Students are recognized for distinguished accomplishment in several ways.

Note: Honor cords and medallions will be distributed by individual school and are NOT for sale in the KU Bookstore.

  • Seniors who have completed the University Honors Program and/or the University Scholars Program receive medallions to wear during Commencement activities.
  • Departmental honors are awarded to undergraduates who complete honors requirements, which generally include completing honors classes, presenting an honors thesis, passing an exam, and maintaining a minimum grade-point average.
  • For most schools, the upper 10 percent (calculated by GPA) graduate with distinction. Approximately the upper third of those awarded distinction graduate with highest distinction.
  • The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences gives white cords to undergraduates graduating with distinction or highest distinction. Other units also give out honors cords. Requirements and colors for these vary by unit. Students should contact their schools for more information.
  • Approximately 10 graduating seniors are selected for the University Awards, which recognize the students' academic, volunteer, and leadership accomplishments during their time at KU.
  • Many programs, departments, and schools present honors and awards and recognize students at events before and during Commencement weekend. Those units will notify students directly with details.


KU Today
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times