Academic Honors & Awards

Dean's List: At the end of each semester, in recognition of exceptional scholarship, the college compiles a list of those students whose work has been particularly worthy of commendation. Students will be cited on the Dean's List if they complete a minimum of 14 units of graded work while achieving a grade point average of 3.6 or higher for the semester. No incomplete or "N" grades may be outstanding as part of the semester record. All work must be completed and grades posted by the first day of the following semester in order to be considered for Dean's List. For spring semester courses, all work must be completed by the beginning of Summer Session II (typically mid-June).

College Honors: Upon assessment by the College Office, the AB with College Honors will be awarded to any student who achieves collegewide academic excellence as measured by a cumulative GPA of 3.6 or better through their degree completion and who does not receive Latin Honors.

Latin Honors: To be eligible for Latin Honors, students must have maintained a 3.65 or better GPA through the sixth semester and must be accepted for candidacy by their major department or program. Latin Honors candidates must enroll in such courses as their department or program may require, satisfactorily complete a significant project appropriate to the nature of the discipline, and pass such written and/or oral examinations as the department or program may set. To earn such honors, candidates must also have maintained the minimum 3.65 GPA through their final semester.

Upon certification by the department that the Honors program has been satisfactorily completed, the student may be awarded the AB cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude according to the following proportions: The top 15% in overall GPA of the full cohort of Latin Honors candidates who complete the necessary requirements of their major departments will graduate summa cum laude; the next 35% magna cum laude; and the next 50% cum laude.

To be eligible for Latin Honors, transfer students must have earned a minimum of 48 letter-graded Washington University units. Grades earned at other institutions do not figure in the calculation of minimum averages required for eligibility for Latin Honors.

Phi Beta Kappa: For more than 200 years, election to Phi Beta Kappa has been a distinctive recognition of intellectual accomplishment in the liberal arts and sciences. The Washington University chapter, Beta of Missouri (established in 1913), strives to enhance worthy intellectual endeavors and to recognize individual achievement.

Candidates for Phi Beta Kappa should have demonstrated both superior scholarship and breadth and depth of interest in the liberal arts. Study of a foreign language and of mathematics, while not required, strongly enhances candidacy. Extensive study in pre-professional fields detracts from candidacy.

Students do not apply for Phi Beta Kappa; rather, each year, the Washington University chapter elects students into membership from the College of Arts & Sciences. The chapter also gives the annual Burton M. Wheeler Sophomore Book Award for distinguished achievement during the first three semesters. Selection committees are composed of Washington University faculty who are members of Phi Beta Kappa.

Departmental Prizes and Awards

Several departments recognize the superior achievement of graduating seniors with election to the honor societies of their major fields. These honor societies include Sigma Gamma Epsilon for earth, environmental, and planetary sciences students; Omicron Delta Epsilon for economics students; Delta Phi Alpha for German students; Phi Alpha Theta for history students; Sigma Iota Rho for international and area studies students; Pi Mu Epsilon for mathematics students; Mu Phi Epsilon for music students; Pi Sigma Alpha for political science students; and Psi Chi for psychological & brain sciences students.

Departments may recognize work a student has accomplished within the major by awarding the major with highest distinction, high distinction, or distinction.

In a number of academic fields, special recognition is given to students whose accomplishments have been exceptionally noteworthy. The majority of such awards carry modest monetary prizes and include the following, listed alphabetically by department:

  • Best Essay on Any Subject Related to African-American Culture and Life in the United States (African and African-American Studies)
  • Henry Hampton Prize for Best Civil Rights Essay
  • James Baldwin Essay Prize for Best Essay on African-American Culture and Life in the United States
  • Julius Nyerere Essay Prize for Best Essay on African Culture and Life
  • Louis Lomax Journalism Prize in African and African-American Studies
  • Ralph Bunche Prize for Best Political Science Essay about Africans or African Americans
  • Sylvia Wynter Essay Prize for Best Essay on African Culture and Life Outside of the United States
  • Lynne Cooper Harvey Undergraduate Writing Prize in American Culture Studies
  • John W. Bennett Prize to the Outstanding Graduating Senior in Anthropology
  • Mark S. Weil Prize for Distinction in Art History and Museum Practice
  • Murphy Family Prize for Outstanding Honors Thesis in Art History and Archaeology
  • Yale Book Prize for Distinction in Art History and Archaeology
  • Harrison D. Stalker Prize in Biology
  • Marian Smith Spector Prize for Outstanding Graduate in Biology
  • John C. Snowden Prize for Outstanding Senior in Chemistry
  • The Hemholtz Award in Chemistry
  • The Lipkin Award in Chemistry
  • The Wahl Award in Chemistry
  • The Weissman Award in Chemistry
  • Stanley Spector Memorial Award for Outstanding Paper in East Asian Languages and Cultures
  • Ansehl Prize for Excellence in Chinese
  • Yukiko Takahashi Prize for Excellence in Japanese
  • Carl Conrad Prize for Excellence in Classical Studies
  • Eugene Tavenner Prize for Excellence in the Study of Classics
  • Edward Weltin Award for Excellence in the Study of Ancient History
  • Liselotte Dieckmann Prize for Excellence in Comparative Literature
  • William H. Matheson Prize for Excellence in Comparative Literature
  • A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Competition Award
  • Annelise Mertz Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Modern Dance
  • Ian D.W. Cramer Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Dance
  • John J. Jutkowitz Memorial Prize for Outstanding Contributions in Performing Arts
  • Margaret Ewing Memorial Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Acting
  • Stephen H. Duncan Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Design and Technical Theatre
  • Courtney Werner Memorial Prize for Outstanding Academic Achievement in Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences
  • Ernest L. Ohle Jr. Award for Outstanding Potential in Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences
  • Margaret E. Bewig Memorial Field Camp Award for Academic Merit in Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences
  • Adam Smith Prize for Excellence in Economics
  • Hyman P. Minsky Prize for Excellence in Economics
  • Olin Prize for Excellence in Economics
  • Howard Nemerov Award Prize in Poetry
  • James Merrill Prize for Poetry
  • Julia Viola McNeely Prize for Poetry
  • Norma Lowry Memorial Prize in Poetry
  • Roger Conant Hatch Prize for Lyric Poetry
  • F. Ward Denys Prize for Critical Prose
  • Herbert E. Metz Prize for Literary Criticism
  • Leanna Boysko Prize for Best Essay in English Literature
  • Admussen Prize for Outstanding Senior Honors Thesis in French
  • Cecilia L. Hospes Scholarship for Study Abroad in Germany
  • David Bronsen Prize for Excellence in German Studies
  • Raoul Wallenberg Prize for Excellence in Swedish Studies
  • J. Walter Goldstein Prize for Best Senior Thesis in History
  • Rowland T. Berthoff Award in History
  • Shirley McDonald Wallace Prize in History
  • The Madeleine Albright Scholarship in Global Studies
  • Outstanding Senior Honors Thesis in Global Studies
  • Paul and Silvia Rava Prize for Excellence in Italian Studies
  • David and Sarah Visenberg Prize for Outstanding Thesis in Jewish Studies
  • Steven S. Schwarzschild Prize for Overall Excellence in Jewish Studies
  • Martin Silverstein Award for Outstanding Student in Mathematics/Statistics and Probability
  • Putnam Examination Prize for Mathematics
  • Ross Middlemiss Prize for Outstanding Mathematics Major
  • Antoinette Frances Dames Award for Productive Scholarship in Music
  • Clare M. Westmont Award in Music
  • The Friends of Music Award
  • Lewis B. Hilton Award in Music
  • Helen Stenner Memorial Essay Prize in Philosophy
  • Nishi Luthra Prize for Outstanding Graduate in Philosophy
  • Greg Delos Prize for Undergraduate Research in Physics
  • Robert N. Varney Prize for Excellence in Introductory Physics
  • Antoinette Frances Dames Prizes for Lower-Division Paper in Political Science
  • Antoinette Frances Dames Prizes for Upper-Division Paper in Political Science
  • Antoinette Frances Dames Prizes for Best Senior Honors Thesis in Political Science
  • Arnold J. Lien Prize for Outstanding Graduate in Political Science
  • Grossman-Alexander Prize for Outstanding Graduate in American Politics
  • Robert H. Salisbury Prize for Initiative, Leadership, and Service in Political Science
  • Todd Lewis Friedman Memorial Prize for Outstanding Work in Comparative or International Politics
  • William Benton Parshall Prize for Outstanding Paper on Women in Politics
  • Hyman Meltzer Memorial Award for Undergraduate Research in Psychology
  • John A. Stern Award for Undergraduate Research in Psychology
  • Louis G. Zelson Award for Outstanding Junior in the Spanish Program
  • Sherman Eoff Prize for Excellence in Spanish
  • Helen Power Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Award for Scholarship and Service

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