Honors and Awards
Academics and Research
PDF Version: AA Honors and Awards Policy
- Authority: C.R.S. § 23-54-102, et seq. (2019) authorizes the Trustees of Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver) to establish rules and regulations to govern and operate the University and its programs. The Trustees authorize the President of MSU Denver, who subsequently authorizes the Provost, to approve, administer, and interpret policies pertaining to the academic functions of the University.
- Purpose: This policy states the criteria for undergraduate students to receive the honors designation on the transcript for superior academic ability at the University.
- Scope: This policy applies to MSU Denver undergraduate students.
- Responsible Executive: Chief Academic Officer
- Responsible Administrator: Associate Vice President for Curriculum and Academic Effectiveness
- Responsible Office: Academic Affairs Office
- Policy Contact: Associate Vice President for Curriculum and Academic Effectiveness, 303-615-1900
III. Policy Statement
MSU Denver annually recognizes students who show outstanding leadership and service to the University and community, excellence in scholastic achievement, and outstanding personal character and integrity. Due to wide variation in definition and interpretation of class rank, the University does not (by policy) rank its students or graduates. Recognition of students includes: The President’s Award (one senior); The Provost’s Award (one senior); Special Service-Student Affairs Award (one senior); Outstanding Fall Graduate Award (one senior); Outstanding Student Awards (one senior from each College/School); American Association of University Women (AAUW) Award (senior woman). Other awards include Special Service Award for Exceptionally Challenged Students, Charles W. Fisher Award and the Colorado Engineering Council Award.
In addition to annual awards, students with outstanding academic achievements are recognized by being named on the University’s Honor Lists. The President’s Honor List contains the names of students who, at the time of computation, have achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.85 or higher. The Provost’s Honor List contains the names of students who, at the time of computation, have achieved a cumulative GPA of between 3.50 and 3.84, inclusively. Computation will occur initially when the student has completed between 30 and 60 credits at MSU Denver, then again between 60 and 90 credits, and finally after more than 90 credits. Honors will only be computed three times in a student’s academic life at the University.
Graduation honors are awarded to students who have demonstrated superior academic ability in their baccalaureate degree while attending MSU Denver. Honors designations are determined according to the following criteria:
- Summa Cum Laude - Top five percent of graduates within each school or college with cumulative MSU Denver GPA of no less than 3.65.
- Magna Cum Laude - Next five percent of graduates within each school or college with cumulative MSU Denver GPA of no less than 3.65.
- Cum Laude - Next five percent of graduates within each school or college with cumulative MSU Denver GPA of no less than 3.65.
To determine each honors category, GPAs from the previous spring semester graduates are arranged in rank order. This rank ordering is then used to determine the honors category thresholds for the following fall, spring, and summer graduates. Current rankings are located on the commencement website.
The honors designation is calculated twice: once for the commencement ceremony; and again at the end of the final semester for the official designation.
To qualify for graduation honor recognition at the commencement ceremony, a student must have the specified GPA and must have completed a minimum of 50 semester hours of academic credit at MSU Denver by the end of the term of graduation. UCD Pooled classes and other transfer credits are not considered when determining honors. Recognition at the commencement ceremony does not guarantee final honors designation on the official record. Honors announced at the commencement ceremony will be based upon a preliminary calculation not including grades from the term of graduation.
Students who qualify for recognition at the ceremony will be sent a letter from the dean’s office of the School in which their major is located. This letter authorizes students to purchase honor cords at the time they rent their caps and gowns.
Graduates with an Individualized Degree Program major will be identified for honors purposes within the School most prominent in their major.
Official Honors Designation
Grades earned for the graduating term will affect honors. GPAs are not rounded up (for example: a GPA of 3.149 is not rounded to 3.15). The Official Honors designation will be calculated following the processing of final grades. This recalculation will take into consideration any grade changes submitted to the Registrar’s Office during your graduating term. Only the official honors designation is added to the final transcript and diploma. A student must maintain the specified GPA and must complete a minimum of 50 semester hours of academic credit at MSU Denver by the term of graduation. UCD Pooled classes and other transfer credits are not considered when determining honors.
Honors designations are added to the student’s official academic record; no other notification will be sent. For additional information regarding graduation honors, contact the Provost's Office at 303-615-1900.
IV. Policy History
- Approved by: Provost
- Effective: July 1, 2019
- Review: This policy will be reviewed every three years or as deemed necessary by University leadership.