Rhode Island College recognizes intellectual and creative excellence in four primary ways: (1) through the publication each semester of the Dean’s List, (2) through honors programs, (3) through graduation honors, and (4) through awards.
The 3.5 Society
Full-time freshmen who earn a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 in their first semester or by the end of their first year will automatically become members of The 3.50 Society in recognition of their scholastic achievement.
Fulltime students who attain a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.25 in any semester have their names placed on the Dean’s List in recognition of their scholastic achievement. (During a student teaching semester, students must attain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00, as well as a minimum semester GPA of 3.00, and earn at least a grade of Satisfactory in student teaching.)
College Honors Program
The College Honors Program offers academically superior students, regardless of major, the opportunity to participate in a four-year honors experience. The program has two parts: General Education Honors and Departmental Honors. Each part may be taken independently of the other and will be noted on the student’s official transcript. However, both parts must be completed in order to receive the additional designation of “College Honors” on the transcript.
General Education Honors
General Education Honors admits students directly from high school, during their freshman year, or as transfers. General Education Honors is normally, although not necessarily, completed by the end of the sophomore year.
Students take a minimum of five General Education courses, normally including the three core requirements, in specially designed honors sections. These sections are designed to be more intellectually challenging than regular courses and are kept small in size, thus allowing ample opportunity for class discussion and for individualized study.
Successful completion of General Education Honors requires a minimum overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.00. All honors courses taken are noted on the student’s transcript, as is the completion of General Education Honors as a whole. Students may withdraw from the program at any time.
Admission to General Education Honors is by invitation of the director of honors and the College Honors Committee. Students invited into General Education Honors normally rank in the top 20 percent of their high school class, have taken demanding academic schedules, and have scored at least 1200 on the SAT. Each student’s application is reviewed individually and other factors are considered, such as activities, recommendations, the student’s high school curriculum, and his or her personal statement. Students may also join on the basis of their performance at Rhode Island College during their first year or as transfer students, if they have not already completed too many General Education courses.
Each year Rhode Island College awards a number of merit-based financial scholarships to students in General Education Honors. Those scholarships are renewable for a maximum of four years as long as the student maintains full-time status with a minimum GPA of 3.00 and makes satisfactory progress toward completing General Education Honors.
Other financial scholarships specifically for General Education Honors students are the Eleanor M. McMahon Award, which is presented to an outstanding graduating senior who has completed both General Education Honors and Departmental Honors; the Eleanor M. McMahon Rising Junior Award, which is presented to a rising junior in General Education Honors who plans to complete a departmental honors project; the John Nazarian Honors Scholarship, which is awarded to an outstanding incoming freshman in General Education Honors; the Director of Honors Scholarship, which is given to a deserving student in General Education Honors; and the Ruth Williams ’33 Honors Scholarship, which is given to students from the Westerly, Rhode Island area.
Honors 351: Honors Colloquium admits continuing and transfer students who have achieved a cumulative grade point average of 3.00, whether or not they have participated in General Education Honors. Although most students will have attained junior status, this colloquium is open to second-semester sophomores as well. This course may be taken twice for credit.
Honors 351 promotes intellectual and social community among students from different disciplines at the college. It teaches students to think self-analytically about their majors and about working in particular academic genres. It helps students decide whether or not to undertake departmental honors work and guides them in the initial stages of identifying, researching, and proposing honors projects in their respective majors.
Departmental Honors offers students the opportunity to undertake an independent research, critical, or creative project on a topic of the student’s choice and directed by a professor of the student’s choice. Normally, the project begins in the senior year, although it may commence earlier, and carries six to eight hours of independent study credit over two semesters. Students may participate in Departmental Honors whether or not they have completed General Education Honors or taken Honors 351.
A Departmental Honors project is completed in the department of the student’s major. The student must apply formally to the appropriate departmental honors committee, which is responsible for accepting the student’s proposal for an honors project, for evaluating the completed project, and for awarding the Departmental Honors designation, which will appear on the student’s transcript. If the student’s project involves work with persons or animals, the project must also be approved by the Committee on Human Participants in Research or the Committee on Animal Care and Use. Individual departments may also require that the student take specific upper-level courses in addition to or as part of the honors project. Undergraduate research/creativity grants are available to support honors projects.
If there is no honors program in the student’s major or if the student wishes to undertake an interdisciplinary project that cannot be accommodated in the major, the student may apply to the director of honors to appoint an appropriate faculty committee to review the student’s proposal and to oversee the project. In such cases, the student’s transcript will reflect completion of an Honors Independent Project rather than Departmental Honors. Such students will still be eligible to receive the College Honors designation on their transcripts.
Students seeking Departmental Honors must have a minimum overall grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.00 and a minimum GPA in the major of at least 3.25. Some departments require higher minimum GPAs. Students should consult the respective departmental honors committees for details. A student whose project is denied honors may appeal that decision through the normal college appeal process.
Departmental Honors programs are offered in accounting, Africana studies, anthropology, art, art education, art history, biology, chemistry, communication, computer information systems, computer science, dance performance, early childhood education, economics, elementary education, English, film studies, finance, gender and women’s studies, geography, history, justice studies, management, marketing, mathematics, modern languages, music, music education, nursing, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, secondary education, social work, sociology, special education, and theatre.
Graduating seniors are cited for honors at the annual Commencement exercises, according to the following standards: a cumulative grade point average of 3.85 or higher, summa cum laude; 3.60 to 3.84, magna cum laude; 3.25 to 3.59, cum laude.
Students who have transferred to Rhode Island College or who are seeking their second baccalaureate degree are eligible for Graduation Honors if they have completed a minimum of 54 credit hours of work at Rhode Island College.
National Honor Societies
Alpha Delta Mu
The Beta Chi Chapter of Alpha Delta Mu, the National Honor Society in Social Work, was chartered at Rhode Island College in 1982. Alpha Delta Mu is dedicated to the advancement of excellence in social work practice and to the encouragement, stimulation, and maintenance of scholarship in social work.
Alpha Lamda Delta
The 3.50 Society chapter of Alpha Lambda Delta will be chartered at Rhode Island College in 2013. Founded in 1924, Alpha Lambda Delta (ALD) is one of the oldest honor societies in the United States dedicated to recognizing academic excellence among first-year college students.
Pi Mu Epsilon
The Rhode Island Beta chapter of Pi Mu Epsilon, the National Honor Society in Mathematics, was chartered at Rhode Island College in 1967. Founded in 1914, Pi Mu Epsilon currently has chapters at over 300 colleges and universities throughout the United States. The purpose of the society is to promote scholarly activity in mathematics among students in academic institutions.
Pi Sigma Alpha
The Alpha Beta Epsilon Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Honor Society in Political Science, was chartered at Rhode Island College in 2003. Pi Sigma Alpha recognizes academic excellence in political science, provides a forum for the scholarly discussion of politics, and encourages graduate study in political science through scholarship awards.
The Psi Chi Chapter of the National Honor Society in Psychology was chartered at Rhode Island College in 1992. Psi Chi functions as a federation of chapters located at more than 800 senior colleges and universities in the United States. Psi Chi serves two major functions: (1) to provide academic recognition to its inductees and (2) to nurture the creative and professional development of its members and its psychology department.
International Honor Societies
Alpha Kappa Delta
The Beta Chapter of the International Honor Society in Sociology was chartered at Rhode Island College in 1976. The society was founded in 1920 at the University of Southern California. There are now 290 chapters in the United States and Canada that honor excellence in scholarship, research, and service.
Kappa Delta Pi
The Epsilon Rho Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, an International Honor Society in Education, was organized at Rhode Island College in 1944. It encourages high personal, professional, and intellectual standards and recognizes outstanding contributions to education. More than 500 colleges in the United States have chapters in this society.
Phi Alpha Theta
Kappa Psi Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the International Honor Society in History, was organized at Rhode Island College in 1966. It recognizes history students who maintain high standards in their college studies. It promotes the study of history by encouraging research, good teaching, exchange of ideas, and publication. Over 700 chapters exist across the United States, Canada, and the Philippines.
Phi Sigma Iota
The Beta Gamma chapter of the International Foreign Language Honor Society was chartered at Rhode Island College in 1982. It recognizes outstanding accomplishment in the study or teaching of any of the academic fields related to foreign language, literature, or culture. These fields include not only modern foreign language, but also classics, linguistics, philology, comparative literature, bilingual education, second language acquisition, and other interdisciplinary programs with a significant foreign language component. Phi Sigma Iota is the highest academic honor in the field of foreign languages. There are approximately 250 chapters of Phi Sigma Iota at institutions of higher learning in the United States, Mexico, and France.
Phi Sigma Tau
The Gamma Chapter of Phi Sigma Tau, the International Honor Society in Philosophy, was established at Rhode Island College in 2011. The objectives of the society are to award distinction to students having high scholarship and interest in philosophy; promote student research and advanced study; publish student research papers of merit; encourage a professional spirit and friendship; and popularize interest in philosophy among the general collegiate public. Founded in 1930, the society has over 200 chapters in the U.S. and Canada.
Sigma Tau Delta
The Alpha Omicron Pi Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, an International Honor Society in English, was established at Rhode Island College in 2007 to recognize excellence in scholarship and includes students, alumni, and faculty members. Sigma Tau Delta was founded in 1924 as a national society and became international in 1988. There are now over 750 active chapters, with conventions scheduled in even-numbered years.
Sigma Theta Tau
Sigma Theta Tau, Inc., the International Honor Society in Nursing, has established the Delta Upsilon Chapter-at-Large at Rhode Island College and at the University of Rhode Island with this purpose in mind: to recognize superior achievement and scholarship, to recognize the development of leadership qualities, to foster high professional standards, to encourage creative work, and to strengthen commitment to the ideals and purposes of the nursing profession.
Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, was founded in 1886 as an honor society for science and engineering. Today it is an international research society with programs and activities that promote the health of the scientific enterprise and honor scientific achievement. There are more than 80,000 Sigma Xi members in over 500 chapters at colleges and universities, industrial research centers, and government laboratories. Students who have shown potential as researchers are invited to join as associate members. The Rhode Island College chapter began as a club in 1984.
A chapter of Tau Sigma National Honor Society was chartered at Rhode Island College in 2010. Founded in 1999, Tau Sigma currently has chapters at nearly 90 colleges and universities throughout the United States. This is the first chapter in Rhode Island. The purpose of the society is to recognize and promote the academic excellence and involvement of transfer students.
Upsilon Pi Epsilon
The Alpha Chapter of the International Honor Society for the computing disciplines was chartered at Rhode Island College in 2011. The society was organized in 1967 at Texas A & M University. There are now over 200 chapters in the United States, Bulgaria, Japan, and Mexico that honor academic excellence in computer and information systems, computer science, and other computing disciplines.
Rhode Island College recognizes academic excellence and outstanding achievement through the annual presentation of special awards. These are sponsored by alumni, faculty, and friends of Rhode Island College, as well as by the families and friends of those for whom they are named. Most funds for endowed awards are deposited with the Rhode Island College Foundation.
Listed below are awards offered at Rhode Island College. Contact the sponsoring department or organization for full descriptions of awards.
Accounting and Computer Information Systems, Department of
Outstanding Student Award (Accounting)
Outstanding Student Award (Computer Information Systems)
Africana Studies Program
Richard A. Lobban Jr. Award
Anthropology, Department of
James Houston Award in Anthropology
Art, Department of
Art History Award
Studio Art Award
Biology, Department of
W. Christina Carlson Award
Theodore Lemeshka Award
Communication, Department of
Communication Achievement Award
Economics and Finance, Department of
Peter W. Harman Award in Economics
Wall Street Journal Award
Educational Studies, Department of
Epsilon Pi Tau, Beta Sigma Chapter Award
Mary Alice Grellner Educational Studies Senior Award
Joseph F. Kauffman Annual Prize
Katherine Murray Prize
Elementary Education, Department of
Elementary Education Award
English, Department of
English Writing Award
Jean Garrigue Award
Amy A. Thompson Memorial Prize
Film Studies Program
Mark W. Estrin Film Studies Award
Health and Physical Education, Department of
Health and Physical Education Award
History, Department of
Claiborne deB. Pell Award
Evelyn Walsh Prize
Honors at Rhode Island College
Eleanor M. McMahon Award
Intercollegiate Athletics, Office of
Bourget Student-Athlete Award
John E. Hetherman Award
Helen M. Murphy Award
Management and Marketing, Department of
John Silva Memorial Scholastic Award (Senior)
Outstanding Student Award
Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of
Richard A. Howland Computer Science Award
Christopher R. Mitchell Award
Modern Languages, Department of
Nelson A. Guertin Memorial Award (French)
Nelson A. Guertin Memorial Award (Spanish)
Prémio Em Estudos Portugueses Award
Tegu Polyglot Award
Music, Theatre, and Dance, Department of
Peter Jeffrey Archambault Memorial Award
Drabienko Family Endowed Prize for String Instruments
Marjorie H. Eubank Performing Arts Award
Cantor Jacob Hohenemser Award
Alice K. Pellegrino Music Education Award
Rhode Island College Theatre Award
Yetta Rauch Melcer Dance Award
Nursing, School of
Nursing Award (Academic Excellence)
Nursing Award (Service Excellence)
Nursing Award (Undergraduate Registered Nurse)
Physical Sciences, Department of
American Institute of Chemists Award
Ronald J. Boruch Award
Chemical Rubber Company Award
Departmental Physics Award
Political Science, Department of
John H. Chafee Award
North Providence League of Women Voters Award
Herbert R. Winter Award for Academic Excellence in Political Science
Psychology, Department of
Victoria Lederberg Psychology Award
Rhode Island College Foundation
Bertha Christina Andrews Emin Award (Outstanding Achievement)
Bertha Christina Andrews Emin Award (Scholastic Excellence)
Social Work, School of
Bachelor of Social Work Community Service Award
Anthony E. Ricci Social Work Practice Award
Sociology, Department of
Mary Ann Hawkes Award in Justice Studies
Harold D. Sweet Award for Excellence in Gerontology
Lauris B. Whitman Award in Sociology
Special Education, Department of
Elisa F. Bonaventura Memorial Scholarship
Special Education Faculty Award
Student Affairs, Office of
Rose Butler Browne Award
Alan Chille ’82 Leadership Excellence Award