May 30, 2020  
2008 - 2009 Undergraduate Catalog 
2008 - 2009 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Achievement


Honors Program


Students with outstanding academic records (e.g. GPA, standardized test scores, class rank, honors or AP courses, language courses) are invited to join the Honors Program. In their first year, honors students are required to take the two-semester sequence of Great Works of the Western World I and II, which fulfill the Critical Inquiries of Textual Analysis and Social, Cultural, and Historical Understanding, respectively. Students are also required to take four honors electives. Examples of recent honors electives include Bioethics, World of Light and Color, and Politics of Developing Areas. Students also pursue honors in an individual department or discipline, and in their senior year present that departmental project in a multidisciplinary Senior Honors Colloquium. All honors students also must maintain a 3.50 GPA. Students are encouraged to study abroad; the Honors Faculty Committee will consider a student petition for a substitution of a semester abroad in advance of the trip. Students may choose to live in honors housing and participate in extra- and co-curricular activities together, such as attending a play or symphony. Students may also serve as officers on the Student Executive Board that is involved in running the Honors Program. Completion of the program earns a certificate designating students as College Scholars. The Honors Program is by invitation only and certain students who earn a high enough GPA will be asked to join after they complete their first semester at McDaniel. Such students will be invited to interview and submit an application. Questions regarding the Honors Program should be addressed to the Director of the Honors Program, or e-mailed to

Phi Beta Kappa Society


Phi Beta Kappa was established in 1776 as a philosophical society. Eventually, it evolved into the paramount honor society for the liberal arts in the United States and consists currently of 276 local chapters. Its goal is to support, foster, and recognize the excellence of liberal arts scholarship in the institutions of higher education in America. The Delta of Maryland Chapter at McDaniel College was established in 1980. The chapter consists of members of the society who conduct the business of the society and elect student members, usually in the second semester of their senior year.

The requirements for membership include a major in the arts and sciences, exceptional scholarly achievement, broad cultural interests, and good character. Candidates must present a program including no fewer than 96 credit hours of liberal studies (or at least 3/4 of the courses required for the B.A. degree) and have obtained a minimum grade point average specified by the chapter. Liberal studies shall be considered to be those designed principally for knowledge, understanding, or appreciation of the natural and social world in which we live. Grades earned in applied or professional work may not be counted in computing the liberal arts hours or the grade point average for eligibility.

In considering a candidate’s eligibility, weight will be given to the breadth of the program as shown by the number, balance, and variety of courses (including some at the upper level) taken outside the major. Also, as befits a liberal education, students must have demonstrated college-level knowledge of mathematics and a foreign language. This knowledge is identified by an AP score of 4 or higher in mathematics, placement into Calculus, or completion of a college-level mathematics course (3-4 credits) and by completing a 2000 level foreign language course. Election to membership in Phi Beta Kappa is wholly within the discretion of the local chapter, subject only to the limitations imposed by the constitution and by-laws of the chapter.

Eligible candidates will have completed at least three full semesters of work at the College and be registered as full time for the fourth semester. Students who complete their college studies at the end of the summer session or before the end of January will be considered for membership during the following spring. Questions may be directed to the president or secretary of the Chapter.

Honor Societies


In addition to Phi Beta Kappa, there are numerous other honorary societies on campus. Three societies oriented toward general accomplishment are Omicron Delta Kappa, a national society recognizing leadership qualities; Alpha Lambda Delta, a national honor society for first-year students; and the Trumpeters, a local society honoring senior students dedicated to service.

National and international honor societies which recognize academic accomplishment in specific fields are Beta Beta Beta (Biology), Gamma Sigma Epsilon (Chemistry), Lambda Pi Eta (Communication), Omicron Delta Epsilon (Economics), Kappa Delta Pi (Education), Phi Alpha Theta (History), Lambda Iota Tau (Literature), Phi Sigma Iota (Foreign Languages), Kappa Mu Epsilon (Mathematics), Omicron Psi (Nontraditional Students), Phi Sigma Tau (Philosophy), Sigma Pi Sigma (Physics), Pi Sigma Alpha (Political Science), Psi Chi (Psychology), Pi Gamma Mu (Social Sciences), Phi Alpha (Social Work), and Alpha Psi Omega (Theatre Arts).

Dean’s List


The Dean’s List recognizes full-time (12 or more letter-graded credit hours) undergraduate students with outstanding academic performances each semester on the following basis:

  • Highest honors, requiring a semester grade point average of 3.90 or higher.
  • High honors, requiring a semester grade point average of 3.70-3.89.
  • Honors, requiring a semester grade point average of 3.50-3.69.
  • Students who receive a grade of “I” or “NR” in any of their courses are not eligible for Dean’s List.

General Honors at Graduation


General honors citations are recognized at graduation and recorded on the diplomas and on the students’ permanent records. These honors are:

  • Summa Cum Laude, for a cumulative grade point average of 3.90 or higher.
  • Magna Cum Laude, for a cumulative grade point average of 3.70-3.89.
  • Cum Laude, for a cumulative grade point average of 3.50-3.69.

Eligibility for general honors requires a minimum of 64 credit hours at the College or affiliated programs such as overseas programs, the Washington Semester, Gallaudet Visiting Student Program, and courses taken at the Budapest campus.

Departmental Honors at Graduation


Departmental honors are recognized at graduation and are recorded on the students’ permanent records. To receive departmental honors, students must:

  • Have a grade point average of 3.50 in all courses taken in the major.
  • Satisfy any departmental requirements, such as engaging in a seminar or in independent study, submitting an essay, or passing with distinction a comprehensive examination in the major field.
  • Be recommended by the department.

This option is also available to those students with student-designed majors.

Edith Farr Ridington Phi Beta Kappa Writing Award


The Edith Farr Ridington Phi Beta Kappa Writing Award was established by the College’s Phi Beta Kappa Chapter to honor Edith Farr Ridington (Senior Lecturer Emerita, until her death), long-time member of the faculty and charter member and historian of the Delta of Maryland Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. The award goes to the graduating senior whose paper, written in consideration for honors in a major field, is judged to be the best of those submitted by the various departments or programs.

The Argonaut Award


The Argonaut Award, named for the College’s original honor society founded in 1935 and superseded by Phi Beta Kappa in 1980, is given to the graduating senior or seniors with the highest cumulative grade point average in the class. For purposes of this award, the cumulative grade point average will be calculated based upon the student’s entire transcript, using both transfer and the College’s credits.