Magna cum laude Definition & Meaning

These characteristics are different from the drivers of academic designations. Nevertheless, an honors degree is an asset that can at least help a candidate get a foot in the door. Using Latin honors and grades is an easy way for employers to narrow the field. High grades are believed to reflect a strong work ethic, discipline, and intelligence—all of which employers value. Some schools have substituted other titles, such as “with distinction,” in place of or in addition to the traditional Latin terms.

Those witha grade point average of less than 3.8, but equal to or above 3.6, graduatemagna cum laude. Those with a GPA of less than 3.6, but equal to or above 3.4,graduate cum laude. As of 2009, only 22 graduates have received the summa cum laude honor at ITA. Latin honors are often conferred upon law school students graduating as a Juris Doctor or J.D., in which case they are generally based upon class rank or grade point average. There is no universal standard for honors degrees, though grade point average (GPA) is almost always a factor. Some schools, such as New York University, confer honors based on class rank, with the top 5% of graduates receiving summa cum laude honors, the next 10% receiving magna cum laude honors, and the 15% after that receiving cum laude honors.

It’s not uncommon for individual departments within the same university to apply different qualifying criteria, sometimes reflecting course difficulty. GPA-based determinations may be on an overall average or program major basis. Harvard University is credited with inaugurating the cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude awards back in 1866.

The ranking of students for eligibility for college honors is based on their cumulative grade point average. To be eligible for honors, you must receive letter grades for at least 72 quarter-units of course work at the University of California. Now it becomes tricky to explain with any precision what cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude mean. That’s because they mean different things to different schools in different places. It’s up to individual schools to use their own metrics, and so there are vastly wide discrepancies.

Graduates from Singapore Management University have to achieve GPAs of 3.4, 3.6 and 3.8 out of 4.3 (SMU awards 4.3 for A+ grades) respectively and without any exceptions to qualify for the Latin honors. In Mexico, cum laude (also known as mención honorífica in Spanish) is used, by the major universities, to recognize an outstanding dissertation for bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degrees. Also different awards on public and private universities are given to the student with the highest final grade average (i.e. Presea Lázaro Cárdenas [es] or Gabino Barreda Medal) and a diploma is given as a form of cum laude. But rather than receiving an award when you complete an undergraduate or law school degree, a school releases the dean’s list at the end of each quarter or semester.

For undergraduate degrees, Latin honors are used in only a few countries such as Israel, Indonesia, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines and Canada. Malta shows the Latin honors on the degree certificates, but the UK model is shown on the transcript. In addition to the numerical requirements, some colleges have other criteria, such as faculty recommendations or a requirement that students complete a certain number of advanced courses and/or write an honors thesis. Some schools, like New York University, define the GPAs that qualify for each distinction based on the top 5%, 10%, and 15% of your graduating class. Other schools, like the University of Pennsylvania, have standard GPA cutoffs like 3.4 or 3.8.

  1. We see school mottos, religious phrases, and even philosophical ideals expressed in Latin.
  2. In general, these academic credentials only matter for the first or second job.
  3. Malta shows the Latin honors on the degree certificates, but the UK model is shown on the transcript.
  4. As a result of all of these factors, colleges and universities can vary widely in how many such honors they bestow on their graduates each year and how difficult or easy it is to obtain them.
  5. Many universities have honors courses and programs that allow you to take a more advanced curriculum.
  6. If you’re wondering whether receiving magna cum laude is a good thing, the answer is yes.

If you really want to dig deeper, there are details on university websites. Information about qualifying honors criteria — Latin or other systems — is typically posted on individual college websites. It may be found in a section devoted to graduation or commencement policies. Some colleges, including Stanford University, do not offer Latin honors. Stanford bestows a single “with distinction” title on the 15% of students with the highest GPA in each graduating class.

The guidelines to achieve the magna cum laude level of distinction vary from one institution to another. Each college or university sets their own criteria for students to meet in order to obtain this level of achievement. Other requirements could include the submission of an honors thesis for evaluation or being part of an honors program. Different versions of the tri-level Latin honors system are most commonly implemented for undergraduate degrees at colleges and universities, primarily in the United States. Some U.S. high schools also award cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude.

Why Do We Use Latin Honors?

At colleges where Latin honors are awarded at three levels of distinction, students with a 4.0 would likely graduate summa cum laude, as long as any additional criteria were met. Whether you graduate cum laude or are in the top 1% of your class, graduating with a high level of distinction is an incredible personal achievement. The difference between magna cum laude versus summa cum laude doesn’t undermine your achievement. As discussed previously, no uniform standards are in force for awarding the Latin distinctions of cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude. Individual schools can set their own criteria based on GPA, class ranking, and/or other requirements.

Baccalaureate Honors

Involve yourself in community outreach initiatives, mentorship programs, and volunteer opportunities your university offers to be considered for a chancellor award. Depending on the distinction your school offers you, they’re recognizing you with the highest praise, with great praise, or with praise. If you’d like to find the most success in your academic career, check out the rest of our site at The Honor Society.

Magna Cum Laude: Its Meaning, Requirements, and Value

Your school may also have a yearly dean’s list based on your cumulative GPA over an academic year. The phrase means “with great honor,” and you must have a higher GPA to graduate magna cum laude than to graduate cum laude. However, its requirements are not as strict as those needed to graduate summa cum laude. Typically, in the American education system, the summa cum laude (“with highest distinction”) honor is awarded to a small number of students who are considered to represent the very top of their class. While the criteria for awarding them can vary from institution to institution, each of these so-called Latin honors signifies a high level of educational achievement. It is widely understood in both the academic and employment worlds that they are bestowed on only a select number of students and represent a badge of excellence.

The criteria by which each of these distinctions is achieved is set by each institution. These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word ‘magna cum laude.’ Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. These degrees are mostly used when a doctorate is conferred, not for diplomas, bachelor’s or master’s degrees, for which numerical grades between 1.0 (“very good”) and 4.0 (“pass”), and 5.0 (“fail”), are given. In the U.S. the Latin honors system can be traced back to 1869 at Harvard University. Only a few other countries, such as Indonesia, Israel, and Canada also use this academic award system.

Some schools, like Baylor University’s School of Law, base eligibility on earning a certain GPA. Other schools, like Duke University, require you to have a GPA that places you in the highest percentiles of your class. The dean is the person in charge of the organization of your college, like the School of Medicine or College of Letters and Sciences. If you think you may have a chance of graduating with Latin honors, you may be wondering how you calculate your GPA. Having a high honors degree can be important for job candidates in certain fields.

In addition to the following baccalaureate honors, students may also be eligible for Annual and Quarterly Dean’s Lists. Whether you’re a college student or soon-to-be graduate, the National Honor Society isn’t just a nationally recognized society. Joining offers plenty of networking opportunities to grab the attention of hiring managers, potential employers, and mentors. The chancellor holds the highest position at a university and is in charge of overseeing the entire school. Chancellor’s awards are recognitions of excellence that go beyond academic performance. For example, at the University of San Francisco, several chancellor awards recognize leadership, community advancement, and public service.

Rather than using GPA, some colleges award Latin honors based on a student’s class rank. For example, New York University confers summa cum laude honors on the top 5% of its undergraduate class, magna cum laude on the next 10%, and cum laude on the next 15%, meaning that 30% of its graduates receive one of the three honors. At Northwestern University’s Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences, summa cum laude goes to graduates in the top 5%, magna cum laude to the next 8%, and cum laude to the magna cumme laude next 12%, for a total of 25%. In Latin, “summa cum laude” means “with the highest praise” or “with highest honors.” While a summa cum laude GPA varies for each institution, it’s the highest academic distinction you can earn. Students who graduate summa cum laude have cumulative GPAs close to 4.0 and perform in the top percentiles in their graduating class. Policies for honors-based distinctions other than cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude vary from one college to the next.

Summa cum laude meaning

The differences here are clear, but if you are seeking to attract graduates from certain degree programmes, you should quickly gain an appreciation for the differences in degrees across various educational institutions. Elsewhere, there are applications in a handful of countries, notably Indonesia, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. Although some Canadian institutions have adopted the Latin honors scheme, variations of the UK undergraduate grading classification model, using English terminology, are more widely used. The same goes for Australia, Bangladesh, Barbados, Canada, Georgia, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, and many other countries. Students who graduate with honors may wear stoles of a distinct color or some other designation during commencement ceremonies, and their honors may be cited when their names are read. For instance, to be awarded summa cum laude at the University of Pennsylvania, students must have a 3.8 GPA or higher.

Take your learning and productivity to the next level with our Premium Templates. Requirements are also subject to change and may differ among academic programs at the same institution. Harvard, however, appears to have been unmoved by that argument and continues to award Latin honors as of this writing. A complete list of Baccalaureate Honors for UW Tacoma and additional details are provided on the UWT website. A complete list of Baccalaureate Honors for UW Bothell and additional details are provided on the UWB website.

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