Scholastic Distinction  {SF State Bulletin 2013 - 2014}

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Scholastic Distinction


Undergraduate Students

Satisfactory Scholarship: An undergraduate student working for a baccalaureate degree is expected to maintain a grade point average of 2.0 (C) or better in all work at San Francisco State University. To be eligible for a baccalaureate degree, a student must have a grade point average of at least 2.0 (C) in: (1) all courses taken at San Francisco State University, (2) all courses taken at the college or university level, and (3) all courses in their major.


Semester Dean’s List

Each semester the university recognizes undergraduate students who have attained high scholastic achievement. The following criteria are used:

  • The student registered for and completed a minimum of twelve (12) semester units for the semester. Only those courses where A-F grades were assigned are counted.
  • The student attained a grade point average of 3.25 or higher for the semester.
  • Only resident courses are used in computing the grade point average (see Residence Requirement).
  • Only grades for the semester under consideration are used in computing the grade point average.


Graduation with Honors

Honors are granted with the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music, and Bachelor of Science. For students who entered the university beginning Fall 1996, honors are based on the cumulative grade point average (GPA) at the time of graduation (across all units attempted, whether in residence or transferred from other institutions). The level of honors granted is determined by the grade point average earned in all university and college work attempted according to the following scale:

  • A student whose GPA is 3.50-3.69 shall graduate cum laude.
  • A student whose GPA is 3.70-3.84 shall graduate magna cum laude.
  • A student whose GPA is 3.85 or greater shall graduate summa cum laude.


Note: in the calculation of honors, GPA is not rounded up and is based on the actual student GPA.


A preliminary honors list is compiled based on all work completed excluding the last semester. Those meeting honors requirements on this basis are designated on the commencement program as “candidates for honors.” The final honors list is compiled at the time of final clearance for graduation and is based on all course work completed.


Phi Beta Kappa

Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest honor society in the United States, maintains a chapter at San Francisco State University. Known as Omicron of California, the chapter grants membership, by invitation only, to students in their senior year. Requirements for membership as established by the Phi Beta Kappa Society in Washington, D.C., and by the campus chapter are:

  • A student must have completed at least 100 semester units towards graduation.
  • At least 45 of those 100 semester units must have been earned at San Francisco State University.
  • A student’s grade point average must place him/her among the top students in the graduating class. Most initiates have earned a grade point average above 3.7.
  • A student must be majoring in one of the liberal subjects. That means the major normally would be in some subject taught in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, or the College of Ethnic Studies, or the College of Liberal & Creative Arts, or the College of Science and Engineering, although not all majors in those colleges are considered liberal subjects.
  • A student must have earned at least 90 semester units of credit in liberal subjects as listed above.
  • Applied, professional, or vocational courses cannot be considered as qualifying for Phi Beta Kappa membership. Work in such courses as business, broadcasting, studio arts, education, engineering, and journalism are considered "professional."
  • The student’s coursework must include a broad spectrum of studies in the sciences, the humanities, and the behavioral and social sciences. Evaluators are looking for depth as well as breadth and will, consequently, expect to find that a student has taken some courses beyond a mere introduction to a given subject.
  • A student must have completed at least three units of university-level mathematics. Remedial courses will not be counted. Math courses accepted for GE are not necessarily acceptable for Phi Beta Kappa. A partial list of acceptable mathematics courses includes MATH 110, Business Calculus; MATH 124, Elementary Statistics; MATH 165, Concepts of the Number System; MATH 226, Calculus I; MATH 330, Discrete Mathematics; MATH 565, Concepts of Geometry, Measurement, and Probability; DS 110, Mathematical Analysis for Business; ISED 160, Data Analysis in Education; PHIL 205, Formal Logic I; PSY 371, Psychological Statistics; or any course for which these are prerequisite.
  • A student must have studied a foreign language and be able to demonstrate an ability to read and write in that language. Evaluators will look for evidence that a student has progressed at least through three semesters of a foreign language or equivalent at the college level. Some students may have entered San Francisco State University with six units of Advanced Placement credit in a language and could, therefore, go directly into a third semester language course. Students who can demonstrate that their native language was not English may count English competence as fulfilling the foreign language requirement.


An interested student who meets these minimum qualifications should contact his/her advisor for possible nomination for membership in the society.


The selection process starts at the beginning of the fall semester of each year. Transcripts are reviewed and a final vote on all candidates is made by the entire Chapter no later than spring. Once this vote is taken, it is impossible to elect any more new members until the following spring. New members who accept the invitation to membership are initiated at a formal ceremony, and attendance at the ceremony is required. Persons graduated at the end of fall semester may be considered for election during the spring semester immediately following graduation. Persons graduated earlier than one semester preceding the spring election process will generally not be considered for membership.



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