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Honor Societies & Academic Recognition

Academic excellent is at the very heart of the McDaniel College experience. It is therefore a priority of the college to identify ways we can acknowledge, honor and celebrate those students whose academic efforts result in outstanding intellectual work. This work is done alongside faculty who are recognized in their academic disciplines and distinctly committed to teaching undergraduate students. This means that from your first steps on the Hill, they will be identifying opportunities for you to excel and ways for that excellence to be commemorated. 

Baker Chapel

Phi Beta Kappa Society

Phi Beta Kappa was established in 1776 as a philosophical society. Eventually, it evolved into the paramount honor society for the liberal arts in the United States. Its goal is to support, foster, and recognize the excellence of liberal arts scholarship in the institutions of higher education in America. The Delta of Maryland Chapter at McDaniel College was established in 1980 and members are usually elected in the second semester of their senior year.

The requirements for membership include:

  • exceptional scholarly achievement
  • broad cultural interests
  • strong moral character
  • Candidates must present a program including no fewer than 96 credit hours of liberal studies. Liberal studies are considered to be those designed principally for knowledge, understanding, or appreciation of the natural and social world in which we live. Grades earned in applied or professional work are not counted in computing the liberal arts hours or the grade point average for eligibility.

In considering a candidate’s eligibility, weight will be given to the breadth of the program as shown by the number, balance, and variety of courses (including some at the upper level) taken outside the major. Students must have demonstrated college-level knowledge of mathematics and knowledge of a second language or non-native language at the intermediate level. This knowledge is identified by an AP score of 4 or higher in mathematics, placement into Calculus, or completion of a college-level math course (MAT1106 or above) and by completing or testing above the third semester of second language study.

On April 11, 24 students were inducted into McDaniel College’s Delta of Maryland Chapter of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa national honor society.

Annual Academic Lists Academic Recognition

McDaniel College entrance sign in Budapest.

Hard Work & Commitment The Dean's List Achieving Excellence

The Dean’s List recognizes full-time undergraduate students with outstanding academic performances each semester. Highest Honors requires a semester grade point average of 3.90 or higher. High Honors requires a semester grade point average of 3.70-3.89. Honors requires a semester grade point average of 3.50-3.69.

The Bell

Outstanding Achievement The President's List Commitment to Academics

The President’s List recognizes full-time undergraduate students who achieve a 4.0 grade point average over the entire academic year (fall and spring semesters), signifying an intense focus on academic excellence. Because the President's List recognizes one full years' worth of accomplishments, it is only awarded annually. 

Honor Societies

McDaniel College proudly participates in national and international honor societies which recognize academic accomplishment in specific fields and disciplines. Faculty commitment to supporting you in earning these honors designations begins early in your academic career; we encourage all students to identify their interest in achieving these honors designations as part of their My Design course.


The purposes of AKD are to seek to acknowledge and promote excellence in scholarship in the study of Sociology, research social problems and engage in social activities that will improve the human condition. Each candidate must be at least a junior in credit standing, have taken at least 4 Sociology courses at McDaniel, have maintained a 3.0 average GPA in those courses, as well as a 3.0 overall GPA, and rank in the top 35% of their class.


Recognizes students who completed their freshman year with a GPA of 3.7 or higher. Its mission is to encourage superior academic achievement, promote intelligent living and continued high standards, and to assist students in recognizing and developing meaningful goals for their roles in society.


Aims to encourage dramatic production at every step in a person’s academic career. The chapter’s major areas of effort are advocacy and membership development. Pledging criteria include noteworthy participation in the Theatre Arts department, cumulative GPA of 2.5, and a Theatre Arts department GPA of 2.8. They also must have been involved in at least 3 McDaniel productions, during which they performed in at least two of the following categories: performance, technical theatre and design, theatre management, or literary contributions.


Its goals are to stimulate interest, scholarly attainment, and investigation in the Biological Sciences, and to inform students of the possibilities for achievement in the Biological Sciences. Associate members must complete 4 credits in Biology with a 3.0 GPA in Biology courses and a 2.75 overall. Active members must complete 12 credits in Biology with a 3.25 in Biology courses and a 3.0 overall.


ETE is a McDaniel College-only honor society that promotes excellence in the field of art history, and seeks to foster an environment suitable for further research, study, and critique of works of art. Minimum requirements for membership include completion of 12 semester hours of art history, rank in the top 35% of the class, average GPA in Art History courses of 3.5, and overall GPA of 3.0.


Gamma Sigma Epsilon is a national Chemistry honor society for the purpose of fostering a more comprehensive and cooperative study of Chemistry and its immediately allied studies. To be eligible, students must have completed a minimum of 16 credits in chemistry with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in those courses, as well as a 3.0 GPA overall.


As an international honor society in Education, its mission is to sustain an honored community of diverse educators by promoting excellence, advancing scholarship, leadership and service. To be eligible for membership you must have completed at least 30 credit hours of collegiate course work, have at least 12 credit hours in Education course work, and demonstrate a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater.


Purposes include helping students to realize the important role mathematics has played in the development of civilization and familiarizing its members with the current progress in this area of human interest. New members must have completed at least three semesters of college, completed at least three courses in mathematics (including at least one semester of calculus, attained an average of B or better in these courses, and rank in the upper 35% of the graduating class.


Goals include stimulation of interest in field of Communication, encouragement of professional development among Communication majors, and discussion and exchange of ideas. Requirements include 60 credit hours and a cumulative GPA of 3.0, upper 35% of academic class, 3.25 GPA in Communication courses, and completion of 12 credit hours in Communication.


Omicron Delta Epsilon internationally recognizes scholastic achievement in Economics. It also works to establish closer ties between students and faculty in Economics within and among colleges and universities. To be accepted, a student must have taken 9 semester hours of economics courses, attain at least a B average in these courses, and maintain a 3.0 GPA overall.


The purpose of this society is to provide a closer bond among students of Social Work and promote humanitarian goals and ideals. Eligibility requirements include declared Social Work as a major, achieved sophomore status, completed 12 semester hours and achieved a 3.25 GPA* in required Social Work courses and place in the top one-third of their whole class.

*Note: Effective Spring 2020, eligibility requirements for membership in Phi Alpha (Social Work) will be as follows: Students will need to have completed 12 credit hours in required Social Work courses and must have completed 37.5 percent of the required coursework toward the degree. Phi Alpha is no longer using a pre-determined GPA for membership qualification; students whose overall GPA is in the top 35 percent of all Social Work majors in the program are now invited into membership.


An international pre-law fraternity and student-run organization. Past programs have included a moot court presented by American Constitutional Law Class, visits to area law schools and law fairs, and appearances by members of the practicing Bar and a sitting judge.


A professional society whose mission is to promote the study of history through the encouragement of research, good teaching, publication, and the exchange of ideas. Students are nominated and selected by faculty of the History department. To be eligible, students must be a History major or minor, complete a minimum of four courses in History, achieve a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, achieve a minimum GPA of 3.1 in history courses taken at McDaniel, and must be in the top 35% of their class.


An international society that recognizes accomplishment in the study or teaching of any academic fields related to foreign language, literature, or culture. Juniors and Seniors pursing a major or minor in Classics, French, Spanish or Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies are eligible. Eligibility criteria include completion of at least one course in a foreign language at the third-year level, 45 semester hours, ranked in the top 35% of the class, and a minimum GPA of 3.0.


Award distinction to students having high scholarship in Philosophy and promotes student interest in research in this field. Undergraduate students are eligible for active membership after completing three semesters of college, rank in the upper 30% of their class, and have completed at least four semester courses in philosophy, with an overall GPA above 3.2.


Political Science majors in the areas of government, political science, public administration, and international relations are eligible to be candidates for admission to Pi Sigma Alpha once they have completed at least one-half the credits required by McDaniel College for the baccalaureate degree; they must have completed at least ten semester-credits of work in political science including at least one upper-division course, with an average grade of B+ (3.2 GPA) or higher in those courses; they must have achieved an overall GPA placing them in the top one-third of their whole class (e.g., junior or senior class).


The mission of Pi Gamma Mu is to encourage and promote excellence in the social sciences and to uphold the ideals of scholarship and service. A junior, senior or graduate student in the upper 35 percent of the class must have at least 20 semester hours in social sciences and an average grade therein of "B" or better.


Promotes excellence in scholarship and advancing the science of Psychology. Students are eligible if they are in the top third of their graduating class, maintain a GPA in psychology courses of at least 3.2, and have completed three Psychology course beyond Introduction to Psychology at McDaniel College, one of which must be "Psychological Methods and Statistics I".


Sigma Pi Sigma recognizes outstanding scholarship in Physics and serves to promote the four dimensions of Honor, Encouragement, Service, and Fellowship. Undergraduate candidates must have a weighted average GPA of 3.5 in the Physics major and overall. In addition, students must write an honors thesis in Physics.


Eligibility Requirements include minimum GPA of 3.0 and at least one semester of significant experience with some arm of campus media.


The Trumpeters is a leadership honor society that recognizes exemplary qualities of leadership, integrity, and sincerity. Those selected are called to serve as positive examples of the campus by devoting themselves to academics, extracurricular activities, and service. Students may apply for membership in the spring semester of their junior year.


Two societies recognize Greek leadership: Gamma Sigma Alpha and Order of Omega.

Students sitting at classroom desks during Estimathon.

The Peak of the Climb The Argonaut Award Only at McDaniel

The Argonaut Award, named for the College’s original honor society founded in 1935 and superseded by Phi Beta Kappa in 1980, is given to the graduating senior or seniors with the highest cumulative grade point average in the class. For purposes of this award, the cumulative grade point average will be calculated based upon the student’s entire transcript, using both transfer and the College’s credits.