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Honors

MSU Denver annually recognizes students who show outstanding leadership and service to the University and community, excellence in scholastic achievement, and outstanding personal character and integrity. Due to wide variation in definition and interpretation of class rank, the University does not (by policy) rank its students or graduates. Recognition of students includes: The President's Award (one senior); Special Service Awards for Academic Affairs (one senior) and for Student Services (one senior); Outstanding Student Awards (one senior from each School); Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges (seniors); American Association of University Women (AAUW) Award (senior woman). Other awards include Special Service Award for Exceptionally Challenged Students, Student Government Assembly Award, Charles W. Fisher Award and the Colorado Engineering Council Award.

Applications, as well as information on these awards, are available in Student Success Building, Suite 330. Awards are presented at the annual awards ceremony held during the spring semester.

In addition to annual awards, students with outstanding academic achievements are recognized by being named on the University's Honor Lists. The President's Honor List contains the names of students who, at the time of computation, have achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.85 or higher. The Provost's Honor List contains the names of students who, at the time of computation, have achieved a cumulative GPA of between 3.50 and 3.84, inclusively. Computation will occur initially when the student has completed between 30 and 60 credits at MSU Denver, then again between 60 and 90 credits, and finally after more than 90 credits. Honors will only be computed three times in a student's academic life at the University. Questions should be directed to the Office of Academic and Student Affairs at 303-556-3040.

Below is a list of all graduating honors, awards and honor societies that are available to our students at MSU Denver.


Graduation honors are awarded to students who have demonstrated superior academic ability in their baccalaureate degree while attending MSU Denver. Honors designations are determined according to the following criteria:

  • Summa Cum Laude - Top five percent of graduates within each school with cumulative MSU Denver GPA of no less than 3.65.
  • Magna Cum Laude - Next five percent of graduates within each school with cumulative MSU Denver GPA of no less than 3.65.
  • Cum Laude - Next five percent of graduates within each school with cumulative MSU Denver GPA of no less than 3.65.

To determine each honors category, GPAs from the previous spring semester graduates are arranged in rank order. This rank ordering is then used to determine the honors category thresholds for the following fall, spring and summer graduates. The current rankings are located on the commencement website.

The honors designation is calculated twice: once for the commencement ceremony; and again at the end of the final semester for the official designation. 

Commencement Ceremony

To qualify for graduation honor recognition at the commencement ceremony, a student must have the specified GPA and must have completed a minimum of 50 semester hours of academic credit at MSU Denver by the end of the term of graduation. UCD Pooled classes and other transfer credits are not considered when determining honors. Recognition at the commencement ceremony does not guarantee final honors designation on the official record. Honors announced at the commencement ceremony will be based upon a preliminary calculation not including grades from the term of graduation.

Students who qualify for recognition at the ceremony will be sent a letter from the dean’s office of the School in which their major is located. This letter authorizes students to purchase honor cords at the time they rent their caps and gowns.

Graduates with an Individualized Degree Program major will be identified for honors purposes within the School most prominent in their major.

Official Honors Designation

Grades earned for the graduating term will affect honors. GPAs are not rounded up (for example: a GPA of 3.149 is not rounded to 3.15). The Official Honors designation will be calculated following the processing of final grades. This recalculation will take into consideration any grade changes submitted to the Registrar’s Office during your graduating term. Only the official honors designation is added to the final transcript and diploma.  A student must maintain the specified GPA and must complete a minimum of 50 semester hours of academic credit at MSU Denver by the term of graduation. UCD Pooled classes and other transfer credits are not considered when determining honors.

Honors designations are added to the student’s official academic record; no other notification will be sent. For additional information regarding graduation honors, contact the Office of Academic and Student Affairs at 303-556-3040.

The Metropolitan State University of Denver Honors Program is a community of highly motivated and academically adventurous students and faculty members dedicated to working together to attain new levels of achievement. 

This is an innovative program that allows students to achieve the Honors Program credential by completing an individually tailored combination of both academic courses and co-curricular honors options.

The Honors Program is designed to develop in our students the ability to apply critical and creative thinking as well as conduct high-quality research and creative work. Honors students also learn to integrate a variety of disciplines in their approach to a given project, demonstrate civic and intercultural knowledge and engagement, and reflect critically upon their values and the learning process. 

If you are interested in MSU Denver’s Honors Program then please contact Jennifer Lutes at 303-556-4336 or by email at jlutes1@msudenver.edu.

The following is a list of honor societies affiliated with Metropolitan State University of Denver. For general information regarding honor societies, please contact the Commencement Assistants at commencement@msudenver.edu


Sigma Alpha Pi, the National Society of Leadership and Success: Sigma Alpha Pi is an organization that helps people discover and achieve their goals. The Society offers life-changing lectures from the nation's leading presenters and a community where like-minded, success-oriented individuals come together and help one another succeed. The Society also serves as a powerful force of good in the greater community by encouraging and organizing action to better the world.

For more information, please visit http://www.societyleadership.org or contact Gretta Mincer at mincer@msudenver.edu.


The National Society of Collegiate Scholars: The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS), a member of the Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS), is a not-profit honor society that was established to encourage academic achievement. The Society was founded on the principles of Scholarship, Leadership and Service. 

Membership is offered to first and second year undergraduate students who rank in the top 20% of their class, achieve a cumulative GPA of at least a 3.4, and attend a university with an active chapter of NSCS on campus. Juniors and Seniors with a 3.4 or higher are asked to email nscs_club@msudenver.edu if they are interested in joining.

For more information, please contact Dr. Brian Bagwell at bagwell@msudenver.edu.


Golden Key International Honor Society: Golden Key is an academic honor society which recognizes and encourages scholastic achievement and excellence among college and university students from all academic disciplines. The Society offers its members exclusive opportunities and connections through $1,000,000 annually in scholarships and awards, partnerships with major corporations, career advancement and graduate programs.

For more information, please contact Alyson Middleton at middlea@msudenver.edu or by checking out Golden Key’s website: https://www.goldenkey.org/.

Access Center: Delta Alpha Pi

Delta Alpha Pi is an honor society for MSU Denver students with disabilities. For more information please contact Greg Root at groot@msudenver.edu or by visiting the Access Center in the Plaza Building Suite 122.


Communications: Lambda Pi Eta

Lambda Pi Eta aims to connect Speech Communication scholars (majors or minors) with one another on a deeper, more meaningful level and also with esteemed faculty and alumni of our program. It is through the pursuit of academic excellence and the desire to engage more critically with communications that we find a need for our organization to exist.

For more information, email the organization at lambdapieta@msudenver.edu.


Criminal Justice: Delta Gamma Xi - Alpha Phi Sigma

Delta Gamma Xi is a member of Alpha Phi Sigma; the National Criminal Justice Honor Society. They are a non-profit organization and a certified member of The Association of College Honor Societies and affiliated with The Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. The Goals of Delta Gamma Xi are to honor and promote academic excellence, community service, educational leadership and unity.

For more information please contact Jeffrey London at jlondon5@msudenver.edu.


Engineering Technology: Tau Alpha Pi

Established in 1953, the two main purposes of Tau Alpha Pi are to recognize high standards of scholarship among students in engineering technology programs, and to promote and encourage scholastic achievement by offering outstanding engineering technology students membership in the society. The society rewards selected scholars for past achievements and accomplishments, while encouraging a lifetime of commitment to learning and scholarship. Tau Alpha Pi members are truly interested in furthering and improving the academic life for all engineering technology students and in promoting the engineering/engineering technology departments at their own institutions.

For more information, please visit this page to get in touch with an advisor: https://www.msudenver.edu/eaet/tap/.


English: Sigma Tau Delta

Sigma Tau Delta's central purpose is to confer distinction upon students of the English language and literature in undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies. Sigma Tau Delta also recognizes the accomplishments of professional writers who have contributed to the fields of language and literature. Sigma Tau Delta has over 600 active chapters, more than 900 faculty sponsors, and inducts approximately 7,000 members annually. Members have the opportunity to be recognized for their outstanding achievements, enrich their education, help them make career choices, and advance their careers.

For more information, please contact Craig Svonkin at csvonkin@msudenver.edu or Renee Ruderman at rudemar@msudenver.edu.


German Language, Literature and Civilization: Delta Phi Alpha

The National German Honor Society, Delta Phi Alpha, seeks to recognize excellence in the study of German and to provide an incentive for higher scholarship. The Society aims to promote the study of the German language, literature and civilization and endeavors to emphasize those aspects of German life and culture which are of universal value and which contribute to man's eternal search for peace and truth.

For more information, please visit http://deltaphialpha.org or contact Dr. Lawrence F. Glatz at glatz@msudenver.edu.


History: Phi Alpha Theta

Phi Alpha Theta is a professional society whose mission is to promote the study of history through the encouragement of research, good teaching, publication and the exchange of learning and ideas among historians. We seek to bring students, teachers and writers of history together for intellectual and social exchanges, which promote and assist historical research and publication by our members in a variety of ways.

For more information, please visit http://www.phialphatheta.org/ or contact Laura McCall and Patricia Richard at mccall@msudenver.edu and richardpa@msudenver.edu respectively.


Human Services: Tau Upsilon Alpha - Iota Chapter

Tau Upsilon Alpha is a successor organization to the original honor society for human services, Alpha Delta Omega. Membership became available to all Human Services majors at schools where there is a chapter. Our Iota chapter was created shortly thereafter. The National Organization of Human Services grew in stature as the profession itself has grown, the honor society was adopted by it to represent all human services students across the country that have achieved a level of excellence among their peers. In 2008, Alpha Delta Omega transitioned to Tau Upsilon Alpha nationally and our chapter retains its Iota designation. Its mission continues - to honor academic excellence, to foster life-long learning, leadership and development, and to promote excellence in service to humanity.

For more information, please visit http://www.msudenver.edu/hsp/resources/ or contact Kelly Felice at felice@msudenver.edu.


Modern Foreign Languages: Phi Sigma Iota

Phi Sigma Iota recognizes outstanding accomplishment in the study or teaching of any of the academic fields related to foreign language, literature, or culture. These fields include not only modern foreign languages, but also Classics, Linguistics, Philology, Comparative Literature, Bilingual Education, Second Language Acquisition and other interdisciplinary programs with a significant foreign language component. Phi Sigma Iota is the highest academic honor in the field of foreign languages.

For more information, please visit http://phisigmaiota.org or contact Dr. Maria Akrabova at makrabou@msudenver.edu.


Psychology: Psi Chi

Psi Chi is the National Honor Society in Psychology, founded in 1929 for the purposes of encouraging, stimulating, and maintaining excellence in scholarship, and advancing the science of psychology. Membership is open to graduate and undergraduate men and women who are making the study of psychology one of their major interests, and who meet the minimum qualifications.

For more information, please visit http://www.psichi.org/ or contact Dr. Aaron S. Richmond at arichmo3@msudenver.edu.


Social Work: Phi Alpha

The purpose of Phi Alpha Honor Society is to provide a closer bond among students of social work and promote humanitarian goals and ideas. Phi Alpha fosters high standards of education for social workers and invites into membership those who have attained excellence in scholarship and achievement in social work.

For more information, please visit http://www.phialpha.org/ or contact Dr. Consuelo Mendez-Shannon at cmendezs@msudenver.edu.


Women's Studies: Iota Iota Iota

The Alpha Chapter of Iota Iota Iota, or Triota, at Metropolitan State University of Denver held its first induction ceremony in the fall of 1992 in order to recognize the academic achievements of students in Women's Studies. The Greek letter, Iota, was selected for the name to represent the three goddesses Inana, Ishtar, and Isis. Triota strives to maintain the feminist values central to Women's Studies and encourage diversity, egalitarianism, and supportive academic environment for all students.

For more information, please contact the institute for Women’s Studies at 303-556-8441 contact Arlene Sgoutas at sgoutasg@msudenver.edu.

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