Dean's list

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A dean's list is an academic award, or distinction, used to recognize the highest level scholarship demonstrated by students in a college or university. This system is most often used in North America,[1][2] though institutions in Europe,[3] Asia,[4] and Australia[5] may also employ similar measures. It is often synonymous with honor roll and honor list, but should not be confused with honours degrees.

Generally, students enrolled in college or university would need to satisfy a series of specific requirements before receiving the dean's list. These requirements may differ across institutions, but in most cases will require students to enroll in a full-time capacity, to achieve a specific grade point average within the academic term, and to maintain a specific cumulative grade point average throughout enrollment. Universities may often establish further rewards, such as annual dean's lists, for students that demonstrate even greater academic distinction. As such, a dean's list and its direct derivatives are usually intended for students that demonstrate highest scholarship across multiple disciplines, and not necessarily bound to a specific field of study.

Over time, the dean's list has also led to the creation of additional rewards with similar nomenclatures, including the provost's list,[6] the chancellor's list,[7] the rector's list (mostly limited to within Europe),[8] and the director's list.[9] The additional requirements to be met for such honors may include academic distinction within a target field of study, extracurricular achievements, continued high scholarship throughout enrollment or other noteworthy accomplishments.


Comparison to North American Latin honors[edit]

Although the dean's list and Latin honors may both be issued in recognition of high scholarship, they are mostly separate awards not intended for direct comparison. Many institutions confer three levels of Latin honors, as follows:

  • cum laude, meaning "with praise" (or "with honor")[10]
    • In North America, this honor is typically awarded to graduates in the top 25 percent (or 30 percent) of their class.[11][12]
  • magna cum laude, meaning "with great honor"
    • In North America, this honor is typically awarded to graduates in the top 10 percent (or 15 percent) of their class; this is the highest honor awarded at some institutions.
  • summa cum laude, meaning "with highest honor"
    • In North America, this honor is typically awarded to graduates in the top 1 to 5 percent of their class.

Because Latin honors are often conferred to the approximate class rank whereby students also receive the dean's list (as the top 10 to 15 percent), magna and summa cum laude are usually held in higher regard. A dean's list may therefore be seen as equal to (or more prestigious than) cum laude, depending on the specific requirements involved.

Comparison to GPA[edit]

The dean's list GPA requirements vary from school to school, although there are general standards:

  • With the GPA scale from 0 to 4, 4 being an A, the dean's list cutoff is typically around 3.5 to 3.7.[6][13][14][15][16]
  • Top 10 percent of the class in GPA[9]

Some schools maintain two lists for two different levels of GPA. For example, the dean's list records students with at least a 3.5 GPA whereas the chancellor's list records students with a higher 4.0 GPA.[17][7][18]

Different from an academic scholarship, the dean's list award does not come with any financial aid. However, students high on the dean's list are often offered extra financial aid, especially if they express a desire to transfer or exhibit more financial need.[citation needed]

Comparison to British classifications[edit]

In the United Kingdom, colleges and universities may utilize variations of the British degree classifications to distinguish students of high scholarship. The classification system as currently used in the United Kingdom, for example, was developed in 1918.[19] The system was implemented based on one from the 16th century, when the Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge implemented norm referencing to distinguish the top 25 percent of candidates, the next 50 percent, and the bottom 25 percent.[19]

Today, first-class honours is awarded, by most institutions, to any student that receives a grade of 70 percent or higher (as opposed to classification by class rank). The number of first-class honours degrees has reportedly tripled since the 1990s,[20] and there has been concern over possible grade inflation due to increasing numbers of higher-class honours degrees awarded per annum.[21][22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Dean's List | University of Pennsylvania - College of Arts and Sciences". Archived from the original on 2020-09-22. Retrieved 2017-08-02.
  2. ^ "Congratulations to each student on the Dean's List!". Ryerson University Faculty of Engineering & Architectural Science. Ryerson University. Retrieved January 11, 2017. To be eligible for consideration for the Dean's List in the Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science, undergraduate students must: 1. Carry an average unit load of 4.0 billing units or higher for the two terms of the academic year under consideration (Fall and Winter).* 2. Obtain a minimum GPA of 3.5 for the academic year under consideration. The minimum GPA applies for both the Fall and Winter terms exclusively, in addition to the student's overall GPA for the year.
  3. ^ "University of College London (UCL): Dean's Lists". Retrieved 2017-08-02.
  4. ^ "National University of Singapore (NUS): Faculty of Science Dean's List". National University of Singapore (NUS). Retrieved 2017-08-02.
  5. ^ "University of Melbourne Dean's Honours List | Faculty of Business and Economics". Retrieved 2017-08-02.
  6. ^ a b "Office of the Registrar: Provost's List". University of Wyoming. University of Wyoming. Archived from the original on September 22, 2020. Retrieved January 11, 2017. The requirements to be met are as follows: 1. Undergraduate students must complete a minimum of 6 semester hours, but fewer than 12 semester hours, of which at least 6 semester hours must be graded on the basis of A, B, C, D or F with no semester grade of X. Courses taken for audit do not count for honor roll purposes. 2. A grade point average of 3.5 or better.
  7. ^ a b "UNC Asheville Announces Fall 2016 Chancellor's List and Dean's List Students". UNC Asheville. University of North Carolina at Asheville. Archived from the original on September 22, 2020. Retrieved January 11, 2017. The Chancellor's List is made up of full-time students who have achieved a 4.0 grade point average. The Dean's List is made up of full-time students who have achieved between 3.5 and 3.99 grade point average.
  8. ^ "Rector's List". WU Vienna. Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien (Vienna University of Economics and Business). Retrieved January 11, 2017. Am Ende jedes Studiensemesters wird für beide WU Bachelorstudien eine so genannte Rector's List veröffentlicht. Dadurch zeichnet die Rektorin der Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien die besten Studierenden des jeweiligen Semesters aus und setzt ein deutliches Zeichen der Anerkennung für herausragende Studienleistungen. [At the end of each semester, a so-called rector's list is published for both WU Bachelor studies. As a result, the Rector of the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration honors the best students of the respective semester and is a clear sign of recognition for outstanding study achievements.]
  9. ^ a b "Class of 2014 Honors". Wharton SPIKE. The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Archived from the original on May 13, 2014.
  10. ^ The usual translation of laude from Latin is "with praise".
  11. ^ "Graduation Honors". NYU. New York University. Retrieved January 12, 2017. Effective with the September 2008 graduating class,... the GPA cutoffs for each category are determined by the combined GPA distribution from the preceding academic year, all graduation moments included. Summa cum laude: the GPA included within the top 5 percent of the previous year's graduating class. Magna cum laude: the GPA included within the next 10 percent of the previous year's class. Cum laude: the GPA included within the next 15 percent of the previous year's class.
  12. ^ "Latin Honors". BU, Office of the University Registrar. Boston University. Retrieved January 12, 2017. Among graduating seniors in each school or college, Latin Honors are awarded to the top 30% of the class as follows: Summa Cum Laude Top 5%, Magna Cum Laude Next 10%, Cum Laude Next 15%
  13. ^ "Dean's List". OSU.EDU. Ohio State University. Retrieved January 11, 2017. Students completing a minimum of 12 graded credit hours with a GPA of 3.5 or higher for any given term will be named to the Dean's List for that term in the college in which they are enrolled. Courses graded satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U) or pass/non-pass (PA/NP) do not count toward the minimum 12 graded hours, and a grade of U, E, EN, or NP will disqualify you from making the Dean's List, even if you meet the 3.5 criteria.
  14. ^ "Dean's List Requirements". Cornell University. 2008-06-16. Archived from the original on September 1, 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-20. Minimum GPA Required: 12 Credits --- 3.85 or higher, 13 or 14 credits --- 3.75 or higher, 15 or 16 credits --- 3.65 or higher, 17 or more credits --- 3.55 or higher
  15. ^ "Falk College Spring 2016 Dean's List". Falk College. Syracuse University. January 11, 2017. Students at the College are named to Dean's list when they have achieved a minimum of a 3.4 semester grade point average and have earned at least 12 credit hours of course work. Students receive a certificate of achievement from Dean Murphy and often cite this honor on their resume, portfolio or when applying for employment.
  16. ^ "Dean's List". University of Washington. University of Washington. Retrieved January 11, 2017. The Quarterly Dean's List includes the names of matriculated undergraduate students who are pursuing their first undergraduate degree and have attained a quarterly GPA of 3.50 in the final grades for at least 12 graded credits. Appropriate entries regarding inclusion on the Dean's List are made on the student's permanent academic record.
  17. ^ "More than 1,000 IU Southeast students honored for academics in spring semester" (Press release). New Albany, Indiana: Indiana University Southeast. June 7, 2016. Retrieved January 11, 2017. The Dean's and Chancellor's lists both recognize students who have achieved outstanding semester honors in academics. Those named to the Chancellor's List received highest academic honors in the spring semester.
  18. ^ "University Honors". Gonzaga University. Gonzaga University. Retrieved January 11, 2017. Welcome to the Gonzaga University Honors webpage, showcasing students who have achieved academic excellence and earned a place on either our President's List or the Dean's List. These lists are published twice a year following the completion of the fall and spring semesters.
  19. ^ a b Alderman, Geoffrey (14 October 2003). "Tear up the class system". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  20. ^ Paton, Graeme (10 January 2013). "Number of first-class degrees "has tripled since late 90s"". The Telegraph.
  21. ^ Shepherd, Jessica (12 January 2012). "Is the number of first-class degrees cause for concern?". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
  22. ^ Shepherd, Jessica (17 January 2012). "Is the number of first-class degrees cause for concern: Update". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 October 2012.