FAQ Distinction and High Distinction

How do I qualify for Departmental Distinction?

You must have a 3.5/4.0 cumulative GPA in all CLJ courses and a 3.25/4.0 cumulative GPA in all university courses at the time of graduation.

How do I qualify for Departmental High Distinction?

You must have a 3.5/4.0 cumulative GPA in all CLJ courses and a 3.25/4.0 cumulative GPA in all university courses and complete a paper for CLJ 399 (Independent study), which will be reviewed by a faculty advisor and the Departmental Undergraduate Committee. GPA requirements must be met both during the semester that the student submits the paper and at the time of graduation.

Qualified students should contact the CLJ Director of Undergraduate Studies one semester in advance of graduation to discuss the process. The Director can also share copies of past High Distinction papers with prospective honorees.

When is the High Distinction paper due?

Papers are due the thirteenth week of the semester; deadline extensions may be granted, however, papers arriving after the thirteenth week will have a limited time-frame in which to be revised, should the review committee request it (assuming the student is in their last semester). Consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies for more guidance on the committee’s expectations and the paper’s deadline.

Are there guidelines for students submitting a paper in consideration of High Distinction?

Yes. A paper submitted in consideration of High Distinction Honors should be substantial, clearly written, well-organized, and persuasively argued and supported. Papers may (a) focus on synthesizing the literature of a CLJ area (e.g., “racial profiling”), (b) report on the student's own empirical investigation (e.g., a secondary data analysis, original survey, field research project, or experimentally designed study), or (c) address an issue of public policy relevance to CLJ (e.g., “alternatives to incarceration”). The paper’s thesis statement should be set forth early in the paper and supported through use of evidence and/or relevant literature (theoretical or empirical). All sources should be correctly cited. Students can use either MLA or APA formatting. Successful papers will likely have gone through at least one revision, in coordination with the sponsoring faculty member or someone from the Writing Center.

What is the High Distinction paper review process?

Students should notify the Director of Undergraduate Studies of their intent by the middle of the semester in which they plan to submit a paper in consideration of High Distinction. Papers submitted for High Distinction Honors are reviewed by a committee comprised of at least three CLJ faculty members. The committee is asked to determine whether a paper should be accepted as originally submitted or is in need of being revised before acceptance. Revisions must be completed and reviewed by the committee before final certification of the student’s academic record, which usually occurs one week after the ending of the semester in which the student graduates from UIC. Recipients of High Distinction will have the honor noted in their official final transcripts.