Academic Honors

Alma College features a diverse selection of distinctions and honors.

Whatever your passion, opportunities exist to stand out and shine in your field of expertise.

Barlow Trophy

Alma’s most prestigious award for graduating seniors, the Barlow Trophy, is awarded on the basis of scholarship and leadership. Candidates must rank in the top 10 percent of the graduating class, and the recipient is elected by a vote of the College faculty and Student Congress.

Dean's List

Students who achieve a 3.5 term GPA while carrying a minimum load of 13 credits (eight of which must be graded A-E) qualify for the Dean’s List. The Dean’s List is compiled at the end of both the Fall and Winter terms.

Departmental Honors

To graduate with Departmental Honors, students must demonstrate superior performance on the departmental comprehensive evaluation (where offered), present a thesis of honors caliber and achieve at least a 3.5 GPA in the major field. Each department has autonomy over the comprehensive evaluation and the thesis.

President's Outstanding Senior Award

The President of Alma College may select seniors who have completed four full (Fall or Winter) terms at Alma College and demonstrated scholastic superiority to receive the President’s Outstanding Senior Award.

President's Award

Juniors, sophomores and first-year degree-seeking students who have been at Alma College for one academic year and who attain the highest academic ranks in their classes based on GPA receive the President’s Award.

Graduation Honors

Graduation Honors are awarded to graduating seniors who have completed at least 52 credits at Alma College

Summa cum laude

Students who have achieved a 3.8 GPA (and 3.6 in credits outside the division of the major)

Magna cum laude

Students who have achieved a 3.6 GPA (and 3.4 in credits outside the division of the major)

Cum laude

Students who have achieved a 3.4 GPA (and 3.2 outside the division of the major)

Phi Beta Kappa

Alma College’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa is one of eight in Michigan and 293 across the nation. Phi Beta Kappa was founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary. Since then, it has evolved to become the nation’s oldest and most widely known academic honor society, as well as a leading advocate for excellence in the liberal arts and sciences. For more information, including eligibility requirements, contact Dr. Kristin Olbertson at