Latin honors and eligibility

Am I qualified to graduate with honors?

To graduate with honors, you should be a College of Arts and Sciences student working toward a bachelor's degree at CU Boulder and meet your department's eligibility requirements.

  • Departmental Honors: Students pursuing Departmental Honors must write a thesis within a major they have declared. Students may not write a thesis in a minor.
  • General Honors: for General Honors projects (interdisciplinary research) you must fulfill the Honors Program's eligibility criteria.
  • Second Bachelor's Degree: Students who have already earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado Boulder or any other institution should contact honors@colorado.edu for eligibility approval before beginning the honors project.
  • BA/MA: Students on a BA/MA degree plan must complete all honors requirements, including the thesis defense, during the BA portion of their program. Latin honors will be affixed to the BA portion of the degree when the BA/MA is awarded.
  • Distributed Studies: Students pursuing a Distributed Studies degree may choose to do a General Honors thesis project or select an appropriate topic in one of their participating departments (contingent on departmental approval). The honors designation would be attached to the Distributed Studies degree.

Students who have majors outside of the College of Arts and Sciences should contact their own school or college about any honors options available. If your school or college doesn't currently have an honors option, we encourage you to ask them to provide one!

Can I graduate with Latin honors without writing a thesis?

Not within the College of Arts and Sciences. You may be able to graduate with Distinction which, unlike Latin honors, is entirely based on GPA. Students who are graduating with Distinction receive an email notification from the Dean's Office during the last month of the semester.

If I complete the thesis process, am I guaranteed to graduate with honors?

Earning honors is not guaranteed. The writing of a thesis is a serious undertaking, and in every case the thesis must be of very high quality to warrant honors.

What are the GPA requirements for graduating with a certain level of Latin honors?

There are GPA requirements, but grades are only one part of the equation.

• A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.3 qualifies a student to be considered for honors, cum laude;

• A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 qualifies a student to be considered for honors, magna cum laude;

• A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.8 qualifies a student to be considered for honors, summa cum laude.

While these guidelines qualify a student for consideration for a given level of honors, any honors earned are also based on the quality of the thesis and thesis defense. Depending on the quality of the thesis and thesis defense, a defense committee may recommend an honors designation other than what the guidelines suggest.

Can I graduate with honors in the summer?

Yes, but you have to follow the thesis deadlines from the spring semester prior to your graduation in order to be awarded honors.

Can I get funding for my research?

We encourage all students writing honors theses to get in contact with the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program.

What do I do if I need to defer my thesis project/no longer want to defend my thesis?

Let us know! No matter where you are in the process, please tell us if you've decided to defer or not defend your thesis. There are no penalties if you choose not to defend your thesis; we understand that graduating students have a lot going on.

I'd like to defer my graduation in order to finish my thesis. Do I have to be enrolled in classes?

Students who defer their graduation in order to finish an honors thesis do not have to be enrolled in classes. We always recommend that students who choose to defer contact the Bursar's Office to learn about any student fees that may apply. If you have already applied for graduation but wish to defer to finish a thesis, it's critical that you withdraw your graduation application in order to remain eligible. Honors cannot be awarded after a student graduates.

How are honors notated on the diploma and transcript?

Latin honors are included on the diploma and will also appear with the graduation data in the Degrees, Certificates and Licensure section of the transcript (only available after degrees are posted).

 

Honors Theses

How long are honors theses?

Each discipline has its own standards - what's important is the content, not the length.

I have more than one major. Can I submit the same thesis for honors in multiple majors?

No. Students who have multiple majors in the College of Arts and Sciences can choose to write a thesis in each major in order to graduate with honors in each discipline. No matter how many theses you write, you must have defended them and been awarded honors before you graduate.

Students on a BA/MA degree plan must complete all honors requirements, including the thesis defense, during the BA portion of their program. Latin honors will be affixed to the BA portion of the degree when the BA/MA is awarded.

Where can I find out more about copyright and fair use?

The Scholarly Communications page on the Libraries' website is a good place to start. They also point to the Copyright Advisory Office at Columbia University, where there are a number of tools that can help you navigate what is and is not fair use. You can also visit the American Library Association Fair Use Evaluator.

Thesis Advisors and Committees

How do I find a thesis advisor?

When you're thinking about thesis advisors, make sure that anyone you ask to advise your thesis (or serve in another role on your committee) is a regular full-time faculty member or a multi-year contract instructor at the University of Colorado Boulder. In terms of rank, this means Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Senior Instructor or Instructor. Graduate students are not allowed to serve on thesis committees.

There are three good signs that a professor might make a good thesis advisor for you: that they are well-versed in the particular field of study you wish to investigate, that you’ve taken or are taking a class or lab with them and are doing well, and that you like them as a person and would be excited to work with them.

When you meet with prospective thesis advisors, don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. Be direct: ask how often they'd be willing to meet with you, how many drafts they'd be able to read and critique, and what kinds of expectations they would have of you. They will probably also have questions for you about why you'd like to write a thesis, what you hope to get from the process, and why you'd like to work with them.

If you're having trouble finding a thesis advisor, talk to your Honors Council representative.

What role should my advisor play in my thesis project?

Your advisor should help you find focus for your thesis and encourage your efforts.

Work with them to make sure that you are staying focused on your topic, to strengthen weak areas of your thesis, and for general advice. Are you writing this thesis to publish your research, refine your skills, demonstrate your knowledge of a particular subject, or to more deeply study a topic or concept? Let them know right from the start. They should be able to help you define your goals in writing an honors thesis and then support you in achieving those goals.

Make sure you stay in regular contact with thesis advisor (and the rest of your committee) - the most common factor in a failed thesis attempt is a breakdown in communication between a student and their committee.

Who needs to be on my committee?

You must have at least three faculty members from the University of Colorado Boulder on your committee:

After you meet these requirements, you can have any additional members you want as long as they are eligible to serve.

To be a thesis advisor or serve on a thesis committee, one must be a regular full-time faculty member or a multi-year contract instructor at the University of Colorado Boulder. In terms of rank, this means Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Senior Instructor or Instructor. Graduate students are not allowed to serve on thesis committees.