Graduation & Research Distinction
Picture yourself at Ohio State commencement. You have completed all requirements for your degree, and this day is the culmination of your career as an undergraduate student. You may also be preparing to graduate with research distinction or to complete your honors program. In addition to meeting the necessary academic requirements for your degree, there are many other important steps for you to take to prepare for graduation.
Deadlines for Applying to Graduate
- Autumn 2018 – Friday, Nov. 9, 2018
- Spring 2019 – Friday, March 29, 2019
- Summer 2019 – Friday, July 12, 2019
Autumn 2019 – Friday, October 25, 2019 * Spring 2020 – Friday, March 13, 2020 * Summer 2020 – Friday, July 10, 2020 *
Note that advising appointment availability is not guaranteed. It is best to apply early in the term, well before the deadline.
* Tentatively scheduled based on requirements set by the Registrar. Subject to change.
Steps to apply for graduation
- Apply during the term prior to the term in which you intend to graduate or early during the term in which you intend to graduate. Meet with your major advisor to verify that your major requirements are completed.
- If you have not consulted with your advisor, please contact him or her to schedule an appointment prior to filing your application.
- If a Minor Program Form is needed, please bring a signed copy with you to your appointment. You may pick up forms up in 100 Denney Hall (West Lobby), 164 West 17th Ave.
- Schedule an appointment with an Arts and Sciences advisor to file your graduation application.
- After you meet with your Arts and Sciences academic advisor and your graduation application is on file, there are other important things to do.
- Refer to this checklist often
Preparing for the Ceremony
Review all of the information on commencement.osu.edu in your final term. It provides information on where to purchase a cap and gown, times and locations of the rehearsal and ceremony, the commencement speaker announcement, and other essential guidance.
To schedule an appointment for graduation, call (614) 292-6961, or visit 100 Denney Hall.
Research Distinction (Research Thesis)
Deadlines & Options
If you are planning to graduate with research distinction, you should submit the Application for Graduation with Research Distinction upon enrolling in 4999 research credit and no later than the following deadlines:
Students graduating Summer 2018: Application due by Friday, November 17, 2017
Students graduating Autumn 2018: Application due by Friday, February 2, 2018
Students graduating Spring 2019: Application due by Friday, September 21, 2018
Students graduating Summer 2019: Application due by Friday, November 16, 2018
Students graduating Autumn 2019: Application due by Friday, February 8, 2019
There are three options for students in the College of Arts and Sciences (ASC) interested in pursuing graduation with research distinction or with distinction:
- Graduation with research distinction in [the major field] recognizes those students who demonstrate excellence in the study of a discipline both through major course work and by completing an independent research project culminating in a thesis.
- Students majoring in mathematics may choose the graduate-level course work option to graduate with distinction in mathematics.
- Graduation with research distinction recognizes those students who complete and successfully defend a thesis in a discipline other than the major.
For information about the honors thesis option for students in the Arts and Sciences Honors Program, please see the website for the Honors Research Thesis.
To graduate with research distinction, you must satisfy the following requirements:
- A student may complete a thesis within his/her major or in other disciplines, provided the student has a faculty research advisor serving as his/her project advisor (the faculty research advisor may be tenure-track, clinical, research, or auxiliary faculty). Lecturers and others who do not have tenure-track faculty status may not serve as the designated project advisor.
- Submit the application at least one term before your graduating term.
- Apply to graduate, early in your final term, with Ed Quinn.
- Complete a minimum of 60 graded hours at Ohio State.
- Complete a minimum of 4 semester hours (a maximum of 10 hours) of 4999 research credit in the relevant discipline.
- Successfully defend the thesis during an oral examination, typically in the final term.
- Meet any department-specific requirements, which may include a minimum grade point average within the field of distinction.
- Graduate with a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average.
A co-signer from the major department will be required only if the project advisor is affiliated with a college outside of Arts and Sciences, OR if the project advisor is affiliated with a department outside of the department of distinction. The co-signer should be either the departmental advisor or the chair of the department. Students pursuing distinction in an interdisciplinary major (e.g. International Studies, Comparative Studies, etc.) will most likely require a co-signer. NOTE: If you are a Neuroscience major, you must have a Neuroscience advisor co-sign for your research project.
If you are planning to graduate with research distinction, you should contact Ed Quinn in Arts and Sciences Advising to submit the Thesis Application [pdf] (upon enrolling in 4999 research credit and no later than one semester before your graduating term). Questions about the application should be directed to Ed Quinn.
Examples of Theses
Abstracts and copies of past honors theses completed for graduation with research distinction are available for examination online through the Ohio State Libraries' Knowledge Bank and in the Mortar Board Room (room 202) of the Thompson Library. They are valuable not only as examples of research undertaken in various disciplines but also as sources of information.
Arts Honors Program
The purpose of the Arts Honors Program is to provide opportunities for students with exceptional capabilities and motivation to achieve personal satisfaction and intellectual growth through Honors courses, advanced course work, and special academic enrichment programs.
(effective Autumn 2012)
Please note, students in the Arts Honors Program often pursue significant creative projects in their program and apply for graduation with distinction. This is a separate process. For more information, please contact Ed Quinn (email@example.com) in Arts and Sciences Advising.
GPA requirement to maintain Honors status:
- University standard: 3.4 at the end of every year (3.3 at end of first year)
- Arts standard: 3.4 overall GPA (3.3 at end of first year)
- Requirements to enter Honors program after matriculation or transfer to the university:
- University standards: 3.4 GPA overall, Minimum 1 semester of OSU credit
- Arts standards: 3.4 GPA overall, both GE and major, Minimum 2 semesters of OSU credit*
Course/Unit requirements to maintain Honors status:
- University standard: 6 Honors, upper division (4000+) or graduate-level courses over the first 2 years (max of 2 honors embedded courses)
- Arts standard: 3 units of Honors experiences over the first 2 years
For some majors in the Arts, this is difficult to achieve, due to limited scheduling opportunities in the GE, few Honors offerings in the major programs, and lock-step curriculum in the majors. The Arts standard allows students to defer 1 unit until the 3rd year if necessary, reflecting the individualistic, focused nature in the arts.
- 3 units over the second 2 years
- Completion of 6 units meets the Arts Honors Program requirements
*Exceptions for transfer students meeting the following criteria: 1. eligibility for honors as freshman (i.e., ACT composite score of 29 or better, or SAT combined verbal/math score of 1300 or better; plus top ten percent of high school class) and a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or better at the other institution; OR 2. verification of enrollment in an honors program at the other institution, completion of honors courses, and a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or better. Transfer students meeting these criteria may be admitted to the honors program upon matriculation.
Possibilities for 3 Units:
3 Units of Honors experiences made up of the following options, in the first 2 years (through sophomore standing), with the option to defer up to 1 unit, not including upper division courses, to year 3 (through junior standing).
- Honors course (1 Unit)
- Upper division course outside major (4000+) (1 Unit)
- Upper division elective course in major (1 Unit)
- Graduate level course (1 Unit)
- Honors embedded course (1 Unit) (maximum of 3 total)
- Undergraduate Research/Creative Activity (1 Unit) (3-5 credit hours)
- Special Individual Study* (1 Unit) (maximum of 3 total)
*(e.g., Summer Study, studies abroad; at least 40-80 contact hours, and a culminating report, activity, or presentation under faculty supervision as in an Internship)
Junior/ Senior Year
- Honors courses (1 Unit)
- Upper division course outside major (4000+) (1 Unit)
- Graduate level course (1 Unit)
- Honors embedded course or senior project (1 Unit) (maximum of 3 total)
- Undergraduate Research/Creative Activity (3-5 credit hours) (1 Unit) (maximum of 2 total)
- Special Individual Study* (1 Unit) (maximum of 3 total)
*(e.g., Summer Study, studies abroad; at least 40 contact hours, and a culminating report, activity, or presentation under faculty supervision as in an Internship)
- A minor (outside the major) (1 Unit)
- Second Major (outside the major) (2 Units)
- Arts Entrepreneurship Director* (1 Unit) (maximum of 1)
*(e.g., student representative serves as the leader of a Music ensemble and participates at bi-weekly meetings with directors of ensembles; serves as spokesperson for a department’s public display, etc.)
- Director of Publication opportunities* (1 Unit) (maximum of 1)
*(e.g., Theatre students touring various high schools performing original skits serving as the director, production manager or technical director (TD).)
Program requirements to maintain Honors status/graduate with Honors in the Arts:
University standard: Progress towards completion of an approved Honors program, i.e., honors thesis for graduation with distinction, or program to graduate with honors in the discipline.
Arts standard: Arts Honors Contract (fulfill 6 units of Honors experiences per an Honors contract): Our students graduate: “with Honors in the Arts.”
- Faculty advisor signature
- Arts Honors Advisor signature (Ed Quinn, the Arts Honors Advisor is located in Denney Hall)
- Plan for 6 Units of Arts Honors experiences (3 in the first two years (with the option to defer 1 unit to third year); 3 in the following 2 years)
Process of Monitoring ARTS Honors Contracts:
The Arts Honors Faculty Committee made up of faculty from each of the seven arts units (Art, Art Education, Dance, Design, History of Art, Music, Theatre) will review Honors contracts every Spring Semester. Students in their sophomore year will submit an Honors contract by the Friday of finals week Autumn Semester. The Honors Faculty Committee will work with the Arts advisors to maintain current lists of departmental Honors majors and work against that list in checking advising reports and sophomore year applications for Honors contracts. Students who find they might need to revise their contract may do so with the Contract Revision Form and submit it to 114 University Hall. At the end of each academic year, the committee makes recommendations on students continuing in the program. Each year Arts Honors students receive a letter regarding their status in the program: either reaffirmed or not.
Staffing of program (Honors Committee, Honors Advisors, Faculty Mentors, etc.)
The program will retain its committee made of up faculty from among the seven arts units that oversees the following:
Conferring of “with distinction” and “with honors in the arts”
Progress of students: each spring the committee reviews the academic progress of students and informs them through email and a stamped, U.S. mail letter of their continuance or non-continuance in the program. Ed Quinn is the Arts Honors Advisor, and his office is located in 245G Sullivant Hall.
Administrative Liaison for the Committee and who serves as director of the program where pre-requisites have been met, or waived, and where the course is not a required course on the major, but is offered as an elective.
This category reflects the unusual and extraordinary experiences for study, practice, and application outside of the standard curriculum. For a college student to pursue these types of experiences especially in the first two years requires initiative and vision. Arts would additionally require that these options be pre-approved by a faculty committee, and include a summary, reflection, exhibition or performance at the conclusion. The Arts deems that these are appropriate honors level expectations and anticipates monitoring the success of these options.
Overall 6 units, 3 may come from HE or project-type, individual coursework.
- Arts Honors Program Contract [pdf]
- Revision Form [pdf] for the Arts Honors Contract
- Arts Honors Program Requirements [pdf]
Please see Ed Quinn (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the Non-Traditional Unit Application.
Graduating with Distinction in the Arts
The Arts Graduation With Distinction recognition is for students who are pursuing a degree in the ARTS (Art, Art Education, Dance, Design, History of Art, Theatre, Music) and will be working on a creative or research project during the last year of their major program. The project must be steeped in the discipline’s creative process or research scholarship, and the student must have a committee of three tenure-track faculty members who will guide the student in his or her project and who serve on the one-hour oral examination committee. The With Distinction designation is open to any and all students majoring in the arts. Applications are due two semesters before the intended graduation date. If you need further information, please contact Ed Quinn at email@example.com.
Graduating with Honors
Eligibility for any graduation honor requires a GPA based on completion of at least 60 graded hours (including courses graded "S/U") while enrolled in course work at Ohio State. No EM (credit by examination) credit hours or credit hours taken on a Pass/Non-Pass basis are counted as part of these 60 hours. All courses taken at the University will be used in calculating the GPA to determine graduation with honors.
The distinctions of cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude are awarded to those graduates in Arts and Sciences who meet the following standards of these honors (no rounding):
- cum laude: Each student who graduates with a GPA of 3.50 to 3.699 and completes a minimum of 60 graded semester hours of course work at Ohio State will receive the cum laude designation upon the diploma and transcript.
- magna cum laude: Each student who graduates with a GPA of 3.70 to 3.899 and completes a minimum of 60 graded semester hours of course work at Ohio State will receive the magna cum laude designation upon the diploma and transcript.
- summa cum laude: Each student who graduates with a minimum 3.90 GPA and completes a minimum of 60 graded semester hours of course work at Ohio State will receive the summa cum laude designation upon the diploma and transcript.
* Please note, graded course work does not include transfer credit, EM credit, courses taken with the Pass/Non-Pass option, or audited courses.
Honors Program Graduation Honors
Students in the Arts and Sciences Honors Program are required to commit to an Honors Contract (completion of which results in graduation with honors in the Arts and Sciences) and/or an Honors Thesis (successful completion of which leads to graduation with honors research distinction). These options are available only by application through the Arts and Sciences Honors Office in 3180 Smith Lab.
If you meet the qualifications for an honors braid in the penultimate term of graduation, you will receive an honors braid notification via OSU email indicating where to pick up the braid. If you qualify for the honors braid in this way, but have not received an honors braid notification prior to final exams week, please contact a Graduation Services staff member: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
If you qualify for an honors braid at the end of the term of graduation, you will receive the braid at the commencement rehearsal with presentation of an Advising Report showing all grades submitted.
Students who have completed a research project resulting in a distinction notation (i.e. "with research distinction in", "with research distinction") do not receive braids unless they have completed an Honors Contract or Honors Thesis (see Honors Program Graduation above), or qualify for a Latin honor.
Students completing a minimum of 12 graded credit hours with a point - hour ratio of 3.50 or higher for any given term will be named to the Dean's List for that term in the college in which they are enrolled. Courses graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory ("S/U") or Pass/Non-Pass ("PA/NP") do not count toward the minimum of 12 graded hours and a grade of "U" or "NP" will disqualify you from making the Dean's List even if you meet the numerical criteria.