Honors Distinction

Students participating in Commencement may wear pins, ribbons, cords and stoles that represent their institutional/academic honors distinction. Refer to our Cord and Stole Policy.  

GPA Requirements and University Honors

University honor cords are single ropes worn over the robe. The cords come in three colors — gold, crimson or white.

  • Summa Cum Laude, with Highest Distinction, 3.80 - 4.00: gold cord
  • Magna Cum Laude, with High Distinction, 3.50 - 3.79: crimson cord
  • Cum Laude, with Distinction, 3.25 - 3.49: white cord

Undergraduate students who have achieved academic honors will receive their honor cord from the college faculty marshal on the day of the ceremony, and they will be seated according to the honor conferred.

Names listed in the program with the designations Summa Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude and Cum Laude are provided by the office of the Dean of the College and are based on grade point averages at the beginning of the term. Grades from this semester will not be included in honors calculations until certification for the diploma, 2-3 months after commencement. 

You may confirm your honor designation by checking the proof of the Commencement Program. If you think there is an error, you must talk with the Commencement Office early. If the honor is incorrect, your Graduation Analyst and Commencement Office will make adjustments to the program. 

Graduate Students do not have academic honors, but may wear cords awarded previously.

Each undergraduate College and School will identify the undergraduate student with the highest GPA to act as its Student Marshal. Student Marshals are recognized by their Marshal's medallion and will lead the college across the stage.

If a student is graduating with University Honors or University Honors with Thesis, they must communicate with the Honors Program several months before Commencement to ensure the Commencement Office and the college/school knows to add this to the program and diploma information. 

For more information on the Institution's Policy on GPAs


Graduation With Distinction

Students who intend to achieve Graduation with Distinction must do the following:

1. Fulfill all University of Memphis graduation requirements.
2. Earn the following minimum grade point average on both their U of M (institution) and inclusive* GPA to achieve the listed designations:
▪ 3.2500-3.4999 Cum Laude
▪ 3.5000-3.7999 Magna Cum Laude
▪ 3.8000-4.0000 Summa Cum Laude
*Inclusive GPA refers to the combination of the student's U of M GPA and the GPA from college level transfer courses.
In cases where the student's U of M (institution) GPA and the inclusive GPA earn them different distinctions, the student will receive the lower of the two distinctions.