Graduation and Commencement

Hendrix College, Academic Affairs - Student
Policy # 02160
Effective: Monday, October 15, 2018
Additional Authority
Responsible Party

1. Application for Graduation & Commencement

A student preparing to graduate must complete an Application for Graduation form in the Office of the Registrar no later than the mid-semester break in the semester immediately preceding the student’s final semester at Hendrix. (Spring graduates must file applications by the fall mid-semester break.) Failure to do so may preclude the student from participating in Commencement and may result in his or her diploma not being available at Commencement.

All Hendrix students who have completed their degree requirements are expected to graduate and to participate in Commencement. Students who have failed to satisfy two or fewer outstanding degree requirements may be eligible to participate in Commencement if they plan to complete their degree requirements prior to the start of the next academic year. Those students must seek special permission from the Registrar to participate in Commencement, and those requests must be submitted at least one month prior to Commencement.

2. Graduation with Distinction

The Bachelor of Arts with “Distinction in (a department or program name)” is conferred upon those graduating seniors who fulfill criteria determined by the department or program. In determining requirements for distinction, a department or program considers such criteria as the following:

  • Overall grade point average;
  • Grade point average in courses required by the department;
  • Grade on a comprehensive examination;
  • Independent project(s);
  • Recommendation from faculty in department or program;
  • Some evidence of collegiate breadth such as:
    • Grade point average in courses outside the major,
    • Grade point average in the Collegiate Center,
    • Course distribution,
    • Recommendation from faculty member(s) outside the major,
    • Papers done in departments other than the major,
    • Extracurricular activities, and
    • Other evidence deserving consideration.
  • Departmental interview open to all faculty;
  • Other appropriate criteria as the department determines.

The department or program reviews and evaluates the achievements of senior majors. Selection of students for graduation with Distinction is made by the department or program after evaluation of all available information.

Students may also earn Distinction in Odyssey by completing projects in each of the six Odyssey categories by the time of their graduation. Five of the six categories must be completed by the time of the Honors Day award identification deadline, though Odyssey-coded courses may be underway.

The achievement of Distinction does not preclude graduation with collegiate Honors. For example, a student may graduate with a designation such as the following “Bachelor of Arts Cum Laude, with Distinction in Biology.”

3. Graduation with Honors

In order to recognize graduating seniors who have done outstanding work in the collegiate curriculum, the College awards the Bachelor of Arts Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, or Summa Cum Laude. The Committee on Honors submits for faculty approval each year a minimum grade point average for the following year for each level of honors. Currently, the scale is the following:

Cum Laude         
Magna Cum Laude
Summa Cum Laude         

4. Phi Beta Kappa

Members in course are elected to Phi Beta Kappa primarily on the basis of broad cultural interests, scholarly achievement, and good character.

The Phi Beta Kappa Society sets the minimum requirements that must be met in order for a student to be considered for election. Beyond the College’s graduation requirements under the Foreign Language capacity, students whose mother tongue is English must achieve intermediate proficiency in a foreign language that is equivalent to a third semester course at Hendrix.  Not all schools cover material at the same rate, so not all third-semester language courses are equivalent to Hendrix third-semester courses.  Any student with questions about using a transfer course to fulfill this requirement should feel free to contact an officer of the chapter. Fulfillment of the College’s graduation requirements under the Quantitative Skills Capacity generally satisfies the minimum criterion in this area for Phi Beta Kappa eligibility, though completion of one or more courses in mathematics is viewed favorably. At least three-fourths of the degree program must be in liberal arts work, i.e., not applied or professional work. Grades earned in applied or professional coursework are not counted in the GPA for purposes of Phi Beta Kappa eligibility. Applied and professional work includes all training intended to develop vocational skills or techniques. These courses include, but are not limited to, applied education and accounting courses.

Weight is given to the breadth of the program of study as shown by the number, variety, and level of courses taken outside the major(s). Weight also is given to the balance and proportion of the candidate’s degree program as a whole. Therefore, exploration of areas outside the major(s) beyond the minimum coursework required for graduation will strengthen a student’s qualifications.

Members are elected during the spring semester each year. In general, the Hendrix chapter considers only students who are in their last semester prior to graduation or who completed their degrees the previous December or August.


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