Academic Honors

In determining an undergraduate student's eligibility for academic recognition and honors, only institution credit and grades earned in Rice University courses are considered.

Rice University recognizes outstanding undergraduate students with the following academic honors:

President's Honor Roll

The President's Honor Roll, published during Week 6 of the Fall and Spring semesters, is recognition of an undergraduate’s outstanding academic achievement that particular semester. Based on semester GPA, approximately the top 30 percent of all undergraduates receive this academic recognition. The GPA required to be on the President's Honor Roll varies each semester. The President’s Honor Roll designation is placed on the student’s academic transcript for the appropriate semester.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the President's Honor Roll, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Undergraduate students must meet the minimum GPA that is calculated from approximately the top 30 percent of all eligible undergraduate GPAs.
  • Undergraduate students must have grades, exclusive of Pass/Fail and Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory, in a total of 12 or more semester (GPA) hours and must not have any grade of F or U.
  • Students with temporary grades, such as OT and INC are not eligible until those grades have been converted. Please consult the academic calendar for term-specific temporary grade deadlines.
  • Undergraduates enrolled in four-year bachelor's degree programs are always eligible for the Honor Roll.
  • Students enrolled in five-year bachelor's/master's programs are eligible only during their first eight semesters.

Please Note: Undergraduate students who are awarded the President's Honor Roll designation and no longer meet the eligibility requirements for any reason are removed from the President's Honor Roll.

The minimum GPA requirements to qualify for the President’s Honor Roll are as follows:

Term Minimum GPA Term Minimum GPA
Fall 2020 3.938 Spring 2021 3.938
Fall 2019 3.900 Spring 2020 4.000
Fall 2018 3.874 Spring 2019 3.921
Fall 2017 3.925 Spring 2018 3.946
Fall 2016 3.918 Spring 2017 3.934
Fall 2015 3.882 Spring 2016 3.918
Fall 2014 3.866 Spring 2015 3.885
Fall 2013 3.870 Spring 2014 3.878
Fall 2012 3.858 Spring 2013 3.901
Fall 2011 3.856 Spring 2012 3.876
Fall 2010 3.842 Spring 2011 3.880
Fall 2009 3.853 Spring 2010 3.890
Fall 2008 3.843 Spring 2009 3.893
Fall 2007 3.841 Spring 2008 3.867
Fall 2006 3.835 Spring 2007 3.859
Fall 2005 3.810 Spring 2006 3.835
Fall 2004 3.745 Spring 2005 3.835
Fall 2003 3.743 Spring 2004 3.843

Timeline

The following timeline applies to the President's Honor Roll:

  1. After the deadline has passed for instructors to resolve "Incompletes" (INC) grades from the previous term, the minimum qualifying GPA for the President's Honor Roll is calculated. Please consult the academic calendar for term-specific deadlines.
  2. The Office of the Registrar will conduct a periodic review of grade changes to ensure that undergraduate students are appropriately awarded the President's Honor Roll designation. During these reviews, the President's Honor Roll designation will be added or removed from a student's record as necessary.

Designation on Student Transcripts

After the deadline has passed for instructors to resolve "Incompletes" (INC) grades from the previous term, the majority of undergraduate students who meet the President's Honor Roll eligibility requirements can expect to see the award designation on their transcript. Please consult the academic calendar for term-specific deadlines.

Publication of the Official List

The official President's Honor Roll list contains the names of students who have been awarded the President's Honor designation. This list is posted in the Office of the Registrar. Please note that students who have requested the withholding and confidentiality of their directory information will not have their names recorded on the published President's Honor Roll list.

University Honors

Latin Honors

Unlike the President's Honor Roll, which recognizes academic excellence achieved over a single semester, eligibility for the three categories of Latin Honors (summa cum laude, magna cum laude, and cum laude) are based on the cumulative grade point average for all undergraduate work at Rice.

At the end of the Spring semester and after receipt of all grades, graduating undergraduate recipients are determined by the following procedure:

  • summa cum laude — the grade point average within the highest five percent of the year's graduating majors within each school is recommended for the honor.
  • magna cum laude — the grade point average included within the next highest ten percent is used to determine those eligible to graduate with the honor.
  • cum laude — the grade point average included within the next fifteen percent is used to determine those students eligible to graduate with the honor.

Thus, approximately 30 percent of each graduating class, distributed approximately evenly across all schools, receives Latin Honors upon graduation.

The following table lists the minimum GPA for Latin Honors in Academic Year 2020-2021:

Academic Year
2020-2021
School
of
Engineering
School
of
Natural
Sciences
School
of
Humanities
School
of
Social
Sciences
School
of Music
School
of
Architecture
summa cum laude 4.0046 3.9955 3.9912 3.9997 3.9426 3.9897
magna cum laude 3.9047 3.9460 3.9464 3.9255 3.9332 3.9030
cum laude 3.8233 3.8604 3.8662 3.8483 3.8548 3.8699
Click here to view the minimum GPA required to qualify for Latin Honors in previous years.

Distinction in Research and Creative Work

Distinction in Research and Creative Work is a university award for select undergraduates, granted at Commencement, which appears on the transcript and diploma. Students must apply to be considered for the award, and the application must be supported by a letter from a faculty member (or center director). The most common path of application would be to the student's major department. A student whose research or other creative project is in a field outside of their major should submit an application to the academic department or program most closely associated with the subject matter of their project.

Eligibility for the award extends widely to include a variety of research, design, and other creative projects, as well as persistent dedication to research. Projects completed in part or entirely at other institutions or with community partners will be eligible for consideration.

Applicants must be in good academic standing at Rice at the time of their graduation. The award will be granted only to projects that produce a concrete outcome--e.g. an essay, invention, design, musical composition--and demonstrate commitment and/or achievement above and beyond the norm. Students who complete senior theses, senior design projects, or other required senior capstone projects are eligible and may submit their thesis or capstone project for consideration; however, these students do not qualify automatically for consideration for this university distinction.

Responsibility for judging applications and determining those that merit the distinction award rests with the undergraduate degree programs or departments. Annually, departments and degree granting programs publish clear expectations and criteria for the research and design projects that will be considered for the award, as well as guidelines for what constitutes research or creative work above and beyond the norm within their respective fields. Departments may designate additional requirements as well, such as completion of a research seminar or oral defense.

Ranking and Top 10 Percent

As a practice, Rice University does not "rank" the undergraduate degree recipients in a graduating class. Many of Rice's graduating undergraduates go on to graduate school. For those completing medical and law school applications, and needing the "top 10%" GPA for your graduating class, please make note of the following:

Academic Year Top 10 Percent
2020 - 2021 3.962
2019 - 2020 3.987
2018 - 2019 3.980
2017 - 2018 4.002
2016 - 2017 3.967
2015 - 2016 3.969
2014 - 2015 3.974
2013 - 2014 3.992
2012 - 2013 3.966
2011 - 2012 3.980
2010 - 2011 3.972
2009 - 2010 3.971
2008 - 2009 3.937
2007 - 2008 3.962
2006 - 2007 3.945
2005 - 2006 3.944

Questions

For more information about academic honors, refer to the Undergraduate Student Honors and Distinctions section in the General Announcements.

If you have any questions about the academic honors, please contact the Office of the Registrar at registrar@rice.edu.