Students who earn a term GPA of 3.5 or above in a program of at least 14 credits with at least 12 graded credits will be placed on the dean’s list for academic excellence. An appropriate notation is made on the students’ academic records. Letters are sent to parents.
Students may receive general honors at graduation. General honors are awarded to students with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or better. An initial list of honorees is prepared by the Registrar’s Office in March. The final determination is made after all grades have been reported.
General honors are noted on a student’s academic record following the student’s last undergraduate semester before graduation. In addition, honors are noted in the commencement program. However, because the program is printed several weeks before the date of commencement, not all honors are announced in time for inclusion in the program.
Students may also receive departmental honors at graduation. Departments set their own standards for the award of departmental honors. Students should consult with director of undergraduate studies for their major about the requirements for honors. In some cases, the department will require that you fill out the Word Document: Honors GPA Calculation Worksheet.
Phi Beta Kappa
Phi Beta Kappa, founded in 1776, is the oldest and most prestigious of the honor societies, with chapters in 270 colleges and universities in the United States. The Johns Hopkins University chapter, Alpha of Maryland, was founded in 1895. Each spring, the committee meets to elect its new members, evaluating upperclassmen on their dedication to learning, willingness to challenge themselves, and their high cumulative GPA.
To be considered as a junior, students must have completed five semesters at Hopkins with a minimum of 48 graded credits. Seniors must have signified their intent to graduate and be on the official graduation list. They also must meet the residency requirement of 48 graded credits. At the time of consideration, the student’s transcript must be complete without M or I grades, as these can adversely affect the GPA. Even though they may satisfy the criteria for election, students with known ethical and disciplinary issues will not be considered. Students who are selected will be notified. There is no need to apply, and the specific criteria for selection is not shared with students.
Discipline Specific Honor Societies
Beta Beta Beta
Beta Beta Beta, the National Biological Honor Society, is dedicated to improving the understanding of biology and the appreciation of biological research. The society, founded in 1922, now has more than 175,000 lifetime members and over 430 chapters throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. The Rho Phi chapter of the society was installed at Johns Hopkins in 2000 and is open to qualified applicants regardless of major. Beta Beta Beta publishes a journal, BIOS, and holds regular regional and national meetings.
Phi Alpha Theta
The History Honor Society, Phi Alpha Theta, is one of the most distinguished undergraduate honor societies in the United States. Founded at the University of Arkansas in 1921 and devoted to the promotion of history, it has more than 800 active chapters and 275,000 members. It publishes a highly respectable journal, The Historian, and a quarterly newsletter.
Nu Rho Psi
Nu Rho Psi—the Johns Hopkins University Undergraduate Society for Neuroscience—draws its founding principles from the Society for Neuroscience, including its “scientific, educational, literary [and] charitable” purposes. The society is a gathering of neuroscience students and faculty devoted to the study of cellular and molecular processes, the biological networks of the nervous system, computational approaches to the mind, and the phenomena of cognition.
There is an honors component to the society whereby a student who excels in all areas of the society—including research, community service, and academics—can receive Nu Rho Psi honors, which will be acknowledged at graduation.
Tau Beta Pi
Tau Beta Pi is the national engineering honor society. Students in the top eighth of the junior class and top fifth of the senior class are eligible for membership.