Dean's List & Honoraries FAQs

Download PDF: Spring 2024 Dean's List

Frequently Asked Questions

Dean's List Qualifications

Each semester the university issues a Dean's List comprised of those students  who have carried at least 12-credit hours of graded or S-F courses with a 3.50 GPA or above for the semester. Courses taken on a P-NP basis do not count as part of the 12-credit hour requirement. The 12-credit hour requirement excludes "P" (Pass) and "I" (Incomplete) marks; "S" (Satisfactory) grades and designated repeat are counted; however, R-credit courses with "S" grades do not count into the number of credit hours. No Dean's List is issued for the summer session.

*Due to COVID 19, the spring 2020 Dean's List used the following criteria: A minimum of 9-credit hours of graded or S-F courses with a 3.50 GPA or above for the semester. Courses taken on a P/NP grading basis do not count as part of the 9-credit hours requirement.

How Dean's List information is released

The Dean’s List information is sent to the parent’s hometown newspaper approximately three-four weeks after the term. It is up to the discretion of the newspaper editor at what point they wish to publish the information. The Dean’s List is not sent to addresses outside of the United States. Please note: If a student has checked the option for "no information release" in AccessPlus, their information will not be released. Students must have a parent/guardian address on file in AccessPlus to identify hometown newspapers.

The cut off dates for the university to send information to newspapers is July 1 for the spring Dean's List and Feb. 1 for the fall Dean's List. After these dates, it will be up to the student to contact their respective newspapers and they can refer to the Dean's List posted on this site and/or the email or letter they receive from their college.

For more information, contact the Office of the Registrar, 214 Enrollment Services Center, (515) 294-1840; or News Service at (515) 294-8986.

Graduation with Distinction

At Iowa State University, candidates for graduation with distinction must have completed 60 semester credits of coursework at ISU at the time they graduate, including a minimum of 50 graded credits. Those graduating summa cum laude (with highest distinction) have earned a grade-point average of 3.90 or higher; magna cum laude (with great distinction) have a grade-point average of 3.70 to 3.89; or cum laude (with distinction) have a grade-point average 3.50 to 3.69. Grade-point averages are based on a 4.0 scale. In addition to the notation in the commencement program, this recognition appears on the official transcript and diploma.
The University Honors Program is an individually planned program of study designed to provide greater depth and breadth of scholarship than the regular curriculum.

For more information, contact the graduation area, Office of the Registrar, 210A Enrollment Services Center, 294-1840.


The top 2% of graduating seniors receive a notation on the transcript. In addition, many honoraries also are noted on the transcript. The current list is available from the Student Activities Center .

Criteria for inclusion of honors society on the transcript:

  • needs to be a registered student organization at ISU
  • must base their membership on academic achievement
  • must promote and recognize academic achievement and related standards of excellence on campus
  • must be recognized by the Association of College Honor Societies

Requests for honor societies to go on transcripts are reviewed by a committee appointed by the Provost (includes the Registrar). Honoraries are placed on the transcript as notations in the following format:
CARDINAL KEY 2016 - 2017