Graduating with Honors

Graduating with Honors

Graduating Summa Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, or Cum Laude

Honor cords are double ropes knotted at the back of the neck and worn over the robe during commencement. The cords are awarded for academic honor, as well as for service and leadership. At Penn State Altoona, only honor cords for academic achievement or from recognized campus honor societies may be worn.

Associate and baccalaureate degree candidates who graduate summa cum laude, magna cum laude, or cum laude are awarded blue and white, blue, or white academic honor cords, respectively. To receive these distinctions, they must meet the following qualifications:

Penn State Altoona baccalaureate degree candidates graduating summa cum laude have attained a cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 3.95 or higher; candidates graduating magna cum laude have attained a cumulative GPA between 3.86 and 3.94; and candidates graduating cum laude have attained a cumulative GPA between 3.78 and 3.85.

The College of Education confers the degree in Childhood and Early Adolescent Education offered at Penn State Altoona. Its baccalaureate degree candidates graduating summa cum laude have attained a GPA of 3.99; candidates graduating magna cum laude have attained a cumulative GPA between 3.96 and 3.98; and candidates graduating cum laude have attained a cumulative GPA between 3.91 and 3.95.

The College of Engineering confers the degree in Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology offered at Penn State Altoona. Its baccalaureate degree candidates graduating summa cum laude have attained a GPA of 3.95 or higher; candidates graduating magna cum laude have attained a cumulative GPA between 3.88 and 3.94; and candidates graduating cum laude have attained a cumulative GPA between 3.79 and 3.87.

The College of Nursing confers the degree in Nursing offered at Penn State Altoona. Its baccalaureate degree candidates graduating summa cum laude have attained a GPA of 4.00; candidates graduating magna cum laude have attained a cumulative GPA between 3.94 and 3.99; and candidates graduating cum laude have attained a cumulative GPA between 3.89 and 3.93.

Throughout The Pennsylvania State University, associate degree candidates graduating summa cum laude have attained a cumulative GPA of 3.94 or higher; candidates graduating magna cum laude have attained a cumulative GPA between 3.77 and 3.93; and candidates graduating cum laude have attained a cumulative GPA between 3.61 and 3.76.

Penn State Altoona currently has sixteen honor societies that award honor cords for service or leadership.

  • Alpha Lambda Delta
    (National Honor Society for First-Year Students)
    Red, gold, and white cords
  • Alpha Phi Sigma
    (National Criminal Justice Honor Society)
    Blue and gold braided cords
  • Beta Beta Beta
    (National Biological Honor Society)
    Forest Green and red cords
  • Chi Alpha Sigma
    (National College Athlete Honor Society)
    Medallion with black ribbon
  • Kappa Delta Pi
    (International Honor Society in Education)
    Green and purple cords
  • Kappa Omicron Nu
    (The Human Services Honor Society)
    Double cream and burgundy cords
  • Lambda Pi Eta
    (National Communication Association Honor Society)
    Gold cords
  • National Residence Hall Honorary
    (Blue and White Chapter)
    Blue and white cords
  • Penn State Altoona Honors Program
    Royal purple cords
  • Phi Alpha Theta
    (National History Honor Society)
    Red and blue/gray cords
  • Schreyer Honors College Scholars
    The Scholars Medal
  • Sheetz Fellows
    Medallion with blue ribbon
  • Sigma Beta Delta
    (International Honor Society for Business, Management and Administration)
    Green and gold cords
  • Sigma Tau Delta
    (International English Honor Society)
    Red and black cords
  • Tau Alpha Pi
    (National Honor Society for Engineering Technology)
    Green and gold cords
  • Veterans and Active Duty Military
    Red, white, and blue cords