Honors and Awards

Matriculated students with superior academic records are honored in various ways, such as by placement on the Dean’s Honors List, election to honor societies, and admission to departmental honors programs. Additional information may be obtained from departmental advisers and from the Office of the Associate Dean for Students, 726 Broadway, 7th floor; 212-998-8140 / cas.deanforstudents@nyu.edu.


Dean’s Honors List

A Dean’s Honors List is compiled at the end of each academic year, in June. This is an honor roll of matriculated students who have achieved an average of 3.65 or higher for that academic year (September to May) in at least 28 graded credits. To be listed, a student must not have any grades of Incomplete or N at the time the list is compiled. Note that grade point averages are carried to three decimal places (but are not rounded off).

Honorary Societies in Arts and Science

Any student seeking to join a departmental scholastic honorary society is required to maintain, as a minimum scholastic requirement for election to membership, a general average of 3.50, as well as an average in the major subject of 3.50. Students should consult with departmental advisers in regard to the specific requirements for the various departmental honor societies.

Phi Beta Kappa

Phi Beta Kappa celebrates and advocates excellence in the liberal arts and sciences, and the Phi Beta Kappa Society invites for induction the most outstanding arts and science students in America’s leading colleges and universities. NYU’s College of Arts and Science chapter, the Beta of New York, was established in 1858. In terms of seniority, it ranks as the 15th oldest chapter of the society.

Each April, the faculty members of the Beta chapter automatically review the academic performance of all students in the College for eligibility for election to Phi Beta Kappa.

Eligibility for Graduation with Latin Honors

To be graduated with honors, a student must have at least 64 credits earned in courses from CAS, GSAS, and selected Tisch departments. All graded courses taken while enrolled either in the College or in another school of NYU will be used in computing the grade point average on which Latin honors are based, as long as the 64-credit residency requirement is met. Pass (P) grades are not counted; grades received in courses taken at other institutions are also not counted. The student must also have a clean record of conduct.

Effective with the September 2008 graduating class, the GPA cutoffs for each category are determined by the combined GPA distribution from the preceding academic year, all graduation moments included. The cutoff for summa cum laude is the GPA included within the top 5 percent of the previous year’s graduating class. The cutoff for magna cum laude is the GPA included within the next 10 percent of the previous year’s class. The cutoff for cum laude is the GPA included within the next 15 percent of the previous year’s class. For example, the necessary GPA level for summa cum laude for students graduating in September 2008 will be based on the GPA cutoff for the top 5 percent of the combined graduates from September 2007, January 2008, and May 2008. More information and current GPA cutoffs can be found on the Registrar’s graduation honors page.

Departmental Honors

Students who have completed at least 64 credits of graded work in the College may be awarded degrees with departmental honors if they complete the designated honors sequence in a department and maintain the requisite grade point average. There are two levels: honors and high honors.

Students seeking admission to and graduation with departmental honors are expected to have a minimum grade point average of 3.65, both overall and in the major. Departments may exercise some flexibility: in rare cases where a candidate for admission to a departmental honors program falls short of the expected minimum GPA, the director of undergraduate studies or the director of departmental honors may petition the director of college honors for an exception. In all cases, once admitted, students are expected to maintain the GPA at the stipulated level in order to graduate with departmental honors. Should there be an exceptional circumstance in which the stipulated GPA is not maintained, the director of college honors may be petitioned for an exception. If the case is compelling, the latter will inform the registrar’s office of the waiver.

Honors programs must, minimally, be a two-term (8-credit) experience that includes a capstone research project. The capstone project, which typically culminates in a thesis, should reflect sustained original research over two semesters. The scope and length of a thesis will vary by discipline, but the thesis is typically 40 to 60 pages in length.

All students completing departmental honors must make public presentations of their work, preferably at the CAS Undergraduate Research Conference (URC) held at the end of the academic year, or in a departmental forum (e.g., oral defenses or presentations) held in conjunction with the URC.

Students with double majors in discrete, unrelated disciplines must complete honors programs in each major for which they seek honors. Students with double majors in interdisciplinary or related fields may, if the two departments concur, convene a joint honors committee to establish an interdisciplinary research program of course work that culminates in a single thesis. Similarly, in the case of joint majors, the relevant departments must work out an agreement on the requirements for honors and on the supervision and evaluation of students’ theses or projects.

Presidential Honors Scholars

Membership in the Presidential Honors Scholars at the College of Arts and Science offers outstanding students the opportunity to receive special advising from College faculty and staff, to challenge themselves in honors courses and through independent research, to study away, to take advantage of New York City’s cultural resources, and to develop leadership skills through community service. Scholars comprise a distinguished group of undergraduates; only the top 10 percent of the entering class are chosen, and students who apply for entry after they have matriculated must demonstrate not only superlative academic achievements but also a consistent record of leadership and service to the community.

First-year students appointed on the basis of their high school records participate in a Scholars Seminar. They meet regularly for lectures and discussions and participate in a wide variety of cocurricular activities. These include the Scholars Lecture Series, cultural events in the city, social events, and community service projects. During the January intersession, first-year scholars travel with faculty mentors to NYU Florence, Italy. Sophomore scholars also participate in a trip abroad, choosing a destination that most closely relates to their academic or personal interests. During their junior or senior year, scholars spend an entire semester (or year) studying at one of NYU’s programs or exchanges away. In their junior and senior years, they also enroll in the honors track of their chosen major. In addition, Presidential Honors Scholars are committed to volunteering and serving in the community.

Membership in the scholars program is renewable annually, depending on the quality of the scholar’s academic records and his or her level of participation in the program. All scholars are expected to be full-time students and maintain a grade point average of at least 3.65. Students who are not designated as Presidential Honors Scholars for the first-year students are invited to apply for membership at the end of the spring semester.

Further information is available on the Presidential Honors Scholars site. Alternately, contact the Office of the Associate Dean for Students, 726 Broadway, 7th floor (212-998-8140 / cas.scholar@nyu.edu) or the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, 383 Lafayette Street, 2nd Floor (212-998-4550).

Martin Luther King, Jr., Scholars Program

The MLK Scholars Program has developed some of NYU's best and brightest thought leaders for over 35 years. MLK Scholars are members of a highly selective university leadership program dedicated to the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Incoming first-year students are selected based on their record of outstanding academic achievement, leadership, and commitment to the principles of humanitarianism and social progress and building Dr. King's vision of a "beloved community." Centered around an immersive, cohort-based learning community, this program offers a rich and unique combination of faculty engagement, travel colloquia, undergraduate research, and service-learning. 

MLK Scholars attend a mandatory seminar in their first term, which introduces them to the study of social justice in the United States through the historical lens of the Civil Rights Movement and contemporary human rights efforts. Each semester, scholars are required to complete eight hours of community service and engage in cohort meetings. They are expected to maintain good academic standing in their major and participate in ongoing MLK-sponsored programming in order to remain in the program. Eligible scholars have access to domestic and international travel and funding for research, internships and study abroad. More information about the program can be found on The Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholars Program website.

Lewis Rudin City Scholars

Rudin Scholars are outstanding entering freshmen selected from public and parochial high schools in all five boroughs of New York City. In addition to their scholarship, the scholars participate in academic and cultural activities in New York City. The program is named in honor of the late real estate developer Lewis Rudin, former president of the Association for a Better New York and an NYU alumnus and trustee.

College-Wide and Departmental Awards and Prizes

To recognize the outstanding academic achievements of its students, the College and its departments award numerous awards and prizes to a select number of students who have demonstrated excellence in their field of study. These awards and prizes have been made possible through the generous donations and contributions of friends and alumni of the College. For more information on individual awards and recent recipients, please visit the CAS academic honors page.