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Honors and Prizes

Deans’ Honors Lists

According to UC Davis campus regulations, the quarterly Dean's Honors List includes names of students who have completed, for a letter grade, a minimum of 12 units in a specific quarter with a grade point average equal to or higher than the minimum grade point average attained by the upper 16 percent of those registered in the same class level and college during that quarter. Honors lists will be posted quarterly on deans' office websites or made available by other means and a notation of these honors will be placed on each student's permanent record by the Office of the University Registrar.

Graduation Honors

Honors at graduation are awarded to students who have a grade point average in the top percent of their college as shown in the table below. The College of Letters and Science requires that additional criteria be met for high and highest honors; see the sections below for more information.

Total Quarter
Units at UC
45-89 2% next 2% next 4% 8%
90-134 3% next 3% next 6% 12%
135+ 4% next 4% next 8% 16%

Grade point averages from the winter quarter prior to graduation are used to determine the averages that will earn an honors designation. Following are the averages for winter quarter 2016. These averages will be used through winter quarter 2017.

Grade Point Average by College

Percent Determining
Cut-Off Point

Agricultural & Environmental Sciences

Biological Sciences


Letters and Sciences


3.908 3.964

3.945 3.932

3.861 3.950 3.897 3.900

3.829 3.922 3.868 3.867

3.782 3.864 3.807 3.804

3.728 3.821 3.756 3.755

3.637 3.742 3.679 3.670

3.551 3.679 3.563 3.588

An honors notation is made on students’ diplomas and on their permanent records in the Office of the University Registrar.

College of Letters and Science. Graduation with honors requires that a student meet the appropriate grade point requirement described in the above table for all UC courses completed. Students who meet the grade point requirement for graduation with honors, and who complete the Honors Program of the College of Letters and Science, may be recommended by their departments for graduation with high honors or highest honors on the basis of an evaluation of their academic achievements in the major and in the honors project in particular. Graduating students will not be awarded honors with the bachelor's degree if more than eight units of grade I (Incomplete) appear on their transcripts. The College Committee on Honors may consider exceptions to this condition. Petitions for this purpose should be submitted to the Undergraduate Education and Advising Office.

The Honors Program of the College of Letters and Science

The Honors Program in the College of Letters and Science permits students to pursue a program of study in their major at a level significantly beyond that defined by the normal curriculum. It represents an opportunity for the qualified student to experience aspects of the major that are representative of advanced study in the field. Successful completion of the College Honors Program is a necessary prerequisite to consideration for the awarding of high or highest honors at graduation.

Entrance into the honors program requires that a student have completed at least 135 units with a minimum grade point average of 3.500 in courses counted toward the major. Other prerequisites for entrance into the program are defined by the major. The program consists of a project whose specific nature is determined by consultation with the student’s major adviser. It may involve completion of a research project, a scholarly paper, a senior thesis, or some comparable assignment depending on the major. The project will have a minimum duration of two quarters and will be noted on the student’s record by a variable unit course number or special honors course designation. Successful completion of the honors program requires that a minimum of six units of credit be earned in course work for the project.

The Honors Program of the College of Engineering

An Honors Program is available to qualified students in the Chemical Engineering, Biochemical Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering majors. The Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Honors Program is a four-year program designed to challenge the most talented students in these majors. Students invited to participate will take a one-unit honors seminar in their freshman year and will enroll in various one-unit honors courses. In the upper division, students will complete either an honors thesis or a project that might involve local industry (Chemical Engineering 194 HA, HB, HC). Students must maintain a grade point average of 3.500 to continue in the program. Successful completion of the Honors Program will be acknowledged on the student's transcript.

University Honors Program

(formerly Davis Honors Challenge & Integrated Studies Honors Program)

530-752-9797; http://honors.ucdavis.edu

The University Honors Program (UHP) is an interdisciplinary, campus-wide honors program for highly motivated students interested in enhancing their education through special courses, close contact with faculty, and dynamic interaction with academic peers. High-achieving students are invited in spring to apply for participation in the fall.

General Education Honors courses, seminars, and special study opportunities constitute the course offerings of the University Honors Program. A complete list of these courses, with course registration numbers, is made available to admitted students through the UHP office.

Approximately 185 students live in the Honors Academic Residential Community during their first year. Students ranked within the top 5% of the UC Davis entering class are invited to participate and are selected to create a balanced community of students from all four undergraduate colleges. For specific program details, see the University Honors Program website at http://honors.ucdavis.edu.

Prizes and Awards

The University Medal is the highest campus honor awarded to a graduating senior in recognition of superior scholarship and achievement. A College or School Medal is also given to the outstanding graduating student in each of the colleges and professional schools.

Departmental citations, special awards and prizes are also awarded to students for superior achievement and scholarship.

College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Each year, the outstanding graduating senior in the College is awarded a silver medal, known as the “Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Medal.” Scholastic excellence (in a minimum of six quarters at UC Davis) is the primary basis for choosing the recipient. The Mary Regan Meyer Prize is awarded to an outstanding graduate who has demonstrated expertise and an interest in serving humanity. The Charles E. Hess Award is awarded to the graduate with the most noteworthy record of public/community service while at UC Davis. The Kinsella Memorial Prize, in honor of John E. Kinsella, is awarded annually to an outstanding individual who submits his or her Ph.D. dissertation during the spring, fall winter quarter or summer session immediately preceding the due date for nomination.

College of Biological Sciences. Each year, the College Medal is awarded to one outstanding graduating senior. Academic excellence and outstanding research are the primary bases for selecting medal nominees. The Undergraduate Student of the Year is awarded to a graduating senior based on academic excellence, research activity and involvement in service to the campus or community. For additional information regarding college awards, please contact the Dean's Office or the Biology Academic Success Center.

College of Engineering. Each year, outstanding senior students in engineering are selected by their grade point averages as nominees for the M.S. Ghausi Medal. Academic excellence is the primary basis for selecting the recipient of the award. Graduate students are eligible for the Zuhair Munir Award, given to the student who has submitted the year's best engineering doctoral dissertation. The award honors Zuhair Munir, former Dean of the College and its Associate Dean for Graduate Studies for twenty years.

College of Letters and Science. Graduating seniors with a distinguished academic record may be recommended by the faculty as nominees for the College’s Herbert A. Young Medal. Each June, one medalist is selected from among the graduates of the current academic year. The Leon H. Mayhew Award is conferred upon the outstanding graduate majoring in the arts or humanities, preferably music, art, or literature. Academic excellence is the primary basis for selecting the recipients of these awards. The Lawrence J. Andrews prize is awarded to a student entering the senior year who not only has achieved academic excellence but who also has demonstrated interests outside of pure scholarship.

Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Research

These prestigious awards recognize a graduating senior who has distinguished him/herself through their excellence in undergraduate research; and faculty, postdocs or graduate students who have exceled in mentoring undergraduate researchers. The student winner, chosen for completing research or scholarship in any academic subject while at UC Davis, is announced and awarded a special plaque at commencement ceremonies in June. In conjunction with the Chancellor's Award, Professor Dean Simonton of UC Davis' Department of Psychology established an endowment for funding a cash prize for each year's student recipient. An award is also given each year to a faculty, graduate student or postdoctoral fellow mentors for their outstanding contribution to mentoring undergraduate researchers. For more information, see http://urc.ucdavis.edu/awards/chancellors_award/index.html.

Honorary Societies

Election to an honorary society is one of the most prestigious awards a student can receive. At UC Davis, the following honor societies are established as student organizations:

  • Alpha Omega Alpha (Medicine)
  • Alpha Zeta (College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences)
  • Chi Epsilon (Engineering)
  • Golden Key (All colleges and schools)
  • The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (All colleges and schools)
  • Order of Omega (Fraternities-Sororities)
  • Phi Alpha Theta (History)
  • Phi Kappa Phi (All colleges and schools)
  • Prytanean Honor Society (All colleges-undergraduate women only)
  • Psi Chi (Psychology)
  • Tau Beta Pi (Engineering)
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Updated: November 21, 2017 12:17 PM