Graduation with Distinction

College of Engineering (COE)

The college guidelines indicate that the top 8% of the senior class may graduate with distinction. The top 2% may graduate with High or Highest Distinction, and the remaining 6% may graduate with Distinction. In practice, in the middle of the fall semester each academic year, the COE Subcommittee on Graduation With Distinction uses the guidelines and historical data to set the two minimum GPA criteria for the levels of distinction. Those GPA criteria apply for the entire academic year. Also according to COE guidelines, the faculty must vote to approve each candidate for graduation with distinction.

In the 2016-17 academic year, graduation with Distinction from the College of Engineering required a cumulative GPA of 3.890 or higher, and graduation with High Distinction required a GPA of 3.970 or higher.

Each department in COE has established additional requirements for graduation with Highest Distinction. Agricultural Engineering and Biological Systems Engineering students who meet the College requirements for graduation with High Distinction, must meet a minimum of one of the following criteria in order to be considered for graduation with Highest Distinction:

  • Publish a technical paper, or have a manuscript reviewed by the department and submitted to a refereed journal for publication.
  • Submit a technical paper, accepted by the department, for a regional or national paper competition such as the ASABE K.K. Barnes Student Paper Award Competition, ASABE Ag & Bio Ethics Essay Competition.
  • Write and submit a completed design report for a regional or national competition such as the ASABE AGCO National Student Design competition, ASABE Robotics Student Design Competition, ASABE Fountain Wars – Gunlogson Environmental Design Student Competition, the ASABE Open Format – Gunlogson Environmental Design Student Competition, the iGEM competition in synthetic biology, and the BME IDEA competition.
  • Complete an honors thesis or honors design project accepted by the Department (for students enrolled in the University’s Honors Program).

In order to be considered for graduation with Highest Distinction, the student must submit to his/her academic advisor by March 1 for May graduation, July 1 for August graduation, and October 15 for December graduation, a short (one page or less) statement describing how s/he has met the criteria for graduation with Highest Distinction. The student’s academic advisor will then prepare a short (one page or less) recommendation to the Department faculty describing the student’s qualifications for graduation with Highest Distinction.

Approved by vote of the faculty in attendance at the March 9, 2017 Department of Biological Systems Engineering faculty meeting.

College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR)

In recognition of outstanding academic excellence, the 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, undergraduate students must complete 45 credit hours at UNL for a letter grade (excluding pass/no pass marks) prior to the semester in which they graduate, and must have completed 60 credit hours at UNL at the time they graduate. To determine eligibility, the Committee uses the cumulative GPA as follows:

With Distinction 3.800 - 3.8999
With High Distinction 3.900 - 3.949
With Highest Distinction 3.950 - 4.000 and an undergraduate thesis