Honors Opportunities at UI: Overview

The University of Iowa offers numerous opportunities for undergraduate students seeking additional academic experiences, with students earning recognition for their academic achievements. These achievements are often noted at graduation and on the transcript and diploma as well as through Honors celebrations or ceremonies and by membership in Phi Beta Kappa.

University of Iowa Honors Program

Students with exceptional high school or transfer achievements are invited to apply to the University of Iowa Honors program, also referred to as "Honors at Iowa," upon admission to UI. This program is open to qualified new first-year or transfer students, regardless of their primary college at UI; undergraduates from the colleges of CLAS, Business, Engineering, Nursing, and Public Health all have the opportunity to be part of the University of Iowa Honors Program and to meet and interact with honors students from across UI colleges. Qualified students already attending the University of Iowa may also join the University Honors program.

Students earning UI Honors have this achievement noted in the commencement program and on the transcript and degree; students also receive the UI Honors cord from that program, worn at the commencement ceremony. 

Honors in the Major

The individual colleges at UI including CLASBusinessEngineeringNursing, and Public Health offer Honors experiences in specific academic areas for undergraduate students.

In CLAS, this experience is referred to as Honors in the Major since students earn honors by completing additional requirements related to the student's selected major. This gives the student the opportunity to delve deeper into a specific topic, theme, creative project, or research area, allowing students to follow their unique interests within the major while working closely with a faculty mentor or mentors.

CLAS students earning Honors in the Major are not required to be members of the University Honors Program; however, some students earn both University Honors and Honors in the Major. This dual accomplishment is encouraged by the UI Honors Program, which allows students to complete Honors in the Major for the 12 s.h. experiential learning requirement for UI Honors.

Students who have earned Honors in the Major will see this achievement added to the Commencement Program and announced at the graduation ceremony; the designation is also noted on the transcript and diploma. Students who have earned Honors in the Major also have this achievement signified by a white cord worn at the commencement ceremony. CLAS students may request the cord in 120 Schaeffer Hall once their Honors in the Major status has been finalized.

Dean's List

CLAS degree candidates who achieve a grade point average of 3.50 or higher in 12 semester hours or more of UI graded coursework during a semester (or summer session) and who have no “I” mark (Incomplete) or “O” mark (No grade reported) on the record for that enrollment period are recognized by inclusion on the Dean's List for that semester (or session). The Dean’s List is reported in a University of Iowa News Release at the end of every semester for students who have not restricted release of their information to the public.

President's List

University of Iowa undergraduates who achieve a grade point average of 4.00 in 12 semester hours or more of UI graded coursework and who have no “I” marks (Incomplete) or “O” marks (No grade reported) on their records for two consecutive semesters (excluding summer session) are recognized by inclusion on the President's List. The President’s List is reported in a University of Iowa News Release at the end of every semester for students who have not restricted release of information to the public.

Graduation with Distinction

The College awards degrees "with highest distinction" to students in the highest 2 percent of their graduating class, "with high distinction" to students in the next highest 3 percent, and "with distinction" to the next highest 5 percent. Ranking is based on students' grade point averages for both University of Iowa course work and all college level study undertaken before the final registration.

To be eligible for graduation with distinction, students must complete a minimum of 60 s.h. in residence in CLAS, of which at least 45 s.h. must have been completed before the student's final registration. The Registrar confirms with the Dean of the College the names of students eligible to graduate with distinction.

Phi Beta Kappa Membership

The Phi Beta Kappa Society is the oldest and most prestigious undergraduate honors organization in the United States. Since 1776, election to Phi Beta Kappa has been a recognition of academic achievement. The Alpha of Iowa chapter was chartered at the University of Iowa’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 1895.  Outstanding students who are eligible are invited to join the Society each semester. Every student inducted into the Society receives a lifetime membership in Phi Beta Kappa. For more information, email phi-beta-kappa@uiowa.edu, contact CLAS Undergraduate Programs in 120 Schaeffer Hall, or contact an Alpha of Iowa officer.