The Honors Community

Graduating With Honors

In addition to Latin Honors, the University offers other tracks for graduating with honors.

University Honors Program

Open to qualifying students of all majors, the University invites up to 165 first year students to the University Honors Program which centers on the values of a broad-based education in the humanities and sciences. Honors students choose six courses that offer an enhanced version of the SMU University Curriculum. Honors students can earn Honors course credit while participating in SMU Abroad, SMU in Taos, or conducting independent research outside the United States through the Richter Research Fellowship Program. Each year a full calendar of events from dinners and book discussions to information sessions and workshops is offered to enrich the academic experience and strengthen the Honors community. No separate application is required. Students are automatically reviewed and selected based upon academic merit. Generally, students in the top 10-12% of the entering first-year class will participate in the University Honors Program.

Departmental Distinction

In most cases, a student can choose to pursue Departmental Distinction in his or her major. The precise requirements differ by department, but generally include a junior-level seminar or training aimed at developing the method and topic of the student’s interest, and then completing and presenting a significant research paper. Students who complete this process will graduate with a notation on their diplomas and transcripts indicating “with distinction” in the major.

BBA Honors Program

The BBA Honors Program is an honors curriculum within the business curriculum. Students are offered a number of honors sections in business courses; these sections are small and emphasize discussion. By entering the BBA Honors Program and maintaining the required GPA, the student will receive the notation “Honors in Business” on the transcript and diploma. For information on the grade point averages required for business honors, please see the university catalog for your year of entry to SMU.

Visit the website of the BBA Honors Program.

Latin Honors

There are three classes of graduation honors: summa cum laude, magna cum laude and cum laude. The awarding of graduation honors is determined by minimum GPAs announced at the beginning of the academic year for each of SMU’s four undergraduate schools. The minimum GPAs generally represent the top five percent, 10 percent and 15 percent of graduates in the school.

Honors Convocation

Honors Convocation is a ceremony that celebrates academic achievement at the University and Department levels.

Honor Societies

  • Hyer Society
    Named for the founding president of SMU, the Hyer Society recognizes SMU’s most intellectually gifted undergraduates who have distinguished themselves through high academic achievement. Only a small fraction of SMU students are nominated each year for membership, roughly the top four percent of the student body.
  • Phi Beta Kappa
    Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honor society in the liberal arts. Students elected to the society must not only fit stringent GPA requirements, but they also must demonstrate an impressive and challenging course of study, with a majority of hours completed in the liberal arts.
  • Kappa Tau Alpha
    Kappa Tau Alpha is an honor society for communication arts that recognizes academic excellence and promotes scholarship. Membership is a mark of high distinction and honor.
  • Pi Kappa Lambda
    Pi Kappa Lambda was established in 1915 to honor distinguished students for both academic and musical accomplishment.
  • Beta Gamma Sigma
    Beta Gamma Sigma is the highest national recognition a student in business can achieve. Juniors selected are in the upper seven percent of their class; seniors are in the upper 10 percent.
  • Tau Beta Pi
    The Tau Beta Pi Association was founded in 1885 to recognize those who have conferred honor upon their alma mater by distinguished scholarship and exemplary character as students in engineering, or by their attainments as alumni in the field of engineering.
  • Tau Sigma
    Tau Sigma is an academic honor society designed specifically to recognize and promote the academic excellence and involvement of transfer students. Tau Sigma recognizes the academic achievement of the most outstanding transfers nationwide and, in the process, helps universities better serve their transfer population.