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This page describes Latin and English honors—including how Harvard Computer Science determines English Honors—as well as providing some information about other honors and awards, such as Phi Beta Kappa, Hoopes Prizes, and the CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Research Awards.

There are two types of honors for undergraduates: Latin honors (summa, magna, cum laude) are determined by the College and English honors (highest honors, high honors, honors) are determined by concentrations. More precisely, the Latin honors are: “summa cum laude in a field”, “magna cum laude with Highest Honors in a field”, “magna cum laude in a field”, “cum laude in a field”, and “cum laude on the basis of the student’s overall record”.

English Honors

To receive English honors in Computer Science, students must have a high grade point average and must also fulfill a more demanding course program than the basic program. There are several honors tracks within Computer Science (see the Computer Science handbook entry for more details):

  • The standard honors program requires two additional courses on top of the basic requirements, as well as greater depth in certain areas. See this table as well as the handbook entry for the details.

  • Joint Concentrations and the Mind, Brain, and Behavior Program are also part of the honors track. For a joint concentration, ultimately the primary field is responsible for the English honors recommendation.

All levels of English honors in Computer Science are decided individually by vote of the Computer Science faculty based on the student’s academic and scientific achievements. In making this determination, the faculty looks not only on the concentration GPA but also on the overall level of ambition in the course program. For high honors and highest honors a (strong) thesis is required as well.

Ordinarily, honors in Computer Science requires a concentration GPA of at least 3.5 in the courses on the student’s Computer Science study plan; high honors in Computer Science requires a concentration GPA of at least 3.75 and an excellent thesis; and highest honors in Computer Science requires a concentration GPA of at least 3.85 and an outstanding thesis.

Latin Honors

Latin honors are awarded by the college based on students' overall GPA as well as recommendations from the concentration. The Harvard College Handbook for Students contains the official requirements for Latin honors, which are summarized here:

  • Summa cum laude in a field:

    • Highest Honors from concentration
    • Top 5% of graduating class drawn from those designated for Highest Honors
  • Magna cum laude:

    • No more than 20% of graduating class can receive summa or magna
    • “Magna cum laude with Highest Honors in a field” requires Highest Honors from concentration
    • “Magna cum laude in a field” requires High Honors from concentration
  • Cum laude in a field:

    • Honors, High Honors, or Highest Honors from concentration
    • No more than 50% of graduating class can receive summa, magna, or cum
  • Cum laude on the basis of the student’s overall record:

    • GPA above the magna cutoff, up to at most 10% of graduating class
    • (No English honors.)

Historical data

Here is historical data on the GPA threshholds established by the Faculty for awarding degrees Magna Cum Laude and Cum Laude in Field. See the Registrar’s page on Graduation and Diplomas for GPA thresholds for the latest academic year.

Cum Laude in Field Magna Cum Laude/Cum Laude Summa Cum Laude in Field
2009 3.448 3.721
2010 3.472 3.74
2011 3.48 3.75
2012 3.484 3.756
2013 3.48 3.763
2014 3.511 3.769
2015 3.525 3.772
2016 3.538 3.794
2017 3.571 3.81 3.934
2018 3.62 3.844 3.947
2019 3.623 3.846 3.941
2020 3.655 3.853 3.956
2021 3.736 3.898 3.97
2022 3.757 3.909 3.976
2023 3.753 3.920 3.986

Phi Beta Kappa

Phi Beta Kappa is an honor society to which 10% of each Harvard graduating class is elected based on the excellence, reach, originality, and rigor of their courses of study. Election to Phi Beta Kappa takes into account the difficulty of a student’s classes, not just their grades; considers classes taken pass/fail with suspicion; and rewards deep study in substantially different areas. CS concentrators elected to Phi Beta Kappa since the class of 2019 are:

Class of 2023: Jack Boettcher, Sílvia Casacuberta Puig, April Chen**, Raymond Feng, Max Guo, Ye Joo Han, Lucy He, Michael Hwang, Benji Kan, Max Nadeau, Zev Nicolai-Scanio**, Isaac Robinson**, Haneul Shin*, Sanjana Singh**, Eric Zhang, Kat Zhang, Phyllis Zhang**

Class of 2022: Troy Appel, Alex Chin**, Mason Meyer**, Javin Pombra, James Roney, Noah Singer*, Lavanya Singh**, Pratap Singh**, Sahana Srinivasan, Varun Tekur, Raluca Vlad**, Annie Zhu*

Class of 2021: Serena Davis**, Tina Lu, George Moe, Pranay Tankala*, Yi Lin Wang

Class of 2020: Abhishek Anand, Eric Bornstein**, Michael Colavita*, Daniel Chen, Nenya Edjah, Lev Grossman**, Amy Gu, Meena Jagadeesan**, Emily Jia, Jambay Kinley**, Garrett Tanzer**, Vincent Viego, Alex Wei**, Michael Wornow**, Grace Zhang, Kristine Zhang*

Class of 2019***: Katherine Binney, Daniel Chafamo, Samuel Goldman, Rachel Gologorsky, Noah Golowich, Gabriel Grand, Patrick Guo, Manav Khandelwal, James Lennon, Thomas Orton, Brian Sapozhnikov, Kyle Sargent, Suproteem Sarkar, Sundar Solai, Michelle Vaccaro, Elena Wu-Yan, Bryan Yu

*Elected as juniors.

**Elected in the first semester of their senior years.

***Election date information not available.

Hoopes Prize

The Hoopes Prize is an award given to Harvard undergraduates for outstanding research, usually based on a senior thesis. CS concentrators who have won the Hoopes Prize since 2019 are:

Class of 2023: Sílvia Casacuberta Puig, April Chen, Paige Lee, Phyllis Zhang, Ziyuan Zhao

Class of 2022: Rachel Guo, Rose Hong, James Roney, Simas Šakenis, Noah Singer, Lavanya Singh

Class of 2021: Ralph Estanboulieh, Avi Swartz

Class of 2020: Dhruv Gupta, Meena Jagadeesan, Jason Yecheng Ma, Alexis Jihye Ross, Mirac Suzgun, Alexander Wei, Wanqian Yang, Michael Zhang

Class of 2019: Rachel Gologorsky, Noah Golowich, Gabriel Grand, Shira Li, Alexander Lin, William Long, Michelle Vaccaro

CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award

The Computation Research Association’s Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award is given each year to four North American undergraduate students for outstanding CS research. Harvard students who have won or been finalists or honorable mentions for the award:

2022: Awardee: Ted Pyne. Finalist: Louis Golowich. Honorable Mention: Noah Singer and Rachel Guo

2020: Awardees: Meena Jagadeesan & Alex Wei. Finalist: Demi Guo

2019: Awardee: Shyam Narayanan; Finalists: Noah Golowich, Meena Jagadeesan; Honorable Mention: Kojin Oshiba

2018: Runner-up: Noah Golowich

2017: Finalists: Lily Tsai and Peter Kraft; Honorable Mention: Graham Lustiber

2016: Finalist: Sitan Chen. Honorable mention: Ramya Rangan

2015: Honorable mention: Louis Li

2014: Honorable mentions: Louis Li, Diana Cai, and Jao-Ke Chin-Lee.

2012: Runner-up: Svilen Kanev. Honorable mention: Stefan Muller

2011: Awardee: Peter Bailis

2010: Runner-up: Zachary Abel

2005: Runner-up: Aditya Sunderam

2001: Runner-up: Russell Cox