Jun 10, 2023  
Undergraduate Catalog 2019-2020 
Undergraduate Catalog 2019-2020 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Honors

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Recognition of Academic Achievement

Dean’s Academic Achievement Award

Students who graduate with at least 39 but fewer than 60 Columbia College hours and earn at least a 3.5 cumulative G.P.A. may be eligible for the Dean’s Academic Achievement Award upon graduation. Students must meet the following criteria:

  1. Hold an Associate in Arts or Associate in Science from a community college with an articulation agreement with Columbia College.
  2. Complete a bachelor’s degree at the Columbia College Global location of articulation. CC Global locations eligible include Crystal Lake, Elgin, Freeport, Moberly, San Luis Obispo and Mesquite.
  3. Earn a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.5 or higher.
  4. Complete 39 hours in residency with Columbia College.

Students seeking a second baccalaureate degree and to whom a Dean’s Academic Achievement Award was granted with a prior degree must complete an additional 39 hours in residency with at least a 3.5 cumulative G.P.A. to be granted a second Dean’s Academic Achievement Award.

Students eligible for Latin Honors are ineligible for the Dean’s Academic Achievement Award.

Dean’s List

The Dean’s List is an honor awarded to students who achieve academic distinction. Students may be named to the Dean’s List if:

  1. They complete at least 12 semester hours of Columbia College credit in a given semester with a GPA of 3.5 or higher.

A grade of Incomplete eliminates a student from Dean’s List consideration. A grade given to replace an Incomplete cannot be applied to Dean’s List requirements. All EAPP courses, ENGL 107 ,  MATH 104  and MATH 106  do not apply when determining Dean’s List eligibility.

Courses taken by students as pass/fail or satisfactory/unsatisfactory are not included in the minimum requirement of at least 12 semester hours.

Graduation Honors

Columbia College confers baccalaureate degrees with the following Latin honors designations:

GPA Designation
3.9 and above summa cum laude
3.75 to 3.89 magna cum laude
3.5 to 3.74 cum laude

To receive a degree with these honors, students must have completed 60 hours of credit at Columbia College.

Students seeking a second baccalaureate degree who received an Honors designation on a prior degree must complete an additional 60 hours in residency and earn the requisite GPA in order to be granted a second Honors designation.

The Presidential Award

Each Commencement, special recognition is given to students earning a 4.0 grade point average who have completed the entire course of study for the bachelor’s degree at Columbia College.

Main Campus Day Only

Honors Program


The Honors Program is designed for high-achieving students who approach the liberal arts and sciences with excitement and an appetite for engagement. Honors students will conduct genuine inquiry and collaborative learning, often across disciplines, and will engage their world meaningfully.


Through multidisciplinary and collaborative coursework, honors students respond to the significant challenges confronting the next generation of scholars. The honors courses both within the General Education curriculum and beyond it are consistent with the students’ academic abilities, preparation and goals. The courses resonate with any academic major or minor and provide opportunities for students to discover their intellectual curiosities, to engage in community service, to develop critical thinking skills, and to excel in oral and written expression.

Although faculty may propose to teach a special topics course or to designate a General Education course, favorable consideration is given to courses that cohere to one or more of the following descriptions: multidisciplinary, collaborative teaching, travel/co-curricular activities, and reading and writing intensive. Classes range in size from 5 to 20 students. Under the direction of a faculty mentor, honors students are encouraged to complete an Honors Distinction project during their final year.

Honors Students can:

  • Register for classes first
  • Live with other Honors students in a residence hall living-learning center (freshmen)
  • Take an unlimited number of credit hours (with advisor approval) and not pay an overload fee
  • Count Study Abroad credit toward honors graduation requirement


To graduate with honors, a student completes at least 18 academic hours in the Honors Program. A one semester hour community service project for Honors 310 must be completed prior to graduation. Students may enroll in three to six hours of honors credits designated for General Education and may be eligible to enroll in a maximum of 3 hours of honors credits for an Honors Distinction project. An honors student may apply no more than six hours of honors credits transferred from accredited institutions toward the completion of the Honors Program. Honors students are allowed to take up to two (2) Honors courses or sections pass/fail in completion of Honors Program requirements.

A minimum 3.25 GPA overall and a 3.0 GPA in honors courses is required to remain qualified for graduation from the Honors Program. Graduation from the Honors Program is recognized during the graduation ceremony and indicated on the final transcript.


Eligible students must demonstrate academic achievement with at least two of the following minimum standards:

  1. 3.6 high school GPA;
  2. 26 ACT or 1200 SAT or 2800 GED;
  3. 3.6 Columbia College GPA;
  4. Thirty transferrable semester hours with a 3.6 GPA.

Eligible students gain entry into the Honors Program after review of the honors program application and review by the Academic Honors and Awards Committee and Honors Program Director. Home-schooled or other nontraditional schooled students are eligible for admission to the Honors Program upon presentation of appropriate ACT, SAT or GED score and demonstration of scholarship in high school level academic coursework. Any student may petition for admission to the Honors Program if he or she has completed a minimum of 30 hours of academic credit at Columbia College with a cumulative grade point average of 3.6.

Transfer students with prior college experience must have 30 semester hours of credit with a minimum GPA of 3.6 or higher on a 4.0 scale to apply for admission to the Honors Program. International students who qualify are eligible for the Honors Program.

Required Coursework:  
  COLL 133H - General Education Foundations Seminar 3 hrs
  HNRS 310 - Honors Service   1 hr
  PHIL 330 - Ethics   3 hrs
  Total: 7 hrs

Elective Coursework:

  Honors general education 0-6 hrs
  Honors courses that meet major requirement 0-6 hrs
  Honors Topics 0-6 hrs
  HNRS 340 - Schiffman Honors in Society Lecture   3 hrs
  Study Abroad 1-3 hrs
  Guided research, including Distinction 3 hrs
  Total: 12 hrs
Total: 19 hrs  

Baccalaureate Degrees with Distinction

The Bachelor’s Degree with Distinction is available for any degree program offered by Columbia College and requires a demonstration of excellence in a special two-semester project (excluding summer session) in addition to satisfying degree requirements.

Distinction work is done under the direct supervision of a faculty member qualified in the field of the project. At all major stages of the project (formal prospectus, complete draft or evidence of significant and substantive progress, and final project), work must be submitted by designated deadlines to the Chair of the Academic Honors and Awards Committee for approval or direction. All students completing a Distinction Project must take 3 credit hours of HNRS 484  with their faculty mentor for the project as the instructor of record. Credit hours must be taken during the student’s final semester before graduation-fall for December graduates and spring for May or Summer graduates.

To be eligible, a student must be currently enrolled, a member of the honors program, must have second-semester junior standing (75 semester hours, with at least 15 semester hours at Columbia College), and a 3.5 cumulative GPA. Eligibility is based on the assumption that a student may be eligible after five semesters. Entry into the program must be at a date that permits two semesters of work on the project. Students do not need to complete Honors Program requirements in order to complete the Distinction Project, but they must be admitted to the program.​

Honors and Awards Convocation

Columbia College recognizes the academic achievements of its students through the annual Honors and Awards Convocation. These annual honors or awards consist of gifts, certificates and/or monetary awards given to current students that return the following academic year of their undergraduate program. Many of the awards are made possible by the generous philanthropy of alumni and friends of Columbia College. The monetary awards are applied to the student’s institutional expenses for the upcoming academic year and are non-renewable.

The President’s Honorarium for Academic Excellence (Overload Fee Waiver)

Columbia College Day students who have earned 30 institutional semester hours may take an overload to a total of 21 semester hours without additional cost if their cumulative grade-point average is at least 3.75.