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Prizes and Honors / Departmental Citations

Description. These awards are given by departments in recognition of distinguished undergraduate work. The Departmental Citation Plan was initiated in 1955 by the Committee on Prizes with the approval and support of the Chancellor. It is open to all departments wishing to participate. An individual major program within Undergraduate and Interdisciplinary Studies (UGIS) also may participate as if it were a department, if it has sufficiently excellent undergraduates who are unlikely to be awarded the citation from any one department. Participation is purely voluntary; any department is free to take up or drop the plan at any time. It is the responsibility of the department to select its recipient for the Departmental Citation; the Committee on Prizes acts in an advisory and supervisory capacity.


In order to establish a reasonable degree of uniformity in the standards that are applied in granting a Departmental Citation, the Committee on Prizes has established the following policies:

Only one nominee shall be selected by each department in order that the prestige of the Departmental Citation may be maintained. In the event that the department cannot decide on a single nominee, the chairman of the department should forward the records of the nominees to the Committee on Prizes. The Committee will then make a selection, on the basis of the evidence submitted. This evidence must be submitted at least two weeks before the deadline. In no event shall the size of the undergraduate enrollment of the department be the reason for the selection of more than one nominee.

Most recipients will no doubt be majors in the department, but the recipient need not be a major if he or she has done a substantial amount of work in the department and the department wishes to honor him or her in this way. Additionally, recipients of the Departmental Citation need not be in senior standing.

Primarily, the citation should indicate excellence in the departmental field of study. Evidence of distinction in work done outside the department may be taken into account, but it should not have decisive weight.

Other activity relating to the work of the department, such as writing, experimentation, or creative work in the field, should receive due consideration.

The foregoing list is not meant to be comprehensive. A department may take into account any qualities or attainments that it finds relevant. The main consideration is that the award should reflect the judgments of the department that the recipient is, because of unusual talents and promise, worthy of being recognized in this fashion.

Recipients need to have maintained a grade point average of 3.5 in the department to be awarded a Departmental Citation.

Relationship of the Citation to Other Awards

Although there are other awards which, in their particular spheres, have features in common with the Departmental Citation, there are few cases of extensive overlapping. Indeed, there is no reason why this award, together with other awards, cannot be given simultaneously to one person. Superficially, it seems most closely to resemble the award of Highest Honors to graduating seniors, but even in this case there are significant differences. Highest Honors is explicitly attached to the student's general GPA; it is usually awarded to all students who meet this single condition, and it is limited to graduating seniors.

The Departmental Citation, on the other hand, is awarded primarily for excellence in the work of the department; it issues from the department; and it has no necessary relationship to graduation honors, although some recipients of Highest Honors will also receive a Departmental Citation.

Previous Recipients