Graduating with Distinction

Student holding up diploma at commencement

In recognition of outstanding academic excellence, CASNR recommends the bachelors degree With Distinction, With High Distinction, and With Highest Distinction. Recommendations are made by the CASNR committee on Scholarship. To be eligible for consideration by the committee, undergraduate students must have completed 45 credit hours for a letter grade (excluding pass/no pass) at UNL prior to the semester in which they graduate, and must have completed 60 credit hours at UNL at the time they graduate.

The committee currently uses the cumulative grade point average as follows:

Category GPA
With Distinction* 3.800 – 3.849
With High Distinction 3.850 – 3.919
With Highest Distinction** 3.920 – 4.000

* Students who successfully completes an undergraduate thesis (or comparable creative effort) will be eligible for distinction consideration if their cumulative grade point is 3.750 or higher.
** For a student to achieve the Highest Distinction, the student must successfully complete an undergraduate thesis or a comparable creative effort.

Guidelines for submitting a Thesis:

The thesis should be substantially more extensive than a term paper and must be the result of an independent thought and intellectual curiosity. In some instances a narrow definition of “thesis” may not be possible and in those cases a “comparable creative effort” should be acknowledged as a possibility. As it is difficult to generalize this effort, the thesis supervisory committee should recommend the acceptance of such a significant scholarly component which need not be in the format of a formal thesis.

In instances where the student has performed the research for the thesis in another department (with prior permission for his/her major department), the thesis work and examination should be supervised by at least two faculty persons representing the different departments.

An “Oral Defense” as a part of the Thesis Examination is mandatory for all students who submit a thesis. The exact nature of the exam and the administration of this exam will be determined by the major department, and the department faculty distinction evaluation committee is responsible for overseeing the quality of this examination.

The thesis evaluation and oral defense committee should consist of three members (the thesis advisor, the thesis reader(s) and a faculty member either from the same department or from other related departments).

Forms for submission to the college by students

  1. Thesis Prospectus Form
    This should be filed by the student and his/her co-advisors and the Faculty Distinction Evaluation Committee in the department. A copy should be submitted to the college as well, at least a semester before graduation.
  2. Department Evaluation Form in support of a Degree with Distinction
    To be completed by the respective department Faculty group responsible for distinction evaluation – this could include the evaluation of thesis or creative effort and their justification of the evaluation towards the thesis’s strength and weaknesses.


Students are responsible for meeting these deadlines. Materials to be submitted to the Dean’s office on or before the deadlines include, a) a copy of the student’s thesis/creative effort, b) the thesis/creative effort prospectus form, and c) thesis evaluation form duly signed by the departmental advisory / examination committee.