Academic Honors and Awards

Award winners

Dean’s List

To honor students for outstanding academic achievement each semester, the Dean of the College names to the Dean’s List those students who attain a semester grade point average of at least 3.50. In addition, the students must have completed a minimum of three course credits which count toward the semester grade point average. Courses marked by the instructor as Incomplete are treated, for the purposes of the Dean’s List average only, as if they had the grade of “C.”

Final Honors 

Comp Grade (or Rating) GPA Honors
Distinction 3.600 and up A.B. Summa Cum Laude
Pass 3.800 and up A.B. Magna Cum Laude
High Pass 3.600 and up A.B. Magna Cum Laude
Distinction 3.330 - 3.599 A.B. Magna Cum Laude
Pass 3.600 - 3.799 A.B. Cum Laude
High Pass 3.400 - 3.599 A.B. Cum Laude
Distinction 3.170 - 3.329 A.B. Cum Laude

Determination of comps grade ratings as follows:

  • Distinction Rating for Double Major: 2 Distinctions or 1 Distinction & 1 High Pass
  • Distinction Rating for Triple Major: 2 Distinctions & 1 High Pass or Pass, or 1 Distinction and 2 High Passes
  • High Pass Rating for Double Major: 2 High Passes, or 1 High Pass and 1 Pass
  • High Pass Rating for Triple Major: 3 High Passes; 2 High Passes & 1 Pass; 1 High Pass & 2 Passes; 1 Distinction & 1 High Pass & 1 Pass; or 1 Distinction and 2 Passes

A student’s final grade point average is used as the basis for conferring Final Honors.

Phi Beta Kappa

What is Phi Beta Kappa?

The Phi Beta Kappa Society (ΦΒΚ) is the oldest and most prestigious academic honor society in the United States, due in part to its long history and academic selectivity.  The Greek letters ΦΒΚ stand for “Philosophia Biou Kybernetes”, which roughly translates to “Philosophy, the Guide of Life”.  Since 1776, Phi Beta Kappa has championed education in the arts and sciences, fostered freedom of thought, and recognized academic excellence.  Our chapter at Wabash College was chartered in 1898, the 42nd chapter of the society and the second in the state of Indiana. Over the past century, some 1,400 men have been inducted to Phi Beta Kappa at Wabash. As an early founding chapter, we have the honor of electing up to one-eighth of the graduating seniors whose grade averages are among the highest. 

Requirements for Phi Beta Kappa at Wabash College

Students do not apply for membership into Phi Beta Kappa at Wabash College.  Our Chapter elects students based on rank by GPA and adherence to the criteria outlined below.  Please direct your membership questions to our Chapter Secretary, Jeff Beck.

In ranking candidates from the senior class, our Chapter considers an adjusted GPA that includes results from the Comprehensive Exams. Comps are treated as equivalent to one and one-half credits with these values: Distinction=A (4 points); High Pass=B (3 points); Pass= C (2 points). In the case of multiple comprehensive examination results, the grades shall be averaged. To be eligible for election, candidates from the senior class must have at least 20 credits of graded work at Wabash. The by-laws permit the election of up to one-eighth of the senior class.

In ranking candidates from the junior class, our Chapter considers Wabash GPA. Juniors must have 16 graded credits at Wabash. The by-laws permit the election of up to one-sixteenth of the junior class. Those elected as juniors are counted in the quota of their graduating class.

To be eligible for Phi Beta Kappa membership, students should have incompletes removed from their records by mid-semester of the spring semester of their election year.

The Constitution and By-Laws of the Chapter states: “In addition to scholarship, good moral character will be a qualification of membership.”  We have usually interpreted issues of moral character to concern specific accusations of plagiarism or other impropriety. 

Stipulations Concerning Eligibility for Membership

Eligibility for election to membership shall be contingent upon fulfillment of the following minimum requirements. These stipulations concerning eligibility for membership were adopted by vote of the United Chapters and certified by the Executive Committee on behalf of the Senate of Phi Beta Kappa on June 1, 2011. 

Stipulation 1

Eligible students shall be candidates for a bachelor’s degree. The liberal arts encompass the traditional disciplines of the natural sciences, mathematics, social sciences, and humanities. Select courses in other programs of study may be included only if they unambiguously embody the liberal arts. Because Phi Beta Kappa honors excellence in the liberal arts, applied or pre-professional coursework shall not be considered in determining eligibility. This stipulation excludes professionally-focused courses and courses devoted to the acquisition of practical skills.  [Accounting courses will not be considered in determining eligibility.]

Stipulation 2

Weight shall be given to the breadth and depth of study in liberal arts, taking into account the number, variety, and level of courses taken outside the requirements of the major, and the proportion of the candidate's overall program those courses constitute. Consideration shall also be given to the number of elective courses taken above the introductory, or general education, level. [Completion of a Wabash degree satisfies this stipulation.]

Stipulation 3

Candidates shall have demonstrated, by successful work in high school or college, or in the two together, a knowledge of a second or non-native language at least minimally appropriate for a liberal education. In no case shall this mean less than the completion of the intermediate college level in a second, or non-native, language, or its equivalent. [Earning a passing grade in Chinese 202, French 202, German 202, Greek 201, Latin 201 or Spanish 202 at Wabash (including passing the course via the Credit/No Credit or Conversion to Credit/No Credit options) or via approved transfer credit satisfies this stipulation.  Concurrent enrollment will be considered for membership, but initiation is contingent upon passing the relevant course.  Students who are exempt from or test out of the Wabash language requirement will be considered to have fulfilled this stipulation. Placement in an advanced language course (e.g., 301 or 321) satisfies the stipulation.]

Stipulation 4

The candidate's undergraduate record shall include at least one course in college-level mathematics, logic, or statistics, with content appropriate to a liberal arts curriculum. The course should introduce the student to mathematical ideas, abstract thinking, proofs, or the axiomatic method. [Effective for the Wabash Classes of 2023-2026:  Completion of the Quantitative Skills requirement satisfies this stipulation.]

[Effective for the Wabash Class of 2027 and beyond:  Earning a passing grade in one full credit of Computer Science 211, Division 3 252, Economics 241, Economics 253, Philosophy 270, Physics 111, Psychology 201, Political Science 300, or any Mathematics course satisfies this stipulation.  AP Credit for one of the above (for example MAT 111) would satisfy the requirement.  Placement alone would not satisfy the requirement.  Concurrent enrollment will be considered for membership, but initiation is contingent upon passing the relevant course.  Amended March 30, 2023.]

Stipulation 5

In keeping with the Founders’ interest in fostering not only academic excellence but also friendship and morality, invitation to Phi Beta Kappa should be extended only to persons of good moral character. [We have usually interpreted issues of moral character to concern specific accusations of plagiarism or other impropriety.]