Latin honors are Latin phrases used to indicate the level of distinction with which an academic degree was earned. This system is primarily used in the United States, Canada, Philippines, Indonesia and in many countries of continental Europe, although some institutions use the English translation of these phrases rather than the Latin originals. It is similar to the British undergraduate degree classification.
Generally, a college or university's regulations set out definite criteria to be met in order for a student to obtain a given honors distinction. For example the student might be required to achieve a specific grade point average, to submit an honors thesis for evaluation, to be part of an honors program, or to graduate early. Each university sets its own standards, and since these standards may vary widely it is possible for the same level of Latin honors conferred by different institutions to represent contrasting levels of academic achievement.
These honors, when they are used, are almost always awarded to undergraduates earning their bachelor's, and, with the exception of law school graduates, much more rarely to graduate students taking their master's or doctorate degree. The honor is typically indicated on the diploma. Latin honors are often conferred upon law school graduates receiving a Juris Doctor or J.D., where they are generally based upon class rank or grade point average.