DEFINITION of 'Cum Laude'

Cum laude is an academic level of distinction that educational institutions use to signify an academic degree that was received with honor. Cum laude is one of three commonly used types of Latin honors recognized in the United States, the other two being summa cum laude and magna cum laude.

BREAKING DOWN 'Cum Laude'

The guidelines by which each level of academic honors is achieved differs between academic institutions. However, every university or college typically outlines its expectations for each honor. Although Latin honors are quite common in the United States, very few countries around the world use the Latin system.

The names for the three levels of academic honors come from Latin. Cum laude means "with honor" or "with praise." Even higher are the honors magna cum laude, which means "with high honor" or "with high praise." Summa cum laude bestows the highest honor or praise on its recipient. Because the terms come from Latin, these honors are often called "Latin honors."

Qualification for Latin Honors

Some universities bestows Latin honors at set levels of grade point average (GPA). Typically, a GPA of 3.5 or higher is required to receive the cum laude designation, with higher GPAs required for magna cum laude and summa cum laude honors. The designation is based only an individual student's final GPA as of graduation.

Other universities reserve Latin honors for a stated percentage of each graduating class with, for example, only the top 25% of a class receiving any honors and smaller percentages receiving the magna cum laude and summa cum laude honors designations. At highly competitive schools, such as Ivy League universities, GPA alone may not be enough to earn honors. In these cases, faculty committees consider students' academic records and achievements, and faculty members may recommend honors for exceptional students. Students are never allowed to apply or campaign for Latin honors.

Indications of Latin Honors

Students receiving Latin honors are typically noted as such in graduation programs, and the designation appears on the student's diploma. Students graduating with honors may also be allowed to wear some sort of special insignia at graduation.

The cum laude designation should appear on a job seeker's resume in the section about education. The proper way to list Latin honors is either after the listing of the degree itself and/or in a separate honors section on the resume. Because academic honors are in Latin, they should be italicized. Lesser honors, such as appearing on a dean's list or the equivalent, are not required on a resume if Latin honors are included.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Magna Cum Laude

    An academic level of distinction used by educational institutions ...
  2. Summa Cum Laude

    An academic level of distinction used by educational institutions ...
  3. Cum Rights

    A shareholder of record that qualifies for a rights offering ...
  4. Cum Warrant

    A discount bond with an attached warrant that allows the holder ...
  5. Cum Dividend

    When a buyer of a security is entitled to receive a dividend ...
  6. Wrongful Dishonor

    A bank's failure to honor a valid negotiable instrument such ...
Related Articles
  1. Personal Finance

    What Does "Magna Cum Laude" Mean?

    Magna cum laude is one of three Latin honors used by many academic institutions to recognize their best students.
  2. Financial Advisor

    Top 3 Latin America Stock Mutual Funds (SLATX, PRLAX)

    Discover information about some of the most popular mutual funds that offer investors exposure to equities of companies in Latin America.
  3. Financial Advisor

    Latin America’s Economic Forecast

    After a ten-year run, the economies of Latin America are in a decline. For sustainable, long-term growth, the region needs structural reforms.
  4. Investing

    3 Mutual Funds with Latin American Exposure

    Learn about three mutual funds that specialize in investing in securities issued by companies domiciled in the emerging markets of Latin America.
  5. Investing

    How China’s Slowdown Affects Your Latin American Investments (IBOV, IGPA)

    China's economy is slowing down and its major Latin American trading partners will feel the headwinds, as will your Latin American investments.
  6. Investing

    South American Economies Reel from Low Chinese Demand

    Move over America, the tides have changed. China now has the greatest impact on Latin American economies.
  7. Investing

    4 ETF Strategies for Growth in Latin America for 2016

    Use these strategies to invest in Latin American ETFs in 2016. The region has several underperformers such as Brazil but it still offers growth.
  8. Investing

    The Next Big ETFs Might Be From Latin America

    These ETFs are an excellent place to start for any investor interested in betting on Latin America.
  9. Investing

    ILF Vs. GML: Comparing Latin America ETFs

    Examine two popular ETFs that offer exposure to Latin American equities among emerging market economies.
  10. Financial Advisor

    Infrastructure Investment & Institutional Reforms

    There has been a lot of buzz in the market lately about the prospect for growth and stability in Latin America.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is the difference between Magna Cum Laude and Summa Cum Laude?

    Learn what the terms "magna cum laude" and "summa cum laude" mean and how different universities determine which students ... Read Answer >>
  2. How does someone earn the designation Magna Cum Laude?

    Discover the meaning and origins behind the term magna cum laude, an academic designation used to award honors students at ... Read Answer >>
  3. Where did the term Magna Cum Laude originate from and why is it used in academics?

    Learn what "magna cum laude" means, read about its etymology and review why academic institutions use this phrase and other ... Read Answer >>
  4. For which kind of jobs is having Magna Cum Laude most important?

    Discover for what kind of jobs a magna cum laude degree is important. Magna cum laude is a distinction earned when a student ... Read Answer >>
  5. Can student loans be used to pay rent?

    In most cases, loans can be used for housing costs, but students should still plan to have some cash on hand. Read Answer >>
Trading Center