ice of the Registrar

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Frequently Asked Questions

Academic Distinctions

Dean's List

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A student who attains a semester average of 3.50 or higher in a program of 4 or more courses is placed on the Dean's List for that semester.

Phi Beta Kappa Society

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Students of the highest academic standing are eligible for election to membership in the Phi Beta Kappa Society in accordance with the following rules:

  1. The requirements for election to membership shall be a grade point average of at least 3.3 and Honors or Pass in all required Winter Study Projects. There shall be two elections of new members for each class, at the end of the junior and senior years.
  2. At the end of the junior year, all students in the highest five percent of the class, ranked by cumulative grade point average, shall be eligible for election provided they have met the requirements and have completed enough courses to be considered candidates for the B.A. degree in the following year. A student who leaves Williams at the end of the junior year to attend graduate school may be elected under the above procedures. At the end of the senior year, all students not yet elected and in the highest 12.5 percent of the class, ranked by cumulative grade point average, shall be eligible for election provided they have met the requirements.
  3. Students shall be eligible for election only if they have been students at Williams College for at least two years.
  4. Honorary members may be elected from distinguished alumni of at least twenty years' standing. No more than one such member shall be elected each year.
  5. Any student who shall have gained his or her rank by unfair means or who in the judgment of the Dean of the College is not of good moral character is ineligible to election.
  6. The name of a member elect shall be entered on the roll only after he or she has accepted the election and has paid to the Treasurer the regular entrance fee.
  7. Any undergraduate member who withdraws from the College before graduation or who falls short of the minimum Phi Beta Kappa scholastic standing may, upon a two-thirds vote of the members present at the annual meeting, be deprived of membership in the society.
  8. Any undergraduate member who is expelled from the College shall be deprived of membership in the Society.
  9. While connected with Williams College as an officer of instruction or administration, any graduate of Williams College who is a member of another chapter of Phi Beta Kappa shall be considered a regular member of the Williams chapter.
  10. While connected with Williams College as professor, associate professor or assistant professor, or an officer of administration, any member of another chapter of Phi Beta Kappa shall have all the privileges of the Williams chapter, including holding office and voting. While connected with Williams College, any other officer of instruction or administration who is a member of another chapter shall have all the privileges of the Williams chapter, except holding office and voting.

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The Faculty will recommend to the Trustees that the degree of Bachelor of Arts with certain distinctions be conferred upon those members of the graduating class who have met the standards described below.

Students who have passed all Winter Study Projects and obtained a four year average in the top:

  • 35% of the graduating class -- Bachelor of Arts cum laude or higher
  • 15% of the graduating class -- Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude or higher
  • 2% of the graduating class -- Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude

Additional information on this topic is available at the Office of the Registrar.


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