Honors and Awards

Liberal Studies students with superior academic or personal records may be honored in various ways, such as placement on the Dean's Honors List, recognition with achievement awards, or grant funding for research.

Additional information about any of the honors and awards below may be obtained from the Liberal Studies Advising Center, 726 Broadway, 6th Floor; ls.advising@nyu.edu.

Academic Distinctions and Honors

Dean’s Circle

Students who complete the freshman year having earned at least 30 credit hours are eligible to apply for the Dean’s Circle University Scholars program, the honor society of Liberal Studies (LS). Additional requirements may apply. Dean’s Circle scholars participate in a year-long seminar on a designated theme and engage in research and writing on this theme. The Dean’s Circle seminar includes a required academic travel experience during the January Term in which students join together in an intensive exploration of the year’s theme . LS Core students who participate in Dean’s Circle receive favorable consideration for the University Scholars program in the school in which they enroll as juniors. Dean’s Circle applications usually become available to rising sophomores in April of their freshman year; decisions are usually released in August, ensuring applicants can be considered whether beginning their studies with LS during either fall or spring. Successful candidates tend to possess competitive academic records, outstanding recommendations and essays, and a demonstrated interest in the seminar theme, which is announced annually.

Dean’s List

At the end of each academic year, a Dean’s Honors List is compiled. This is an honor roll of matriculated students who have achieved an average of 3.65 or higher for that academic year in at least 28 graded credits. For returning students and first-year students who matriculate in the fall semester, the Dean’s List will be determined on the basis of Fall, J-term, and Spring semesters. For first-year students who matriculate in the spring semester, eligibility for the Dean’s List will instead be based on the Spring and Summer semesters (for the first year only). In order to be selected for this honor, a student must not have any grades of "I" or "N" at the time the list is compiled. In addition, grade point averages are not rounded off.

Elaine Kuntz Memorial Writing Prize

The Elaine Kuntz Memorial Writing Prize was established in 1988 in memory of Dr. Kuntz, who was the program’s first associate director and a member of the faculty. The prize is awarded to an LS first-year student annually for an outstanding essay produced in a writing course. The writing faculty nominates students for this prize, and an honoree is selected by a faculty committee.

Founders Day Award

Global Liberal Studies only

This commencement honor recognizes graduating seniors that rank in the top 40% of the senior class of their school based on GPA. To be eligible, a student must have completed at least 64 credits in the GLS degree program, in courses in which letter grades were received. Students selected for this distinction are named University Honors Scholars, earning them the Founders Day Award, which is announced on NYU Founders Day (April 21).

Latin Honors

Global Liberal Studies only

To graduate with Latin honors, a student must have completed at least 64 credits in the GLS degree program in courses in which letter grades were received. All graded courses taken while enrolled in GLS, including courses taken from other divisions of the University, will be used in computing the honors average. However, pass/fail courses completed with a passing grade are not counted, and grades received in courses taken at other institutions are also not included. The student must also have a satisfactory record of conduct. Latin honors will be determined on the basis of cumulative GPA so that summa cum laude is limited to the top 5 percent of the graduating class, magna cum laude to the next 5 percent of the graduating class ranked by GPA, and cum laude to the next 5 percent of the graduating class .

Senior Thesis Prize

Global Liberal Studies only

Each year, outstanding thesis work is recognized with departmental Thesis Awards in two categories, Scholarly Thesis and Creative Thesis. Seniors who submit their thesis by the official thesis submission deadline are automatically considered; late theses are not eligible. One scholarly thesis and, as applicable, one creative thesis is recognized in each concentration, as selected by a concentration sub-committee and guided by instructor recommendations. Each concentration may also name  honorable mentions in the Scholarly and/or Creative Thesis categories at their discretion. 

Valedictorian and Banner Bearer

Global Liberal Studies only

Each year the graduating senior with the highest cumulative GPA is named Valedictorian of the graduating class. The Valedictorian serves as class representative for receiving the GLS bachelor’s degree at All-University Commencement. The graduating senior with the second highest cumulative GPA is named Banner Bearer of the graduating class, and processes at both the GLS Baccalaureate Ceremony and All-University Commencement.

Global Awards & Fellowships

Global awards are competitive fellowships or scholarships intended to support outstanding students in their academic and professional endeavors. The Office of Global Awards supports undergraduate students applying for over 25 merit-based fellowships, scholarships, and educational opportunities. Interested students should refer to the fellowship options coordinated through NYU or consult with the Assistant Director of Advising & Academic Excellence in the Liberal Studies Advising Center.

Leadership and Service Awards

Alumni Ambassador Award

This award is presented to an NYU alum of the Liberal Studies Core or Global Liberal Studies, designed to honor dedication and meaningful impact within the Liberal Studies community, as well as responsibility to global challenges through engagement, innovation and/or creative practice. The honoree will demonstrate an exemplary commitment to Liberal Studies, and model positive impact for global communities.

Community Leadership Award

Global Liberal Studies only

This award is presented annually to a graduating senior on the basis of outstanding contributions to the Global Liberal Studies community. Students may be nominated for the award by Liberal Studies faculty, staff, or students.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award

This award recognizes a Liberal Studies student who demonstrates a commitment to creating a safe and supportive community for all LS students, and who celebrates diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging within LS and throughout the NYU community. This student displays exceptional efforts to promote a University environment that is free from bias and discrimination, assists in creating a welcoming environment for LS community members of diverse backgrounds, and represents diverse voices through advocacy and participation in student organizations and other initiatives. Students may be nominated for the award by Liberal Studies faculty, staff or students, and the honoree will be selected through a committee that includes the Student DEI Advisory Committee.

Global Service Award

This award is presented annually to an undergraduate student in recognition of exceptional engagement and leadership in creating a global network. The honoree will have served as a Liberal Studies ambassador abroad through participation in student activities and academics that connect Liberal Studies students and faculty across the globe; both the extent and the quality of services created will be considered. Students may be nominated for the award by Liberal Studies faculty, staff, or students.

Schwarzbach Global Impact Award

Global Liberal Studies only

This award is presented to a graduating senior based on accomplishments that have potential for meaningful global impact, responding to global challenges through scholarship, engagement, innovation and/or creative practice. The honoree, who may be selected from any concentration, will have an outstanding academic record and a demonstrated commitment to making a positive impact on global communities. Students may be nominated for the award by Liberal Studies faculty, staff, or students.

Service Ambassadors

Service Ambassadors are LS students that have demonstrated a commitment to service and civic engagement, who participate in a yearlong program partnering with organizations across New York City to volunteer on a weekly basis. LS Service Ambassadors promote awareness of social issues and service opportunities to the LS and NYU community through programming and projects. The ambassadors are usually paired together, and focus on a social justice area for the academic year (such as education, public health, food insecurity or the environment) with a community partner organization. For more information, visit the Service Programs website.

Social Impact Grants

This grant program supports applied learning experiences for students who are motivated by important questions studied in the Liberal Studies curriculum, and who connect these engagements with ongoing efforts to solve community issues. A significant element of this initiative is the opportunity students have to both reflect on social issues and their own agency, and apply what has been learned to practical, real settings. Grant recipients understand that contributing back to a particular community is both an important educational experience and critical preparation for the practice of citizenship. Project proposals must be submitted to apply for this award, which ranges from $500 to $2,000. Interested students should refer to the Social Impact Grants website.

Torch Award

This award honors outstanding service and leadership in student activities, including student organizations and School and University governance. The Torch Award is presented to an undergraduate student in recognition of the unique benefits of their service to classmates, the faculty, and the administration of Liberal Studies. This distinction intends to recognize and reward both the extent and quality of participation in student life. Students may be nominated for the award by Liberal Studies faculty, staff, or students.

Volunteer Grants

These grants help offset some of the costs associated with volunteerism, such as transportation and meal expenses for students who volunteer within the NYC community on an ongoing basis. A short application must be submitted to receive this grant, which ranges from $100 to $250. Interested students should visit the Service Programs website for an application.

Research, Presentation & Publishing Opportunities

Students also have opportunities to apply for other distinctions in other departments and programs of NYU, including but not limited to the Ranieri International Scholars Fund (Ancient Studies), Hull Fellowships (History), Summer Undergraduate Research Programs (Pre-Health), Reynolds Changemaker Challenge & Social Venture Competitions (Social Entrepreneurship), Policy Case Competition (Public Policy), the Global Engagement Symposium (NYU Global Programs), the NYU Journal of Politics & International Affairs (Politics), and many other research funds and fellowships sponsored throughout NYU. Interested students should consult with the Assistant Director of Advising & Academic Excellence in the Liberal Studies Advising Center, and review information available on the LS Research & Fellowships website.

Students may also apply to present their research at the Liberal Studies Student Research Colloquium, held annually in late March . Requests for proposals are announced in late January.

Dean’s Global Research Grant

Global Liberal Studies only

GLS students may apply for a Dean’s Global Research Grant, a competitive grant program which helps students offset travel or other extraordinary expenses associated with their senior thesis or another significant academic research project. In the Senior Thesis category, GLS seniors have the option of applying for either a Research Grant, which supports extraordinary expenses required to conduct research for a thesis; or a Production Grant, which supports creative production costs. Students may receive awards up to $2000. Applications require a faculty letter of support and, in certain cases, supporting IRB documentation. In addition, GLS sophomores and juniors may apply for an Open Research grant of up to $1200 to fund global research projects not related to the senior thesis. Interested students should refer to the Dean’s Global Research Grant webpage.


Michael L. Probst Scholarships

The Michael L. Probst Scholarships were endowed by a distinguished former NYU administrator. The awards are based solely on academic merit and are open to all LS students at the end of the freshman year. Students do not need to be eligible for financial aid to receive the award. Scholarships will be applied to tuition charges for the first semester of sophomore year. The awards of $2,500 are for one year only and are not renewable. To be eligible to apply, students must have a cumulative NYU GPA of 3.85 or better with no outstanding incomplete grades, must have earned at least 32 credits, must not have been subject to any disciplinary sanctions, and must enroll full time for the fall semester. Eligible students must submit an application that includes an essay. Applications are due in April, and award decisions are shared in the summer.

University-wide Awards

Students also have opportunities to receive other university-wide distinctions, such as the University Leadership Honors Course, Bell Public Service Scholarships, Dalai Lama Fellowships, Gallatin Human Rights Fellowships, SSC Conference Fund Grants and Wasserman Center Internship Grants, among many other awards. Faculty, staff, and, in some cases, fellow students can nominate undergraduates for these distinctions. To learn more, students can speak with an academic advisor or visit the Research & Fellowships website.