Distinction awards

Distinctions in Research recognize student achievement in discovery, investigation, and innovation.

Two academic research distinctions are available to undergraduate students of all majors as of Spring 2021. A student’s active engagement in the process of discovery, investigation, and innovation above and beyond the baccalaureate degree may earn the Distinction in Research or the Distinction of Excellence in Research.  Distinctions will be noted on the student's official transcript. Students who apply by the deadline and meet the qualifications will be recognized in the graduation ceremony through the wearing of a lavender honor cord (Distinction) and medallion (Distinction of Excellence).


  • Currently enrolled at AU as an undergraduate student in good academic standing
  • Minimum of 60 hours completed at AU
  • Minimum overall GPA of 3.0 for Distinction; minimum overall GPA of 3.4 for Distinction of Excellence
  • Students must register with CURS to acquire approval of all requirements


Requirements for Distinction in Research

UPDATED!  Students must meet all the following criteria:

  1.  Research activity. Complete two (2) recorded semesters or 100 hours of undergraduate research or scholarship through:

a.  UR courses (i.e., 2990, 3990, 4990; HONR 4500) or equivalent

b.  paid or volunteer position as a research assistant

c.  CURS Summer Scholar’s Program, STAR, REU, or equivalent program

2.  Undergraduate Presentation of Scholarship. Present one (1) original work at a conference, symposium, senior show, or equivalent performance to a public audience. Presentations can be in the form of posters, oral presentations, creative showcase, or exhibition. Student may present in a group or as the sole presenter. Common options are the CURS Student Research Series, Phi Kappa Phi Research and Fine Arts Conference (PKP), Undergraduate Honors Society conferences, and other collegiate conference such as the Georgia Undergraduate Research Conference (GURC). Presentations for course assignments do not meet the criteria for this requirement.


Requirements for Distinction of Excellence in Research

Students must satisfy the requirements for the Distinction in Research plus fulfill the following criteria:

3. Professional Presentation of Scholarship. Present or publish one (1) original work at a professional conference, symposium, or equivalent setting. Presentations can be in the form of posters, oral presentations, creative showcase or performance, or exhibition. Original work may include research, development of software artifact, open source project, literary work, or other creative composition and must be demonstrated in a professional public forum. Student may present in a group or as the sole presenter. Common options are the Arsenal Undergraduate Research Journal, peer-reviewed discipline specific journal articles, book chapters, oral/poster presentations at professional conferences, performance festivals, or equivalent distributions of the work.


Summer and Fall 2021 Graduates should complete this FORM to list your completed requirements.


Cord Application

Students must have approval of all requirements by the due date of the semester in which they graduate. If a presentation or requirement is scheduled but has not been completed by this date, the requirement may still be accepted if the student supplies satisfactory evidence of the likelihood of completion.

Application Due Dates:

  • Spring Graduation: April 15
  • Summer Graduation: July 15
  • Fall Graduation: December 1