Recognition of Academic Achievement

[1] Awards and Honors

Dean’s List and Presidential Scholar honors are based on grades earned during each semester of the regular academic year (fall, spring).

Presidential Scholars. To qualify for Presidential Scholar honors in a given semester, a student must earn a 4.00 grade point average on a minimum of twelve hours of undergraduate degree credit with no incomplete (X) grades.

Dean’s List. To qualify for the Dean’s List in a given semester, a student must earn a 3.50 or higher grade point average on a minimum of twelve hours of undergraduate degree credit with no incomplete (X) grades.

Ranking Honor Graduate. A top graduating senior may be chosen for spring, summer, and fall commencements. Students are judged on the basis of their cumulative grade point average and the quality of their Departmental Undergraduate Scholars Program or Honors College thesis project. The grade point average computation includes the semester in which the student completes 103 hours of credit. This recognition requires a minimum of 62 hours in residence.

Outstanding Students. Each year an outstanding student will be selected by each college. Each college sets its own criteria and procedures for this selection. In general, these students are expected to be above average scholastically and to have demonstrated exceptional leadership ability and rendered active service to the university through their activities. The university’s outstanding students are recognized at the appropriate commencement service. This recognition requires a minimum of 62 hours in residence.

Sophomore and Junior Scholastic Awards. One sophomore and one junior student may be recognized for outstanding scholastic achievement.

Honors Graduates. A student earning a bachelor’s degree may be recognized as an honor graduate in one of the following categories of praise – summa cum laude, magna cum laude, or cum laude. This recognition requires a minimum of 62 hours in residence. Below are the grade point averages used to determine graduation with honors.

Category Overall GPA
summa cum laude 4.000–3.900
magna cum laude 3.899–3.800
cum laude 3.799–3.700


[2] UCA Scholars Programs

The University of Central Arkansas recognizes its responsibility to provide special opportunities for highly able and motivated students and provides two separate scholars programs – the Departmental Undergraduate Scholars Program and the Honors College.

[2.1] Departmental Undergraduate Scholars Program

Upon completion of 72 hours (with twelve hours in the major), a student may be invited by the faculty of a department to enter its Undergraduate Scholars Program. To be eligible for the invitation, a student must have at least a 3.00 grade point average overall and in the major. A student must complete the appropriate departmental Undergraduate Scholars course (or the equivalent), and submit written evidence of the research paper, project, performance, or presentation no later than the last day of instruction for the semester in which the student will graduate. Individual departments may establish additional or more rigorous requirements at their discretion. See the department’s description in this bulletin and consult the department chair. Before the end of the third full week of the semester in which the student intends to graduate, the student must submit a completed undergraduate scholar project form to the Registrar. Download the form here: form link.

The following departments offer undergraduate scholars programs:

Communication Sciences and Disorders
Computer Science
Early Childhood and Special Education
Economics, Finance, and Insurance and Risk Management
Health Sciences
Family and Consumer Sciences
Kinesiology and Physical Education
Management Information Systems
Marketing and Management
Philosophy and Religion
Physical Therapy (Health Sciences with Physical Therapy Emphasis)
Physics and Astronomy
Political Science
Psychology and Counseling
Teaching and Learning
Mass Communication and Theatre
World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

[2.2] Honors College

In addition to the Departmental Undergraduate Scholars Program, the university has an Honors College for outstanding students. A student chosen for the Honors Program during the freshman and sophomore years fulfills certain general education requirements in specially designed classes that are interdisciplinary, limited in enrollment, and characterized by experiential pedagogies. Following the sophomore year, students may enter the Honors College.

The Honors College curriculum consists of a fifteen-hour Honors Interdisciplinary Studies minor. At the center of the curriculum is undergraduate scholarship: the Oxford Tutorial, in which a student works one-on-one with a professor and writes and presents an Honors College Thesis Project. The Honors College is for juniors and seniors invited from those students completing the Honors Program.

In addition to special instruction, there is an Honors Center which provides a special place for students to meet and share ideas, and a specially designated residence hall, Farris Honors Hall. The atmosphere and co-curricular programming in the Honors Center and Farris Honors Hall reinforce the learning and friendships developed through the Honors College. Application to the Honors College residence hall is through Housing and Residence Life department. Assignments are based on first-come, first-received housing deposits. Those students who have been accepted into the Honors College, at the time of housing assignments, will be placed in Honors College residence halls based on space availability. See the Honors College section in this bulletin for more information.

[3] Recognition of UCA Scholars

Students completing the Departmental Undergraduate Scholars Program or the Honors College minor in Interdisciplinary Studies will receive special recognition at graduation.

[4] Scholastic Societies

Students with intellectual and professional interests have founded scholastic societies, both general and specialized in purpose. The following are representative national organizations:

Alpha Chi (Scholarship)
Alpha Kappa Delta (Sociology)
Alpha Psi Omega (Theatre)
Beta Alpha Psi (Accounting)
Beta Gamma Sigma (Business)
Gamma Beta Phi (Scholarship/Service)
Gamma Theta Upsilon (Geography)
Eta Sigma Gamma (Health Education)
Kappa Delta Pi (Education)
Lambda Pi Eta (Communication)
Pi Kappa Delta (Forensics)
Pi Sigma Alpha (Political Science)
Sigma Pi Sigma (Physics)
Sigma Theta Tau (Nursing)
Sigma Tau Delta (English)
Tau Kappa Alpha (Journalism)
Phi Alpha Theta (History)
Phi Delta Kappa (Education)
Phi Sigma Tau (Philosophy)
Phi Upsilon Omicron (Family and Consumer Sciences)
Psi Chi (Psychology)