Academic Honors

Dean's List

Undergraduates who complete the fall or spring terms with a 3.6 GPA or higher are named to the Dean's List, provided they have completed at least three courses (nine or more points) for a letter grade. Disciplinary probation, as well as marks of W, INC, AR, F, or D, disqualify a student from consideration. Students who have been found responsible by the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards for a violation of academic integrity are not eligible for the Dean's List during the term of the sanction. There is no Dean's List for the summer term.

Honor Society

The Honor Society of the School of General Studies was formed to celebrate exceptional GS undergraduates committed to intellectual discovery and academic excellence. The only group of its kind at the University, the Honor Society provides a unique opportunity for students to interact with other members, faculty associates, and alumni at events during the year. Criteria for membership include a GPA of at least 3.8, a minimum of 30 completed Columbia points, and a minimum of 60 total completed points. Students may not apply for membership. A ceremony of induction is held each semester, and members continue to be part of the Society after graduation.

School (Latin) Honors

The designations cum laudemagna cum laude, and summa cum laude are academic honors determined by an undergraduate student's cumulative GPA at the time of graduation based on coursework completed exclusively at Columbia University once a student has matriculated within the School of General Studies. To be eligible for school honors, a student must have completed at least 64 points of coursework at General Studies. For cum laude, a student must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5; for magna cum laude, a minimum of 3.67; for summa cum laude, a minimum of 3.9 is required. The honor is noted on a student's diploma and transcript.

Beginning with the conferral of degrees in February 2021, the School of General Studies will award Latin Honors in the following way: the top five percent of the graduating class by GPA will receive summa cum laude, the next ten percent will receive magna cum laude, and the next ten percent will receive cum laude. No more than 25% of the graduating class overall will receive Latin Honors. Latin Honors are noted on a student’s diploma and transcript, and students will be notified if they have received Latin Honors a few weeks following degree conferral. 

Departmental Honors

Many departments award honors to undergraduate majors who complete their major requirements with distinction. Eligibility for departmental honors varies among departments; students should consult individual departments for further information. Departmental honors are noted on a student's transcript but not on the diploma. Departmental honors are not given for concentrations.

Phi Beta Kappa

By action of the Senate of the United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa in March 1952, degree candidates in the School of General Studies are eligible for election to Phi Beta Kappa and membership in the Columbia (Delta) Chapter. The selection of this group (up to ten percent of the graduating class) is based not only on academic achievement, but also on evidence of intellectual promise, character, and achievement outside the classroom. Academic achievement is measured by strength and rigor of program as well as grades and faculty recommendations. Students may not apply for Phi Beta Kappa.

As with school prizes, October and February graduates are considered along with students graduating in May. Election to Phi Beta Kappa is noted on a student's transcript.

The General Studies Section of the Delta Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa annually presents the Phi Beta Kappa Award to a GS senior elected to Phi Beta Kappa who, during his or her academic career, has best exemplified intellectual integrity, tolerance for others' views, and a broad range of academic interests.

School Prizes

Each year the School of General Studies awards prizes for academic excellence as well as outstanding leadership. Current prizes include the following:

  • The Albert E. Gollin Prize, awarded to a junior with promising talent in sociology, media, or journalism
  • The Medaglia D'Oro Prize for excellence in Italian studies
  • The John Angus Burrell Memorial Prize for distinction in English and comparative literature
  • The Arthur Ross Foundation Award for excellence in political science
  • The Benedetto Marraro Prize for distinction in Italian studies
  • The Antonio G. Mier Prize for excellence in Spanish
  • The Stacy M. and Russell D. Paul Prize for excellence in the study of psychology
  • The Jennifer A. Pack Prize for excellence in the study of psychology
  • The Lillian L. Hacker Prize for excellence in the study of sociology
  • The Judith Lee Stronach Memorial Prize for outstanding contributions in art history or archaeology
  • The Dean's Citation for leadership and outstanding service to the School (for graduating seniors only)
  • The Alumni Key Award for academic achievement and outstanding service to the School (for graduating seniors only)
  • The Dean's Prize in Economics for excellence in the study of economics
  • The Dean's Prize in Anthropology for excellence in the study of anthropology
  • The Dean's Prize in Creative Writing for excellence in the study of creative writing
  • The Herbert H. Lehman Prize for Excellence in history, given to a student with an outstanding record of accomplishment in history courses at Columbia (preference is given to those with substantial coursework in U.S. History)
  • The Phi Beta Kappa Award for outstanding scholarship