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

Undergraduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences may apply for graduation as early as one term before their term of graduation. University policy requires that all undergraduate applications for graduation be submitted no later than the 10th Friday of the term of graduation. Late applications are not accepted or reviewed until the following term. Deadline dates set by the Registrar are available here.

Spring 2022: March 25, 2022
Summer 2022: July 15, 2022
Autumn 2022: October 28, 2022 (Tentative)
Spring 2023: March 24, 2023 (Tentative)

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 academic advisor to verify that your major requirements are complete.
  • 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. Your advisor can provide you with the form.
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic 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 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 to apply for graduation, call (614) 292-6961 or email

Submit an excuse if you're unable to attend

Complete and submit a  commencement excused form to Graduation Services ( in the College of Arts and Sciences. This form must be completed if you do not plan to attend commencement. The information you provide is essential for you to receive your diploma. Please complete and return this form by Friday, April 16. More information can be found on the Unable to attend page on the Ohio State Commencement website.

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 Spring 2022: Application due by Friday, September 17, 2021
Students graduating Summer 2022: Application due by Friday, November 12, 2021
Students graduating Autumn 2022: Application due by Friday, January 28, 2022
Students graduating Spring 2023: Application due by Friday, September 23, 2022

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.

Thesis Requirements

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 your academic advisor.
  • 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.

***Honors Thesis Option for students in the ASC Honors Program***


If you are planning to graduate with research distinction, you should contact Ed Quinn in Arts and Sciences Advising to submit the thesis application 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.

Thesis Application for Research Distinction

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.

Additional Resources

Undergraduate Research Office - Information and resources on finding and managing research projects

ASC Undergraduate Research Scholarship - Information on scholarships for undergraduate research projects

Denman Undergraduate Research Forum - Showcase of student research

Arts Honors

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. 

Program Requirements

(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 ( 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:

Freshman/Sophomore Year

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.”


  1. Faculty advisor signature
  2. Arts Honors Advisor signature (Ed Quinn, the Arts Honors Advisor is located in 245G Sullivant Hall)
  3. 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:

Ed Quinn will review Arts Honors contracts at the conclusion of each academic year. Students will be informed via Ohio State email of their continuance or non-continuance in the program.

Students in their sophomore year will submit an Arts Honors contract by the conclusion of finals week autumn semester. 

Students who find they need to revise their contract may do so with the Contract Revision Form, which can be submitted to Ed Quinn.

Please see Ed Quinn ( 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, Arts Management, Dance, Design, History of Art, Moving Image Production, Music, Theatre) 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


  • Students graduating autumn 2022: Application due by Friday, Jan. 28, 2022 (Late applications will be accepted).
  • Students graduating spring 2023: Application due by Friday, Sept. 23, 2022.


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.

Latin 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.

Honors Braid

If you meet the qualifications for an honors braid in the penultimate term of graduation, you will receive an honors braid notification within two weeks of the commencement ceremony via OSU email indicating where to pick up the braid.

If you qualify for an honors braid at the end of the term of graduation, you will receive the braid during line-up before the commencement ceremony with presentation of an Advising Report showing all grades submitted. Note: You will need to print your Advising Report on or before Saturday as BuckeyeLink undergoes system maintenance on Sundays.

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.

Dean's List

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.  Up to 3 hours of course work graded Satisfactory (S) may be included in the 12 graded hours.  However, course work graded Pass (PA) may not count toward the minimum of 12 graded hours.  Any grade of E, EN, U, UEN, NP, or P will disqualify a student from making the Dean's List even if the student has a term point-hour ratio of 3.50 and 12 graded hours.