Special Academic Honors

Information presented from the 2021 - 2022 Academic Catalog.

The Dean's List

A student earning a superior academic average is placed on the Dean's List. Notice of this accomplishment is sent to the student's hometown newspaper(s).

Academic qualifications for inclusion on the Dean's List require that a 3.7 academic average be maintained for the semester, with no D's, F's, U's, I's, X's, or W's, and that a minimum of 12 academic hours be completed for a grade. Students with X-grade notations are not eligible to receive Dean's List honors, neither contemporaneously nor retroactively.

Senior Thesis or Senior Creative Project with Distinction

Denison values the intellectual accomplishment demonstrated by completion of a Senior Thesis or Senior Creative Project.  The university has a long tradition of acknowledging that accomplishment by preserving projects that attain the specified grade level in the campus library and recognizing them in the commencement program. This policy establishes a process by which senior student work can receive institutional recognition by designating such projects as a Senior Thesis with Distinction or Senior Creative Project with Distinction.

Definitions of Relevant Terms

Senior Research: 8-credit senior immersive experience in major; normally 451-452 sequence.

Senior Thesis: A Senior Research project that has met all the terms of Distinction as described below, including: declaration of intent by the appointed deadline, designation of a second evaluator, and final submission by the deadline and location as designated by the Provost; and which meets or exceeds the standards of evaluation described herein.  The product of a Senior Thesis is submitted in the form of a written document.  The product of a Senior Thesis is preserved in Denison’s library, indicated on the student’s transcript, and recognized in the commencement program.

Senior Creative Project: A Senior Research project that has met all the terms of Distinction as described below, including: declaration of intent by the appointed deadline, designation of a second evaluator, and final submission by the deadline and location as designated by the Provost; and which meets or exceeds the standards of evaluation described herein. The product of a Senior Creative Project is submitted in the form designated by the department/program as indicated in the declaration of intent.  The product of a Senior Creative Project is preserved in Denison’s library, indicated on the student’s transcript, and recognized in the commencement program.

Product: the tangible item submitted by the appointed deadline in fulfillment of the Senior Thesis / Senior Creative Project requirements.  The product is normally a text that either:

  • Comprises the entirety of the Senior Thesis
  • Is approved by the department or program in substitution of a text that comprises theentirety of the senior thesis.  This might take the form of an abstract or description of a Senior Creative Project.  

guidelines for recognition of senior work with Distinction 

A. A final product that is judged to merit Distinction will receive the following acknowledgment:

1. the student’s name, the title of the project, and the name of the project advisor will be included in the commencement program;

2. the student’s name, the title of the project, and Distinction will be indicated on the student’s transcript;

3. a copy of the final product, in its appropriate form as determined by department or program, will be preserved in the library.

B. The following are the criteria and procedures to be fulfilled for a project to receive Distinction:

1. The student must be enrolled in Senior Research 452 or parallel eight-credit research sequence as determined by department or program.

2. The student must successfully complete a year-long Senior Thesis or Senior Creative Project (which could be done either in a fall-spring semester sequence or a summer-senior semester sequence in cases where the department or program approves of this option).

3. The thesis/project must be integrally connected to the student’s major and must be advised by a faculty member either in the student’s major or approved by the chair of the major.

4. Each thesis/project must be evaluated by at least one faculty member other than the thesis/project advisor. The student, in consultation with the advisor, will secure a second evaluator by February 1 (or the following work day if February 1 falls on a weekend).

5. The student must declare to the major department/program and to the Registrar the intention to submit a Senior Thesis or Senior Creative Project as the result of an eight-credit research sequence no later than February 1 (or the following work day if February 1 falls on a weekend) of the senior year. This declaration will require the signatures of the thesis/project advisor, the second evaluator, and the chair of the department/program. The declaration also must indicate the form of submission of the final product (text, creative piece, computer program, etc.). 

6. The final product must be submitted to the Office of the Provost (or an alternative location designated by the Provost) no later than one week before the last day of classes, by a date and time to be determined by the Provost.  The Office of the Provost will provide clear instruction to students submitting theses/projects as to the date, time, number of copies (hard and/or electronic copies), and location for submission of the final product.  The form of submission of the final product will be based on information provided in the declaration submitted by February 1.  The Office of the Provost will distribute the submitted products to the thesis/project advisor and second evaluator for review.

7. Final products submitted after the deadline will not receive Distinction.

8. Evaluation:

  1. Senior Research: The final grade for the eight-credit Senior Research, normally Senior Research 451/452 (or four-credit project in case of a summer-semester sequence, in cases where the department/program approves of this option) will be submitted by the research advisor. The Distinction process has no bearing on the grade submitted by the research advisor for the eight-credit Senior Research.
  2. Senior Thesis/Creative Project: Both the advisor and the second evaluator will assign a grade to the Senior Thesis/Creative Project. This grade reflects the quality of the final Thesis/Creative Project itself. A final Senior Thesis/Creative Project will be judged to merit Distinction if both the advisor and other evaluator give it a B or above, and at least one of the grades is a B+ or above. (These grades of the thesis/creative project are separate from the grade for the eight [or four] credits submitted by the advisor for the Senior Research, as described in B.8.a. above).
  3. Grades submitted for the Purposes of Distinction must be submitted to the Registrar in a form designated by the Registrar no later than the Monday of commencement week in spring semester and when final grades are due in fall semester. 

C. Departments and programs have the authority to determine the guidelines governing the design and execution of the project. Departments and programs may establish minimum requirements for students to undertake a project.  Departments and programs may not alter the deadline (as described in B.6-7 above) or the minimum grade requirements for eligibility for Distinction (as described in B.8.b. above).

D. The Registrar will provide to the Provost and the Director of the Library a list indicating which theses/creative projects have merited Distinction. The Office of the Provost will provide the Library with a copy of the final product to be preserved in the Library.

Note 1: If a Senior Thesis/Creative Project follows a summer-fall semester sequence, the Registrar will adjust the date to submit intention to receive Distinction accordingly.

Note 2: Appropriate adjustments will be made in the case of a project that is part of an independently designed major.

Graduation with Honors

A student who meets the general college requirements and the particular requirements for a Denison degree may graduate with Honors. There are three levels of Honors.

Highest Honors - Summa Cum Laude

This highest distinction is accorded to students who earn a cumulative grade-point average of 3.9 or higher.

High Honors - Magna Cum Laude

This second highest distinction is accorded to students who earn a cumulative grade-point average of 3.75 or higher.

Honors - Cum Laude

This third distinction is accorded to students who earn a cumulative grade-point average of 3.60 or higher.

Please note: The calculation of a student's GPA for "Latin Honors" is based on all semesters of academic work at Denison, with a minimum of 64 graded hours completed at Denison. Students with X-grade notations are not eligible to receive Latin Honors, either contemporaneously or retroactively.

Phi Beta Kappa

The Denison University chapter of Phi Beta Kappa was established in 1910. Election to Phi Beta Kappa takes place during the second semester of the senior year and is based primarily on a record of outstanding academic achievement. Election is also possible during the second semester of the junior year for a student whose academic record is truly exceptional.

President's Medals

Each spring at the Academic Awards Convocation, the President awards medals to outstanding graduating seniors who have made especially good use of their undergraduate education and have contributed substantially to the community. The range of accomplishments the President seeks to acknowledge and honor are comparable to those associated with the winners of a major national scholarship such as the Rhodes or Marshall. The preeminent criterion for receipt of a President's Medal, Denison's most prestigious award, is academic achievement. In addition, candidates must embody some combination of the following:

  • service to the community,
  • contribution to the arts,
  • enlargement of the community's global perspective,
  • athletic fitness and achievement,
  • leadership ability and contribution to community discourse.
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