Honors, Awards, and Prizes
Departmental/Major Honors Programs
In an effort to provide challenging and alternative curricular options to its best undergraduates, the University encourages its academic departments and programs to offer high quality honors programs. The main focus of the honors degree is the honors project, which is conceived as an original piece of written research or a creative project submitted in the senior year. Currently, honors programs exist in the following majors: actuarial & mathematical sciences, Africana studies, anthropology, art, art history, atmospheric science, biology, biochemistry and molecular biology (interdisciplinary), chemistry, Chinese studies, computer science (all three programs), documentary studies (interdisciplinary), East Asian studies, economics, English, geography, history, Japanese studies, journalism, Latin American studies, linguistics, mathematics, Medieval and Renaissance studies (interdisciplinary), nanoscale engineering, nanoscale science, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, public policy, Puerto Rican studies, rhetoric and communication, sociology, Spanish, and women’s studies. Descriptions of these programs may be found under the academic unit offering the program.
Students who complete an honors program may receive a special honors certificate upon the recommendation of their major department.
Degree with Honors
University-wide honors are conferred at graduation. A student will be graduated: Cum Laude with an average equal to or greater than 3.25 but less than 3.50; Magna Cum Laude with an average equal to or greater than 3.50 but less than 3.75; Summa Cum Laude with an average equal to or greater than 3.75.
Honors Residence Criteria: For graduation with honors, students must have completed a minimum of 56 credits in courses for which they registered at this University, including a minimum of 40 University at Albany credits graded on the A-E basis.
Grade Changes After Graduation Affecting Honors: Students who have received a change of grade following graduation may appeal for graduation with honors through the Registrar's Office.
A full-time student shall be placed on the Dean’s List for a particular semester if the following conditions are met. Within the award semester matriculated students must have completed at Albany a minimum of 12 graduation credits in courses graded A–E, with no grade lower than a C, and with no incomplete (I) grades. Once an incomplete grade has been changed to a grade not lower than a C, the student may file an appeal for inclusion on the Dean's List with the Committee on Academic Standing of the Undergraduate Academic Council. For a student’s first matriculated semester at the University, the student's semester average must be 3.25 or higher; for all other students, the semester average must a 3.50 or higher.
Dean’s Commendation for Part-Time Students
A part-time student shall receive the Dean’s Commendation for Part-Time Students for a particular semester if the following conditions are met: Within the award semester matriculated students must have completed at Albany a minimum of 6 graduation credits in courses graded A–E, with no grade lower than a C, and with no incomplete (I) grades. Once an incomplete grade has been changed to a grade not lower than a C, the student may file an appeal for inclusion on the Dean's Commendation for Part-Time Students with the Committee on Academic Standing of the Undergraduate Academic Council. For a student’s first matriculated semester at the University, the student's semester average must be 3.25 or higher; for all other students, the semester average must a 3.50 or higher.
Phi Beta Kappa
Students compiling a distinguished academic record at University at Albany, State University of New York may be elected members of the venerable (founded 1776) honorary society, Phi Beta Kappa, in their senior year; or, if they do especially well, in their junior year. To be considered for election, students must have the following:
A major in the liberal arts and sciences, with not fewer than 90 credits of liberal work among the 120 credits needed for graduation.
Completed at least 3 full semesters of work, or 45 credits, in residence at this University and be pursuing a program toward graduation.
Students pursuing a double major with courses combined from such fields as business, social welfare, or other professional schools may be considered for election in their senior year, if their course work includes at least 90 credits in the liberal arts and sciences. Consideration will be given to courses of a liberal nature, even though they may be offered outside the College of Arts and Sciences.
The breadth of a student’s program is important, as shown by the number and variety of courses taken outside the major. Students are expected to have completed at least a minimum of courses in natural science (6 credits); mathematics (3 credits; courses in statistics or with a CSI prefix qualify); social and behavioral sciences (6 credits); humanities (6 credits); foreign language (6 credits, or at least 3 credits above the introductory course; courses offered in English by foreign language programs do NOT qualify, nor does Regents equivalency). Credits earned through AP, University in the High School program coursework, or examinations can satisfy the requirements. Students must achieve a minimum GPA of 3.60, including grades for transfer credit.
Requirements for election to Phi Beta Kappa are determined by the local chapter in accordance with the national guidelines.
Every student is considered automatically, so there is no nomination process. The final choices are decided on by the full membership of the University at Albany, State University of New York Chapter, Alpha Alpha of New York.
More information on Phi Beta Kappa is available on their University at Albany chapter website, available at http://libguides.library.albany.edu/pbk.
Presidential Awards for Undergraduate Research
To encourage undergraduate scholarship and creative work, and to reward excellence and individual initiative, the University has established the Presidential Awards. The nominees for the awards will be selected on the basis of a major paper or project produced by the student in conjunction with a course or independent study, under the direction of an Albany faculty member. The project’s significance will be judged in terms of its academic quality and originality.
Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence
Undergraduate and graduate students are nominated for this distinction from across the entire State University of New York. The award is presented by the Chancellor to students who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement and have received national or international recognition for their efforts. Recipients of this high honor have typically distinguished themselves in their academic work and in a variety of other domains including athletics, service, publication, conference presentation, or artistic performance.
National Honoraries and Honor Societies
Membership in the following national honoraries and honor societies is available to qualified students. Interested students should contact the appropriate dean or department chair for further information.
Alpha Kappa Delta: Alpha Kappa Delta is a national honorary society in sociology.
Alpha Phi Sigma: Alpha Phi Sigma is the national criminal justice honor society.
Beta Gamma Sigma: Beta Gamma Sigma is the national honor society for students of business administration and accounting.
Dobro Slovo: Dobro Slovo is the national Slavic honor society.
Gamma Theta Upsilon: Gamma Theta Upsilon is the International Honor Society in Geography.
Kappa Delta Pi: is an international honor society in education.
Phi Alpha: The Alpha Gamma Chapter of Phi Alpha is an academic honorary society for undergraduate social work/welfare majors.
Phi Alpha Theta: The Chi Delta Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta is an international honor society in history.
Pi Delta Phi: Pi Delta Phi is a national honor society in French. A series of scholarships are offered to members of Pi Delta Phi in a national competition.
Pi Sigma Alpha: Pi Sigma Alpha is a national honorary society in political science.
Psi Chi: Psi Chi is the national honor society for students in psychology.
Sigma Delta Pi: The Eta Psi Chapter of Sigma Delta Pi is a national Spanish honorary dedicated to promoting Spanish language and culture in non-Spanish speaking countries.
Sigma Pi Sigma: Sigma Pi Sigma is a national honor society associated with the American Institute of Physics.
Sigma Tau Delta: Sigma Tau Delta is a national academic honor society for students of English.
Sigma Xi: Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, is a national and international honorary for those with research achievement. Undergraduates who have completed a research project or publication of note are eligible.
Tau Sigma: Tau Sigma is the national honor society specifically for transfer students.