Recommendations for Honors

The Department of Linguistics determines whether a graduating senior should be recommended for highest honors, high honors, or honors based on the following distribution of points:

  • Honors thesis evaluation: 50%
  • Courses counted toward Linguistics concentration: 50%

Other courses are not taken into consideration.

Students should bear in mind that the departmental recommendation to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) is not the same as the degree awarded by the FAS. A few days before Commencement, the FAS convenes to determine whether each honors candidate will graduate Summa cum laude, Magna cum laude, or Cum laude. The distinction between departmental honors (“highest honors”, etc.) and college honors (“Summa cum laude”, etc.) is an important one, because some of the candidates who have been recommended for “highest honors” by their departments may not be awarded Summa cum laude, for reasons described below. Therefore, notification by the Head Tutor that one has received “highest honors” from the department should not be taken to imply that one will graduate Summa cum laude.

Generally speaking, a student who has received a departmental recommendation of highest honors, and whose GPA for all courses counted towards the A.B. degree is 3.33 (14 in the old scale) or above, has a good chance of being awarded Summa Cum Laude. The cutoff GPA varies from year to year, however. Some students with a very high GPA may fail to be awarded a Summa because their course work lacks sufficient breadth and depth, while others with a lower GPA may be awarded a Summa if the breadth and depth of their course work is sufficiently impressive. (Requirements for Summa degrees are described in more detail in other college publications.)

A student who has received a departmental highest honors recommendation, who has failed to be voted for a Summa, graduates “Magna cum laude with highest honors in Linguistics."

Note again that the departmental recommendation for highest honors does not automatically translate to graduation with a Summa cum laude. The final decision on the latter degree rests with the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.