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. Recipients are determined at the end of the spring semester and after receipt of all grades. The grade point average within the highest five percent of the year’s graduating majors within each school is recommended for the summa cum laude honor. The grade point average included within the next highest 10 percent is used to determine those eligible to graduate with the magna cum laude honor. Finally, the grade point average included within the next 15 percent is used to determine those majors eligible to graduate with the cum laude honor. Thus, approximately 30 percent of each graduating class, distributed approximately evenly across all schools, receives Latin Honors on graduation.
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 his or her 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.