The Aquinas Scholars Honors Program is the undergraduate honors program. Its purpose is to provide opportunities for motivated and curious students to deepen and enrich their undergraduate education.
Aquinas Scholars take a minimum of four honors sections of core curriculum courses. (Students admitted to the program with 45 or more credits completed take only three sections.) Limited to 20 students, the honors sections emphasize depth and encourage discussion.
Aquinas Scholars are also required to complete a minimum of three interdisciplinary honors seminars (on the standard grading system), which bring together instructors from two different departments and students from a variety of disciplines to approach a topic of intellectual interest. This seminar format provides students the opportunity to situate themselves within a broader intellectual community at a time when much of their other coursework is engaging them on a more focused level. Aquinas Scholars are not charged tuition for the honors seminars.
The Aquinas Scholars Honors Program also sponsors a variety of co-curricular and extracurricular activities. All St. Thomas undergraduate students are eligible to apply to the program; continuing and transfer students must have at least a 3.60 grade point average. Students need to apply to the program early enough to complete the course requirements.
For further information, contact Dr. Eric H. Fort, Director of the Honors Program (email@example.com) or Erica Berglund, Administrative Assistant for the Program (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dean’s Honor List
A student who attains a grade point average of 3.50 or more at the end of a semester in which they have taken at least twelve credits for regular grades (A, B, C) will be placed on the Dean’s Honor List if there are no grades of D or F or marks of I or R. (Evening program students must have taken at least eight credits in a semester and meet the same requirements.)
The list is made public and the student receives a letter of commendation from the Associate Vice Provost for Student Achievement.
Delta Epsilon Sigma
Delta Epsilon Sigma, a national honor society for students enrolled in Catholic colleges and universities, was established at St. Thomas in 1941. Students become eligible for membership in their junior year. St. Thomas students are accepted into the national organization of Delta Epsilon Sigma after they have been accepted into the University of St. Thomas Alpha Sigma chapter and are nominated for membership in the national organization.
Senior candidates must have earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.50, while junior candidates must have a cumulative 3.75 grade point average. In the case of transfer credits, the St. Thomas grade point average must also satisfy the minimum requirement, with a minimum of twelve St. Thomas credits taken for letter grade. Graduate students are eligible for membership upon completion of one-half of their master’s degree requirements. Alumni are eligible if they have graduated with honors or have received a graduate degree.
Student members receive the Delta Epsilon Sigma Journal published by the national society three times each year. In addition, student members may submit articles for publication to the Journal, and apply for senior year and graduate school scholarships. Induction ceremonies are held in the spring semester each year.
Members enjoy the following privileges: no restriction on class loads, and attendance as guests of the university at special academic functions.
Department Honor Societies
A number of departments offer membership in an honor society for the particular discipline. Each of these is explained in more detail in the description of the department’s offerings in the Curricula section of this catalog.
- Aerospace Studies - Arnold Air Society & Silver Wings
- Biology –Gamma Tau chapter of Beta Beta Beta
- Business - Beta Gamma Sigma
- Communication and Journalism – Beta Chi chapter of Lambda Pi Eta
- Economics – Omicron Delta Epsilon
- English – Sigma Tau Delta
- Foreign Language – Alpha Mu Gamma
- German - Delta Phi Alpha
- Geography – Mu Alpha Pi
- History – Phi Alpha Theta
- Neuroscience - Nu Rho Psi
- Political Science – Chi Theta chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha
- Psychology – Psi Chi
- Religious Studies and Theology – Theta Alpha Kappa
- Social Work – Beta Epsilon chapter of Phi Alpha
- Sociology and Criminal Justice – Iota chapter of Alpha Kappa Delta
- Spanish - Sigma Delta Pi
Three types of academic honors are conferred upon graduates of the undergraduate program.
All students considered for graduation with Latin honors have a minimum of 52 credits taken for letter grade (A, B, C, D) at the University of St. Thomas.
All students eligible for Latin honors who have applied for graduation will be informed by the Office of the Associate Vice Provost for Student Achievement before mid-term of their final semester that they are eligible for this honor.
A student whose overall cumulative grade point average and St. Thomas grade point average are both between 3.50 and 3.69 receives the baccalaureate degree cum laude.
Magna Cum Laude
A student whose overall cumulative grade point average and St. Thomas grade point average are both between 3.70 and 3.89 receives the baccalaureate degree magna cum laude.
Summa Cum Laude
A student whose overall cumulative grade point average and St. Thomas grade point average are both 3.90 or higher and who is judged to be outstanding by members of an Honors Oral Examination Committee receives the baccalaureate degree summa cum laude.
The examination committee is composed of faculty members. The student should invite a full-time faculty member from the student’s major department to chair the committee. A student with multiple majors may choose a faculty chair from any of their major departments.
In consultation with the selected faculty chair, the student should invite two additional faculty members to constitute a three-person committee that represents three different departments and at least two academic areas of the undergraduate program. For the purposes of the Summa exam, the academic areas are:
- The Division of Arts and Letters in the College of Arts and Sciences
- The Division of Catholic Studies, Justice and Peace Studies, Philosophy, and Theology in the College of Arts and Sciences
- The Division of Science and Mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences, together with the School of Engineering
- The Division of Social Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences, together with the School of Social Work
- The College of Business
- The School of Education.
In consultation with the faculty chair, the student should choose one of the following three options for structuring the examination, and then inform all of the faculty examiners which of these options has been selected:
- The student selects a central theme for the examination and prepares a five-page paper on that theme, integrating the student’s major field with the areas represented by the examiners and, to the extent possible, with the liberal arts more broadly. This paper will be sent by the student to the examiners at least one week prior to the examination date. This paper will be the focus of the examination.
- The student selects a central theme for the examination and develops an outline of ideas on the theme, integrating the student’s major field with the areas represented by the examiners and, to the extent possible, with the liberal arts more broadly. This outline will be made available to the examiners at the time of the oral examination and will be the basis of a twenty-minute oral presentation by the student, which will then become the focus of the remainder of the examination.
- The student collects three exhibits to be included in a Summa Cum Laude portfolio, representing three disciplines. These exhibits might be papers, projects, lab reports, or other documents illustrating the student’s academic achievement at St. Thomas. The exhibits should represent three distinct disciplines. The student also writes a five-page reflective essay that introduces the contents of the portfolio. The essay should explain the contexts in which the exhibits were produced, and why the student believes these materials provide a good picture of his or her academic achievements at St. Thomas. In addition, the essay should draw connections among the three exhibits, showing how they work together to illustrate intellectual depth, breadth, or growth. The student uploads these materials onto SharePoint in an electronic portfolio. Committee members will have access to these materials at least two weeks before the Summa Cum Laude examination. The three exhibits together with the essay will be the focus of the examination
Further details concerning the examination will be sent to eligible students and the chairs of their departments by the Office of the Associate Vice Provost for Student Achievement.
If a student who is eligible to graduate summa cum laude chooses not to take the Honors Oral Examination, the student will receive the magna cum laude designation.