What Is Summa Cum Laude? Everything To Know About It

Summa Cum Laude

So, if you have been to a college graduation ceremony in your life, then you must have surely heard the term Summa Cum Laude, and Magna once. Well, it’s worth noting that each of these terms is a Latin phrase that designates different levels of academic honors that the students have earned for themselves.

As per the sources, cum laude means ‘with honor, or with praise’, whereas, if we add Magna, it becomes great honor. On the other hand, if we add summa, then it is the highest level of honor. Usually, during the college graduation ceremony, people use these Latin terms to designate the students.

These phrases or Latin honors also have to do with GPA or class rank. So, that’s why it’s always best to know the meaning behind the phrases. Even if you are not in college, it’s always best to know different things, right?

So, in this article, we shall take a look at what these each term means in a broader sense. Moreover, we shall also provide you with input about how you can put these destinations into your resume. So, it’s time to go through this article and find out everything you need to know about Summa Cum Laude.

Overview On Summa Cum Laude

Well, as we mentioned earlier, cum laude is a Latin phrase denoting an academic designation. This is granted to the top 20 to 30 percent of students in most cases. In a lot of schools and colleges, the dean’s list or chancellor’s scholars, or even honors students recognize as high-ranking students.

So, as per the sources, if you are a cum laude graduate, you possess a GPA that sets you apart as ‘above-average’. However, it shows that you haven’t earned As across the result. Maybe there was one subject where you didn’t do your best. Or, there are a lot of other reasons like, you had chosen to take on a lot of difficult courses on unfamiliar topics.

It’s not the highest grade there is. However, it shows that you have pushed yourself and did well on a seemingly tough test. In other words, this Latin phrase symbolizes great work ethic and intelligence.

Magna & Summa Cum Laude

So, if you want to know the basic difference between the two terms, we should first take a look at what they mean in the first place. Usually, the main difference between the two, i.e, Magna and summa cum laude are the achievement of GPA. As per the sources, the GPA requirement varies from one school to another, and also from one program to another. However, it’s possible to provide some general rules of thumb for the GPAs and how they correlate with the Latin Honors as well.

So, on a general note, cum laude students do have a GPA of around 3.5 to 3.7 on average. e on the other hand, Magna students typically score somewhere around 3.8-3.9. However, when it comes to Summa, they score generally 4.0 and have higher GPAs.

If you feel that earning one of these destinations is important, then you can have a chat with a school guidance counselor if you want to. They will help you on the right track for sure. Especially, if someone is achieving that Summa, then it’s essential to select the classes that will give the most advanced credit towards building that high GPA.

That being said, one must not get discouraged if one cannot get summa. Remember, that summa is the highest one possible, but Magna is just below that and we separate them only by 0.1 or 0.2. So, there’s just a very subtle difference between an A+ and A. Getting that 0.1 won’t be tough if you put in some extra work. However, it’s not the end of the world even if you can’t.

Who Can Earn A Summa Cum Laude?

Cum Laude designation is a Latin phrase that we mentioned earlier in this article. So, these Latin honors are given out to college students in general for earning their bachelor’s degrees. Each of the three honors (Cum, Magna, summa) lets people know that you have achieved a high in your results.

Typically, the authorities determine these based on your grade point average or GPA. However, there is no official set rule that determines which category you will fall under. Despite the fact that college students get this, there are few high schools where you do see this system. Though it’s not common, it’s there very much. Mainly in the US, we do see the use of Cum laude during the graduation ceremony.


So, as we said earlier, it’s always a great feeling to see a Summa Cum Laude, Magna, or even summa. However, if you cannot get any of them, then that doesn’t mean that you didn’t do well. There are a lot of factors that contribute to the success and failure of an exam. So, if you have acquired any of these three Latin honors, then great. If you didn’t, then it’s alright, because life has a lot of great things to offer.

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