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Answered By: Suzanne Schriefer, Criminal Justice & Paralegal Librarian
Last Updated: Mar 04, 2016     Views: 2917

These are terms given to college graduates who achieve high grade point averages.  In other words, they indicate that the student receiving this distinction has been extremely successful in their academic program. Most often, you will see "summa" and "magna" connected to the Latin words, "cum laude" meaning "with honor."  Here is how these terms are ranked:

Cum laude = with honor

Magna cum laude = "with great honor"

Summa cum laude = "with highest honor"

There are probably variations between institutions as to what a student's GPA must be to achieve these academic distinctions.

Per the Rasmussen College Course Catalog as of 5/18/2015:

Rasmussen College recognizes outstanding academic achievement by awarding honors to graduates who meet minimum qualifications. Students who earn an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree, complete all graduation requirements, and earn a cumulative grade point average of 3.50 or higher will graduate with honors and will receive gold cords for the graduation ceremony as a symbol of this achievement. An honors designation will appear on the diploma of an honors graduate who has completed an Associate’s degree program. Additionally, the following honors will be noted on the diplomas of Bachelor’s degree students:

Cum Laude: Bachelor’s students who earn a cumulative grade point average of 3.50-3.669

Magna Cum Laude: Bachelor’s students who earn a cumulative grade point average of 3.67-3.749

Summa Cum Laude: Bachelor’s students who earn a cumulative grade point average of 3.75-4.00

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