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 distinction (summa, magna or cum as determined by the University policy on GPA) will receive their honor cord at cap and gown distribution.
    • 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 or School and are based on grade point averages at the beginning of the term. Grades from this semester (semester student is graduating in) 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/by the Step 4 deadline. After you notify the Commencement Office of the error, they will contact your college/school to determine if changes should be made.
    • Graduate Students do not have academic honors, but may wear cords awarded previously.
    • 4.0s are determined by looking at an undergraduate student's overall undergraduate studies (entire transcript/entire undergraduate career: Every undergraduate course taken must be an A or better) to determine a 4.0 GPA . 
    • Student Marshal(s): Each undergraduate College and School will identify the undergraduate student(s) with the highest GPA in their overall undergraduate studies to act as its Student Marshal. Student Marshals are recognized by their Marshal's medallion and will lead the college across the stage. Student Marshals are selected by the Commencement Office and are only official in the current semester of graduation. We have to review student records to ensure accuracy.
    • 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 Recognition of Academic Performance, see Recognition of Academic Performance

Graduation With Distinction (Undergraduates Only)

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 UofM and Overall* GPA to achieve the listed designations (it looks at institution and overall and takes the lower of the two to determine if the graduate qualifies for honors distinction):

  • 3.2500-3.4999 Cum Laude
  • 3.5000-3.7999 Magna Cum Laude
  • 3.8000-4.0000 Summa Cum Laude

Read more important information here: https://catalog.memphis.edu/content.php?catoid=22&navoid=1128#graduation-with-distinction.

The actual conferral of Graduation with Distinction  cannot be made until the student’s UofM and Overall GPA has been certified by the College/School. Transitional Academic Studies courses (DSP) are not considered in calculating eligibility for Graduation with Distinction. College level courses used to satisfy high school deficiencies will be considered in the computations to determine eligibility for Graduation with Distinction.