What Is Magna Cum Laude?
College GPA

What Is Magna Cum Laude?

What exactly is Magna Cum Laude? Before we delve into it, let’s briefly touch upon the concept of academic honors. Academic honors are accolades received by students that reflect high academic achievement. 

One such coveted honor is Magna Cum Laude. The term “Magna Cum Laude” originates from Latin, and it means “with great praise.” It’s an academic honor that showcases a student’s sustained excellence throughout their educational journey.

The grading criteria for earning Magna Cum Laude vary by institution. Still, it typically falls into the second-highest honor, right below “Summa Cum Laude” (the highest honor) and above “Cum Laude” (the third-highest honor). The distinctions are generally based on Grade Point Average (GPA) or class rank.

Benefits of Earning Magna Cum Laude

Graduating Magna Cum Laude isn’t just about bragging rights; it opens doors! Recognition in academia is one of the benefits. This accomplishment is often recognized during graduation ceremonies and is noted on your diploma.

It also provides a significant advantage when applying for postgraduate studies or job opportunities. The honor serves as a testament to your dedication, discipline, and academic prowess, traits that are highly desirable to employers and postgraduate admission committees.

How to Achieve Magna Cum Laude

Earning a Magna Cum Laude requires a solid strategy and, needless to say, consistent hard work. Planning your study schedule, selecting your courses wisely, and maintaining high grades from the onset of your academic journey are essential steps. 

Developing effective study techniques, participating actively in class, and seeking assistance when necessary can also be incredibly beneficial.

Magna Cum Laude Vs. Other Academic Honors

As mentioned, Magna Cum Laude is one of three Latin honors typically awarded to students upon graduation. It’s important to understand how it differs from the others:

  1. Cum Laude: This honor, meaning “with praise,” is generally awarded to students who fall into the top 30% of their class.

  2. Summa Cum Laude: This is the highest academic honor, translating to “with highest praise.” It’s often reserved for students in the top 1-5% of their class.

Recognized Institutions that Offer Magna Cum Laude

Institutions across the globe recognize the Magna Cum Laude honor. In North America, most universities and colleges award this honor. These institutions include Harvard University, Stanford University, and the University of Toronto.

Internationally, institutions like the University of Cambridge in the UK and the University of Melbourne in Australia also offer similar distinctions.


1. What GPA do you need to graduate Magna Cum Laude?

This varies by institution, but it typically falls within a GPA range of 3.7 – 3.9 out of 4.0.

2. Can you get Magna Cum Laude with a double major?

 Yes, the honor is based on your cumulative GPA across all your coursework.

3. Do employers care about Magna Cum Laude? 

While the specific honor may not be a deciding factor, the high academic achievement it represents is often viewed favorably by employers.

4. Does Magna Cum Laude appear on the diploma? 

Yes, this academic honor typically appears on your diploma and transcripts.

5. What’s the difference between Summa Cum Laude and Magna Cum Laude? 

Summa Cum Laude is the highest academic honor, usually awarded to the top 1-5% of the graduating class, while Magna Cum Laude is the second highest.


Earning a Magna Cum Laude is a commendable achievement, reflecting a student’s dedication and commitment to their academic pursuits. Whether it’s the recognition in academia or the edge in job applications, the benefits are manifold. 

However, achieving it requires consistent effort, strategic planning, and hard work. Learn how to find merit scholarships through our blogs at Go Degree.

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