Drew awards three types of academic honors at graduation:
General honors, based on the cumulative grade point average, are awarded in three grades: cum laude (3.60–3.74), magna cum laude (3.75–3.89), and summa cum laude (3.90 and higher). A student must complete at least 48 credits of study at Drew and have received no more than one grade of “F” or the equivalent to be eligible for graduation with general honors.
College honors are awarded to students who complete successfully all the requirements of the Baldwin Honors Program.
The Baldwin Honors Program enrolls 35-40 students in each class; 20 of them are admitted to the program on the basis of their high school record; an additional 15-20 may join the program once they are at Drew. The Honors Program Advisory Committee has some discretion in the number of students selected to join.
Admission From High School – High school students applying to Drew whose records demonstrate academic purposefulness and talent, engagement and leadership, and who have achieved a GPA of 3.7 or above, are eligible. The Admissions Office, in consultation with the Honors Program director, selects the students who are offered admission to the Honors Program. Admission to the program is based on a rubric which takes into account, in addition to GPA, the level of challenge of the student’s high school program, SAT scores or graded paper, and evidence of engagement and academic leadership based on the student’s letters of recommendation.
Admission at Drew – Students may be nominated by the faculty to join the Honors Program or they may apply at the end of their first year and at the end of each semester of the sophomore year. The program’s Advisory Committee assesses the applications and admits those most qualified to participate. Student applications are evaluated on the basis of the students’ demonstrated engagement with their academic program, their purposefulness about their education, their leadership in the classroom and/or on campus, their achievement of a Drew GPA of 3.5 or above, and their standing in the top 15% of their class.
Good Standing – Students must maintain an overall GPA of 3.5 in order to remain in the program and must also maintain the highest standards of academic integrity and student conduct. The director reviews student records at the end of every semester and warns any student who is in jeopardy. Academic records are formally reviewed at the end of each academic year; any decisions about dismissal from the program are made at that time. Failure to meet other requirements of the program may also result in students being placed on probation or dismissed. Decisions about dismissal from the program and about appeals on the basis of extraordinary circumstances are made by the Honors Program director and the Faculty Advisory Committee.
Financial Aid – All students admitted to the program from high school receive a substantial merit award in addition to need-based aid. Students retain the award for the four years they are at Drew unless they are dismissed from the program.
Specialized honors are awarded to students who prepare and successfully defend a substantive thesis on a topic within an academic discipline or interdisciplinary area and who graduate having achieved an overall GPA of 3.2 and a GPA of 3.5 in the courses included in the major or area. Students must have completed at least 48 credits of study at Drew to be eligible for specialized honors. Students may only work on an honors thesis in their last two semesters at Drew.
During the spring of the junior year, students who have achieved an overall GPA of 3.1 may choose to enroll in HON 397 , the optional Pre-Honors Colloquium, a two-credit course designed to help students prepare for honors work through completion of a prospectus and an annotated bibliography. In the middle of the spring semester, all juniors with a 3.1 GPA, whether enrolled in HON 397 or not, are invited to enter the specialized honors program.
Most students pursuing specialized honors enroll in 410 (fall) and 411 (spring), in the field in which they wish to pursue honors. These courses allow the student to earn at most eight credits for work on the honors research project. Although students may write an honors thesis without enrolling in these courses, it is rarely advisable.
All candidates for specialized honors must participate in the Honors Colloquium held during the fall semester, at which they discuss the background and progress of their work. Students should work closely throughout the year with their thesis adviser and with other members of their thesis committee to determine a plan of work, define research objectives, set deadlines, and review and revise drafts. For honors to be awarded, a draft of the thesis must be completed by the middle of the spring semester and successfully defended and deposited in the library before the last day of classes. If the student, adviser, or chair of the Honors Committee decides that the thesis cannot be successfully completed or if the thesis committee does not believe that the thesis and the defense merit honors, a student who has been enrolled in a credit-bearing honors course (410/411) may still receive independent study credit for the honors work, subject to the approval of the adviser and the Academic Standing Committee.
The specialized honors program is described in more detail in a booklet available in the Office of the Dean of the College or from the chair of the Honors Committee.