Please note: This is NOT the most current catalog.

Academic Honors


Each semester, the Office of the Registrar and Academic Advising compiles for the Office of the Dean of the College a dean’s list, which includes the names of all students with a GPA of 3.75 or above for that semester. To be named to the dean’s list, students must have successfully completed three (3.00) or more graded credits in the semester.


St. Olaf students may complete the requirements of a major or concentration "with distinction." Departmental distinction is an academic honor conferred by the college according to specific criteria established by the department or program responsible for certifying the major or concentration. Distinction is awarded upon completion of all graduation requirements.

Distinction is a recognition of the academic or artistic excellence of a student's work in the major or concentration. Distinction is a selective award: normally, no more than ten percent of a department's or program's majors or concentrators receive distinction. Distinction recognizes consistent excellence in the major field or concentration: normally, candidates for distinction maintain a GPA in the major or concentration of 3.50 or higher. Distinction recognizes excellence in a particular academic undertaking: normally, the recognition is based in part on student work beyond the minimum requirements for the major or concentration, usually in the form of a distinction project or thesis representing a considerable achievement. Distinction is not generally conferred on the basis of service to departments or programs. Faculty members of the department or program determine specific criteria for distinction. Interested students should contact the appropriate department or program for more information. Not every candidate receives distinction.

A student may receive distinction in more than one major or concentration if the student completes separate projects, one for each major or concentration. A single project may suffice if the project or thesis conforms to all relevant departments’ or programs’ guidelines and constraints described for distinction. Students seeking to submit a single project or thesis for distinction in more than one department or program must gain the approval of all relevant departments and/or programs before undertaking work on the project or thesis.

Each department or program submits to the registrar the names of all students who have been awarded distinction. Indication of distinction appears in the commencement program and on the academic transcript.


Honors are determined by the cumulative grade point average (G.P.A.). They are conferred at commencement and recorded on the final transcript and the diploma.

Honors requirements are as follows:

3.60 — cum laude
3.75 — magna cum laude
3.90 — summa cum laude

In determining honors, a grade point average is never rounded up or down.

Honor designations are not recorded on student transcripts prior to graduation from the college.


On Honors Day each May, students are recognized in three categories: election to Phi Beta Kappa, special honors, and general honors by class. General honors include all full-time students who have a cumulative grade point average through Interim of the current academic year at the level of cum laude or above (see HONORS).

The names of the honorees are posted on the registrar's Web site at least three weeks prior to Honors Day.


Standards for election to Phi Beta Kappa and other honor societies are the prerogative of the honor societies, not the college.