Latin Honors - Use of Latin Honors Around The World

Use of Latin Honors Around The World

For undergraduate degrees, Latin honors are only used in a few countries such as the United States, Indonesia, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Most other countries use a different scheme, such as the British undergraduate degree classification which is more widely used (with some variation) in, for example, the United Kingdom, Australia, Bangladesh, Barbados, Canada, Georgia, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago and many other countries. Malta uses the Latin honors on the degree certificates, but the UK model is shown on the transcript.

In Austria the only Latin honor in use is sub auspiciis Praesidentis rei publicae (under the auspices of the president of the republic) for doctorate degrees. Candidates must have consistently excellent grades throughout high school and university, making it very difficult to attain: only about 1 out of a total of 2500 doctoral graduates per year (i.e. less than .04%) achieve a sub auspiciis degree.

In Belgium, a university degree is awarded cum laude ("avec distinction" in French, "met onderscheiding" in Dutch) to people achieving a 65% average, which roughly corresponds to the top 25% of a class. It is awarded magna cum laude ("avec grande distinction" or "met grote onderscheiding") to those achieving a 75% average (top 5-10% of a class), and summa cum laude ("avec la plus grande distinction" or "met de grootste onderscheiding") to people with a 85% average (top 1%). These levels might differ somewhat from university to university and even from faculty to faculty, but generally follow these guidelines.

In Brazil, the Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica (ITA - Aeronautical Institute of Technology) awards the cum laude honor for graduates with average grade above 8.5 (out of 10.0), the magna cum laude honor for graduates with average grade above 8.5 and more than 50% of individual grades above 9.5 and the summa cum laude honor for graduates with average grade above 9.5. Up to 2009, only 22 graduates have received the summa cum laude honor at ITA. The Federal University of Rio de Janeiro awards the cum laude honor for graduates with average grade from 8.0 to 8.9, the magna cum laude honor for graduates with average grade from 9.0 to 9.4 and the summa cum laude honor for graduates with average grade from 9.5 to 10.0.

The Finnish Matriculation Examinations at the end of lukio (the equivalent of high school) uses the grades of improbatur (I, failing; "not accepted"), approbatur (A; "accepted"), lubenter approbatur (B; "willingly accepted"), cum laude approbatur (C; "accepted with praise"), magna cum laude approbatur (M; "accepted with great praise"), eximia cum laude approbatur (E; "accepted with excellent praise") and laudatur (L; "praised"). Finnish universities, when grading Master's theses and Doctoral dissertations, use the same scale with the addition of the grade of non sine laude approbatur (N; "accepted not without praise") between lubenter and cum laude.

In France, Sciences Po Paris (also known as Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris = Paris Institute of Political Studies, or "Sciences Po") attributes a cum laude honor to those graduating in the best 10% of their class and a summa cum laude honor to those graduating in the best 2%. Otherwise, honors are generally given with French expressions: assez bien ("rather good"), bien ("good"), très bien ("very good") for high school graduation (baccalauréat)and university degrees; and honorable, très honorable, très honorable avec félicitations du jury for doctor's degrees. However most universities, in particular in science, do not award any honors.

In Germany, the range of degrees is: rite ("duly" conferred, that is, the requirements are fulfilled), cum laude (with honors), magna cum laude (with great honors) and summa cum laude (with highest honors). These degrees are mostly used when a doctorate is conferred, not for diplomas, bachelors or masters for which numerical grades between 1.0 ("very good") and 4.0 ("pass") and 5.0 ("fail") are given.

In Hungary, the range of degrees-similar to the German system- is: rite ("duly" conferred, that is, the requirements are fulfilled), cum laude (with honors), summa cum laude (with highest honors). These degrees are used in university diplomas and in certain fields of sciences (medical, legal and a very few others) only. The grades of degrees are dependent on the received average points from final exams and from average points from the university studies.

In Italy, the cum laude notation (e lode being the equivalent in Italian) is used as an increasing level of the highest grade for both exams and degrees, in all its levels; sometimes passing an exam cum laude has only an honorific meaning, sometimes it influences the average grade and can be useful for a student to be awarded on his or her degree cum laude. In Italy 110/110 e lode is the highest rank that can be achieved during the academic studies, even though there are some others notations (that can be given only to those who have attained 100 e lode), including : bacio e abbraccio accademico (academic kiss and embrace ) menzione d'onore (which stands for honour mention) and dignità di stampa (dignity of printing), that are assigned according to different requirements decided by each University but haven't a legal value.

In the Netherlands, only two classes of honors are used: eervolle vermelding ("honorable mention") and cum laude, typically only to mark exceptional achievement. These are dependent on an absolute minimal grade point average, and an outstanding thesis. Generally, less than 20% receive the "honorable mention" distinction, and "cum laude" is even harder to attain (less than 1%-10% depending on the university and study program). Requirements vary among universities but, unlike the Anglo-American system, the honor is typically reserved only for the best students in an (under)graduate course (somewhat equivalent to summa or magna cum laude in the US, depending on the university). It is also possible to receive a PhD degree cum laude, although this honor is even rarer than for master graduates. Typically less than 5% of graduating PhDs receive this honor, and only if their research results are considered outstanding. In view of the difficulty of determining this, some universities/fields of study very seldom award doctorates cum laude.

In Russia the honor system is based on the grade point averages. At least 4.75 out of 5.0 points are required for the cum laude degree ("с отличием" ("s otlichiem") in Russian or "with excellence"). The graduate has to receive a perfect grade on all final examinations. Usually less than 2% of all graduated students accomplish this (depending on the university and year). In military schools, a "red diploma" may be accompanied by a gold medal ("summa cum laude") for outstanding performance. Russian high schools also award a Gold Medal to the student who achieves a perfect score in all final examinations and in all other subjects not requiring a final exam. A Silver Medal is awarded to high school students who have one or two grades of 4 ("хорошо" in Russian or "good", being second highest grade) on their final exams or other subjects as listed in the high school diploma ("attestat o (polnom)srednem obrazovanii").

In Switzerland, the degrees rite, cum laude, magna cum laude, insigni cum laude and summa cum laude are used, but the exact GPA corresponding to each varies by institution.

In the UK the Latin cum laude is used in Latin versions of honors degrees (e.g. University of Edinburgh) to denote a Bachelor with Honours degree, but the further classification is stated as in English, e.g. Primi Ordinis for First Class etc.

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