The bachelor’s degree cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude is awarded at graduation on the basis of a student’s general performance in courses taken at Yale. At Commencement, General Honors are awarded to no more than 30 percent of the class. The bachelor’s degree is awarded summa cum laude to no more than the top 5 percent of the graduating class, magna cum laude to no more than the next 10 percent of the graduating class, cum laude to no more than the next 15 percent of the graduating class. Eligibility for General Honors is based on the grade point average (GPA) earned in courses taken only at Yale, with letter grades carrying the following values:
Marks of CR in courses taken on a Credit/D/Fail basis are not included in the calculation of grade point averages. Marks of W, for Withdrawal, carry no course credit, and do not figure in a grade point average.
Distinction in the Major
Distinction in the Major is conferred at graduation on any senior who, on nomination by the student’s department or program, and with the concurrence of the Committee on Honors and Academic Standing, merits such an award for the quality of work completed in the major subject.
Distinction is awarded to students who have earned grades of A or A– in three-quarters of the credits in the major subject or program and who have earned a grade of A or A– on the senior departmental examination, senior essay, or senior project. All courses taken for the major are included in these calculations for Distinction in the Major. Grades of F and marks of CR in courses taken Credit/D/Fail are included as non-A grades. Marks of W, for Withdrawal, which carry no course credit, and marks of P, for Pass, do not figure in the calculation for Distinction.
Phi Beta Kappa
Election to Phi Beta Kappa is based on the percentage of grades of A earned at Yale. The grade point average (GPA) is not a factor. Marks of CR in courses taken Credit/D/Fail are counted as non-A grades. Marks of P in courses that are graded only on a Pass/Fail basis, such as independent study courses, are not included in the calculations. Marks of W, for Withdrawal, carry no course credit, and do not figure in the calculation for Phi Beta Kappa. Grades earned outside Yale, including those earned during study abroad other than at Yale-in-London, are also not included in the calculation. Further information about the criteria for election and about the Yale chapter can be found on the Yale Phi Beta Kappa Website.
For a list of the numerous prizes open annually to students in Yale College, consult the Yale Prizes Website.