Academic Catalog

Academic Honors

Honor Lists

Each semester, academic achievement is recognized by entering students’ names on the chancellor’s honor list and the dean’s honor list. The chancellor’s honor list requires a GPA of 4.0 earned on a minimum of 12 credited semester hours. The dean’s honor list requires a grade point average of 3.5 or higher earned on a minimum of 12 credited semester hours. No course carried on a pass-fail basis is counted toward the 12 hours required for either the Chancellor’s or Dean’s Lists.

Graduation With Honors

Graduation with honors will be based on a student’s “Total Institution” GPA (in the USC System). Honors designators are determined at the time of graduation and may not be applied retroactively. To graduate with such honors, a student must have earned at least 60 credit hours applicable to the degree in residence in the USC System. Courses taken as a transient student at other institutions, by correspondence, by examination, or by exemption are not considered “in residence.”  The following designations indicate a consistently high level of academic achievement in the USC System:

  • Summa cum Laude: An overall and USC GPA of 3.95-4.00    
  • Magna cum Laude: An overall and USC GPA of 3.75-3.94
  • Cum Laude: An overall and USC GPA of 3.50-3.74

For purposes of the graduation ceremony and program, academic honors are calculated on the student's previous semester.

Honor Societies

Students whose records demonstrate superior academic achievement may be invited to join several honor societies chartered on the USC Upstate campus. These organizations exist not only to recognize outstanding students but also to promote academic achievement in all areas of the University.

Alpha Kappa Delta, the International Sociology Honor Society, was founded in 1920. The Mu Chapter at USC Upstate was chartered in 2009. AKD recognizes students with outstanding academic achievements in sociology. Because the mission statement of AKD is "To investigate humanity for the purpose of service," students also engage in a number of service activities throughout the year. To be a member, students must be a sociology major or minor, have junior standing (completed at least 60 hours), have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher – both overall and in sociology, and must have completed at least four sociology courses at USC Upstate.

In 2005, the University of South Carolina Upstate was granted a chapter of Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honor Society, the oldest and largest honor society devoted to the recognition of non-traditional students pursuing higher education. Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honor Society was established in 1945 to honor superior scholarship of non-traditional students.
Alpha Mu Gamma, the National Collegiate Foreign Language Honor Society, was founded in 1931 with the primary purpose of honoring students for outstanding achievement in foreign language study during college. Activities of the society are: biennial national conventions, regional conferences, chapter meetings and special chapter activities like sponsorship of National Foreign Language Week.

Beta Alpha Psi is an international honor organization for accounting, finance and information systems students attending universities accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business or the European Quality Improvement System. Beta Alpha Psi has a stellar reputation for instilling the principles of excellence, achievement and service in tomorrow's financial information leaders. The purpose of Beta Alpha Psi is to recognize outstanding academic achievements in the field of accounting, finance, and information systems; promote the study and practice of professional fields related to these disciplines; provide opportunities for self-development and association among members and practicing financial professionals; encourage a sense of ethical, social, and public responsibilities. membership in Beta Alpha Psi is by invitation only.

Beta Gamma Sigma is the international honor society serving business programs accredited by AACSB International - The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The mission of Beta Gamma Sigma is "to encourage and honor academic achievement in the study of business, to foster personal and professional excellence, to advance the values of the Society, and to serve its lifelong members." Membership in Beta Gamma Sigma is by invitation only and is limited to seniors and rising seniors who are in the top 10 percent of their class, who have completed 30 or more semester hours in residence at USC Upstate and at least nine hours of the JCBE Upper Level Core.

A chapter of Gamma Beta Phi National Honor Society was chartered at USC Upstate in 1978. Membership is open to students who rank in the top 15 percent of their class and who have completed 15 or more semester hours in residence at USC Upstate.
A chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, a national education honorary fraternity, was established at USC Upstate in the spring of 1978. It is open to juniors and seniors who have outstanding academic records and a strong commitment to the profession of education.
The Mu Rho Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, the International Honor Society for Nursing, was chartered in March 1992. Membership is open to BSN students in the top 35 percent of the senior class with a minimum GPA of 3.0. This academic society strives to promote excellence and the advancement of nursing knowledge, research and leadership.

Omicron Delta Kappa is a leadership and scholarship honor society affiliated with Omicron Delta Kappa National fraternity. Membership is open to juniors and seniors who rank in the top 20 percent of their class and who meet chapter criteria for leadership and service to the campus.

Phi Kappa Phi, dedicated to the recognition and promotion of academic excellence in all fields of higher education, is the nation's oldest and largest all-discipline honor society. Membership in Phi Kappa Phi is by invitation only. Those invited to membership include the top 7.5 percent of last-term juniors and the top 10 percent of seniors, along with outstanding graduate students, faculty, professional staff, and alumni.

Pi Sigma Alpha is the national political science honor society. The Nu Kappa chapter was chartered at USC Upstate in 1982. Membership is open to students who attain a B average, both overall and in political science courses. Applicants must have completed 10 semester hours in political science and be ranked in the upper third of their college class.
Psi Chi, the National Honor Society in Psychology, was founded in 1929 for the purposes of encouraging, stimulating, and maintaining excellence in scholarship and advancing the science of psychology.  The chapter at USC Upstate was chartered in 1993.  To be eligible for membership, students must be psychology majors (or IDS bi-disciplinary psychology majors) who have completed at least three semesters of college work including nine hours of psychology.  Eligible students must rank in the top 35 percent of their class and have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in psychology courses.