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5.3 - Graduating with Distinction and Honors

Graduating with Distinction

The with distinction degree designation is conferred by the student’s degree-recommending college. Each college has established unique requirements for graduation with distinction or special distinction. Distinctions are based primarily on the student’s grade point average. Both the transcript and the diploma carry the designation. Contact your academic advisor for specific requirements.

Those graduating with distinction wear a gold hood with their gown. Academic distinction hoods may be purchased for an additional fee when you purchase your gown at Graduation Gear-up or through the University Bookstore in Norman.

Graduating with a 4.0 GPA

Undergraduate students with an overall 4.0 GPA are eligible to receive a 4.0 University medallion on a crimson ribbon.

Students must have a 4.0 on all OU work and on any work transferred from other institutions, including concurrent enrollment taken during high school.  They may wear the medallion during Commencement and Convocation exercises.

In addition, their names will be listed in a special section of the May graduation program, and they will be invited to attend a special 4.0 University medallion presentation.

Students who qualify will be notified by their degree-recommending college. University Events will provide information regarding the presentation.  Presentations are held during the fall and spring semesters.  If students are unable to attend the presentation, medallions will be mailed to you. 

Graduating With Honors Requirements

Students who graduate with honors must have been accepted to the OU Honors College and have fulfilled the requirements outlined by the Honors College

  • HON 2973, Perspectives on the American experience, 3 hours
  • HON 3993, Colloquium, 3 hours
  • Honors Research: All students MUST take 3 hours of HON 3980 (Research).  Research does not count for honors elective credit. 
  • At least 9 hours of Honors elective credit which can include Honors-designated courses, HON 3960 (Honors Reading), study abroad programs sponsored by OU, and OSLEP, Feaver-MacMinn, Puterbaugh or Neustadt seminars***
  • C or higher in all HON classes

    ALSO

    > filing an Honors thesis (the end result of the Honors Research project or other thesis-worthy work) with the Honors Office. 

    > both an OU Retention GPA and a Combined Retention GPA of 
  • 3.40-3.59 for cum laude 
  • 3.60-3.79 for magna cum laude 
  • 3.80-4.00 for summa cum laude


No student subject to disciplinary sanctions for academic misconduct at the University will be graduated cum laude.

*** Students majoring in biology are required to take 3 credits of 3960 and 4 credits of 3980.

Submit the Honors College graduation form during the first two weeks of the semester you plan to graduate.

Honors College graduates and graduation candidates wear a crimson hood with their gown, which may be purchased for an additional fee when you purchase your cap and gown.

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