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Dean’s List of Distinguished Students in the College of Arts and Sciences

Who is eligible for the Dean’s List of Distinguished Students?

Full-time students who demonstrate academic excellence while taking a minimum of 15 credits of graded course work are eligible for the Dean’s List of Distinguished Students at the end of each semester. Courses taken on a CR/NC basis are not counted toward the 15-credit minimum. A current minimum GPA of 3.500 is necessary to be eligible for the Dean's list. Any student receiving an F, NC, or NG during the semester is not eligible to be on the Dean’s list. The notation “Dean’s List” is posted within five to seven weeks after the conclusion of the semester.

Students on an approved reduced course load from the Student Disability Access Center (SDAC) who enroll in and pass 7+ graded credits and earn a 3.5000 GPA are eligible for Dean’s List.

Note: The undergraduate schools decided to suspend Dean’s list for spring 2020, fall 2020, and spring 2021 due to the extraordinary challenges faced by students during those semesters.

Distinguished Major Programs and Commencement Honors

How do I earn a degree with distinction, high distinction, or highest distinction in the College of Arts and Sciences? 

Degrees with distinction, high distinction, and highest distinction are awarded by the Committee on Special Programs to students who have a grade point average of 3.400 or higher and have been recommended by the departments or interdepartmental programs in which they have completed a Distinguished Majors Program (DMP) or the equivalent. Distinguished majors programs require that students submit a written thesis. All degree programs in the College of Arts and Sciences offer a distinguished majors program except astronomy, drama, and medieval studies. In departments offering thesis courses, non-DMP students may have an opportunity to write a thesis; contact the specific departments for more information. The committee also awards distinction (but not high or highest distinction) to students who have not enrolled in, or who have discontinued, a DMP but who complete their degree with a grade point average of at least 3.600.

Phi Beta Kappa - Academic Honor Society

What is Phi Beta Kappa and how are students elected for this honor society?

Phi Beta Kappa is the nation's oldest and most prestigious undergraduate honors organization. For more than 200 years, the Society has pursued its mission of celebrating and advocating excellence in the liberal arts and sciences, and its distinctive emblem, a golden key, is widely recognized as a symbol of academic distinction. Students are elected to Phi Beta Kappa both for their stellar academic performance and for demonstrating a sustained intellectual commitment to the breadth and depth of the liberal arts and sciences.

Undergraduate students in the College of Arts & Sciences are elected to Phi Beta Kappa for their scholarly attainment in the liberal arts and sciences. Undergraduate members of Phi Beta Kappa are chosen from the top 10-12% of the fourth-year class. Students must have earned at least 60 credits in residence at the University of Virginia to be eligible. Pre-matriculation test credits (AP, IB, Dual Enrollment) and credits transferred from other institutions are not counted in that computation. If you meet these basic criteria you are automatically considered, so it is not necessary to apply.

Students chosen for Phi Beta Kappa not only have earned a high grade point average but also have consistently demonstrated scholarship in the liberal arts and sciences. Generally speaking, students elected will have:

  • Chosen courses that reflect a sustained scholarly commitment to the breadth and depth of the liberal arts.

  • Demonstrated proficiency in challenging advanced-level courses.

  • Carried a challenging course load (usually considered to be 14-15 credit hours most semesters).

More specifically, nominees will have taken at least two courses in each of the following areas: humanities, social sciences, and the natural or physical sciences. They will also have taken in residence at UVA at least one intermediate course in a foreign language (2020 level or higher) and at least one course in mathematics, logic, or statistics. All course work must be done in college or university (No AP/IB credits fulfill the criteria).  In sum, the students who are elected choose programs that have breadth, depth, and rigor. Extracurricular activities are not taken into account. 

We hope that students interested in being elected to Phi Beta Kappa will consider these criteria with their advisors as they select their courses throughout their years of study at the University. However, please note that individual consideration is granted each transcript and election is determined by PBK faculty, not by a set of fixed criteria.

Questions about Phi Beta Kappa or its University of Virginia chapter should be addressed to Dean Karlin Luedtke.

We also invite you to visit the website of the National Headquarters of Phi Beta Kappa to learn more about the nation’s most prestigious honor society. 

Last updated: June 6, 2024
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