPA will factor into eligibility only for students being awarded a bachelor’s degree with fewer than 60 credit hours of Kent State courses.
  3. How is a student’s transfer GPA calculated for eligibility for Latin honors?
    The transfer GPA is calculated from all grades for undergraduate transfer courses awarded college credit at Kent State and completed prior to the student’s most recent admission to Kent State.

Additional FAQ: Graduation Honors

Definitions

Cum laude: A recognition with honor; from the Latin cum (“with”) and laude (ablative of lause, “praise”).

GPA (Grade Point Average): An indication of a student's academic achievement at Kent State University, determined by the number of credit hours attempted at Kent State University and the grades received. The Kent State GPA is calculated to three places past the decimal point and not rounded.

Magna cum laude: A recognition with great honor; from the Latin cum (“with”), magna (plural of magnum, “great”) and laude (ablative of lause, “praise”)

Summa cum laude: A recognition with the highest honor; from the Latin summa (feminine of summus, “highest,” “greatest”), cum (“with”) and laude (ablative of lause, “praise”)

Related Information

Revision History

Amended December 2019: Institutional Honors for bachelor’s degree students is revised to allow eligibility for students who do not meet the requirement of 60 Kent State semester credit hours but have a minimum 3.500 transfer GPA at the point of admission to Kent State. Policy is renamed Latin honors. Graduation with Distinction for associate degree students is revised to decrease minimum Kent State credit hours for eligibility, from 32 to 30 semester credit hours.

Amended May 2016: Institutional Honors for bachelor’s degree students is revised to increase minimum overall GPA criteria to earn cum laude (from 3.300 to 3.500), magna cum laude (from 3.600 to 3.700) and summa cum laude (from 3.800 to 3.900).

Amended August 2012: Institutional Honors for bachelor’s degree students is revised to extend the GPA to three decimal points and not round up to determine honors. Graduation with Distinction for associate degree students is revised to extend the GPA to three decimal points and not round up to determine distinction.

Amended May 2008: Institutional Honors for bachelor’s degree students is revised to round up the GPA to determine honors. Graduation with Distinction for associate degree students is revised to round up the GPA to determine distinction.

Amended May 1996: Graduation with Distinction for associate degree students is revised to remove inclusion of other institution grades, with the GPA calculated with only Kent State courses. Revised policy also establishes a requirement that students earn minimum 32 semester credit hours at Kent State for distinction eligibility.

Amended December 1995: Honors for bachelor’s degree students is revised to increase the required Kent State credit hours for honors eligibility, from the minimum credit hours required for a bachelor’s degree to 64 semester credit hours. Revised policy also removes inclusion of other institution grades, with the GPA calculated with only Kent State courses. Policy is renamed Institutional Honors.

Amended December 1995: Honors is revised to clarify that the GPA to determine honors is extended two decimal points and not rounded up.

Amended August 1976: Honors is revised to decrease the required Kent State credit hours for honors eligibility, from 96 quarter credit hours (64 semester credit hours) to the minimum credit hours required for a bachelor’s degree (48 quarter or 32 semester credit hours). Graduation “With Distinction” is established for students earning an associate degree with a minimum overall 3.5 GPA earned at Ken State and other institutions.

Amended March 1968: Honors for High Scholarship is revised to clarify that students must have minimum 96 quarter credit hours (64 semester credit hours) of Kent State coursework to be eligible. Policy is renamed Honors.

Amended June 1956: Honors for High Scholarship is revised to base honors eligibility on only students’ overall GPA with stipulation that at least one half of the students’ courses must be taken at Kent State.

Effective June 1937: Establishes a formal Honors for High Scholarship recognition, awarded by vote of university faculty for graduating students who earned a minimum overall GPA of 3.3 (cum laude), 3.6 (magna cum laude) and 3.8 (summa cum laude) at Kent State and other institutions.

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