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Phi Beta Kappa
In American colleges, election to Phi Beta Kappa is considered the highest undergraduate honor. This society, founded in 1776, restricts its chapters to leading colleges and universities and maintains high scholastic standards. The Beta Chapter of Maine was organized at Colby in 1895. Phi Beta Kappa certificates may be awarded to members of the three lower classes for distinction in scholarship.
For students who entered Colby before the fall of 2006, the degree of bachelor of arts with honors is awarded in three grades: summa cum laude to those who attain a 3.75 grade point average; magna cum laude to those with a 3.50 grade point average; cum laude to those with a 3.25 grade point average. Effective for students entering in the fall of 2006 or later, standards for Latin honors are: summa cum laude to those whose grade point averages are within the top 5 percent of the graduating class; magna cum laude to those within the top 10 percent, and cum laude to those within the top 20 percent.
Honors in [Major]
Honors programs are offered in American studies; anthropology; biology; chemistry; computer science; East Asian studies; economics; English; environmental studies; French; geology; government; history; international studies; Latin American studies; mathematics; music; philosophy; physics; psychology; religious studies; science, technology, and society; sociology; Spanish; theater and dance; and women's, gender, and sexuality studies. Successful completion of an honors program, as determined by the department or program, will enable a student to graduate "With Honors in [major]." Independent majors may apply for honors to the chair of the Independent Study Committee.
Distinction in the Major
This category of honors may be awarded to a student on the specific recommendation of the department. To be considered for the award, the student must have at least an average of 3.25 in the major; many departments stipulate a higher average in the major.
This honors program permits a limited number of seniors to devote eight credit hours per semester to a project approved by the Independent Studies Committee and pursued under the guidance of a faculty member. Students applying to the Senior Scholars Program will normally be expected to have a grade point average of at least 3.3 in their major. Students submit a midyear report on the project; their final report is judged by three faculty readers. Upon successful completion of the program with a minimum grade of B+, the senior scholar's report is deposited in the College library. Application must be made during the student's junior year. Inquiries should be directed to the committee chair.
Academic excellence is recognized at a convocation each fall for the Julius Seelye Bixler, Charles A. Dana, and Strider scholars. Bixler Scholars are the top-ranking students as determined by the cumulative academic record at the end of the preceding year. Dana Scholars are selected on the basis of a strong academic performance and potential leadership. The first-year student with the best academic record at the end of the first year is named a Strider Scholar for his or her sophomore year.
The Dean’s List
Eligibility for the Dean's List is limited to the top 30 percent of students, based on semester grade point average as calculated by February 1 for the fall semester Dean's List and by July 1 for the spring semester Dean's List. To be named to the Dean's List, a student with a qualifying average must have earned 15 or more credits in the semester, 12 or more of which are graded credits; he or she must have no mark of I (unless for medical reason or critical emergency), U, WF, or WU; and he or she must have no instance of academic dishonesty in that semester.
Academic departments may recognize students' achievements, according to departmental guidelines, with certificates or other awards.
The names of students who graduate with Latin honors, honors or distinction in major, Senior Scholars status, election to Phi Beta Kappa, or status as Bixler, Dana scholars are printed in the annual commencement program.