Honors Recommendations

Physics and Chemistry/Physics Rules for Department Honors Recommendations

The Physics and Chemistry/Physics honors recommendations are determined by the following procedure:

  • Consider all courses counting toward the concentration according to the rules in the Fields of Concentration. Any course that can count must count. In particular, this includes all courses in related fields (Computer Science, Engineering, Math, Statistics, etc) that are designated for a secondary degree, even if they are not marked as “concentration” on the student record (due to the rule on double counting).
  • Drop the lowest grade. A student with at least 17 letter-graded concentration courses can drop the lowest two grades. A student with at least 22 can drop the lowest three grades.
  • A student who has written a thesis can substitute the 90r/thesis grade for the remaining lowest grade, if this improves the average.
  • Full courses count as two half courses.
  • Courses taken as P/F or SAT/UNS are not included. Courses taken at other schools (abroad, MIT, etc.) are not included.

Assign a numerical value for each grade as follows:

A = 1
C = -1
A- = 2/3
C- = -1 1/3
B+ = 1/3
D+ = -1 2/3
B = 0
D = -2
B- = -1/3
D- = -2 1/3
C+ = -2/3
E = -3

Calculate the average score, and determine the degree of honors recommended according to:

  • Highest Honors = greater than or equal to 0.95 (0.97 starting May 2023)
  • High Honors = greater than or equal to 0.66 (0.75 starting May 2023)
  • Honors = greater than or equal to 0.17 (0.33 starting May 2023)

Note that these limits are only guidelines. The Honors Committee will carefully review the courses taken by a student whose score is close to any of the numerical cutoffs before making a recommendation for a given level of honors. In particular, all Highest Honors recommendations require evidence (from research experience, number and level of courses taken, teaching, etc.) that the student has gone well beyond the minimum requirements for the concentration.