Honors and Awards

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 (both B.S. programs), criminal justice, 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.

Degree with Honors

University-wide Latin 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.

Latin 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.

Dean’s List

A full-time student shall be placed on the Dean’s List of Distinguished Students for a particular semester if the following conditions are met: Within the award semester, matriculated students must have completed at UAlbany 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 UAlbany 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.

Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence

Undergraduate and graduate students are nominated for this distinction by each college and university in the State University of New York system. 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.

Presidential Undergraduate Award for Research

The Presidential Undergraduate Award for Research was established to encourage undergraduate research and scholarship and to recognize the high quality of work being conducted by undergraduate students at the University at Albany. Juniors and seniors who demonstrate outstanding scholastic ability, and who are enrolled full-time are eligible for the award. Applicants must submit a paper or project in their major field of study, which originated in an upper-level course or independent study under the direction of a UAlbany faculty member. The project or paper must be initiated and completed within a timeframe (usually from May of one year to May of the following year). For full information, please refer to http://www.albany.edu/research/32480.php

Presidential Honors Society

The Presidential Honors Society is unique to the University at Albany. The PHS has a strong service focus and seeks to "create a true honor society through service to the campus and community that brings prestige to the University, the individual, the organization and its members."

President's Award for Leadership

These honors recognize and reward undergraduate/graduate students and organizations that have made significant contributions to enhance the quality of life at the University at Albany. Recipients will have demonstrated a variety of accomplishments including extraordinary leadership, service, academic achievement, and involvement with the University community.

National Honoraries and Honor Societies

Chi Alpha Epsilon

Chi Alpha Epsilon is the official honor society of the Educational Opportunies Program (EOP), C-Step, and Project Excel.

National Society of Collegiate Scholars

Membership is offered to first and second year college students with outstanding academic achievement. NSCS offers students access to scholarships, community service, career resources and leadership opportunities. NSCS also provides students with a network of other members and alumni on their campus and across the country. NSCS invites students who have achieved a cumulative 3.4 GPA in their first or second year class on their campus to join as lifetime members.

Omicron Delta Kappa 

Omicron Delta Kappa, the National Leadership Honor Society, organizes students, staff, and faculty who, while excelling in their academic and professional work, have contributed in special ways to the University at Albany. The society recognizes leaders in the areas of scholarship, athletics, college and community service, social and religious activities, campus government, journalism, speech and the mass media, and the creative and performing arts.

Phi Beta Kappa

Students compiling a distinguished academic record at the 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 exceptionally 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.

Consideration will be given to courses of a liberal nature, even though they may be offered outside the College of Arts and Sciences. 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.

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 and fine arts (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.

Tau Sigma

Tau Sigma is a national honors society specifically for transfer students.

Field Specific Honor Societies

Membership in national and international honors societies is available to qualified students within certain disciplines. Interested students should contact the appropriate dean or department chair for further information. Listed below are some of the societies active at UAlbany.

Beta Alpha Psi is an international honors society for accounting.

Kappa Delta Pi is an international honors society for education.

Lambda Alpha is a national honors society for anthropology.

Lambda Pi Eta is a national honors society for communication.

Pi Sigma Alpha is a national honors society for political science.

Psi Chi is a national honors society for psychology.

Sigma Tau Delta is a national honors society for English.