Academic Honors are awarded as follows: cum laude to graduates who rank in the top 10 percent of the graduating class, magna cum laude to those who rank in the top 5 percent and summa cum laude to those who rank in the top 2 percent of their class. Please refer to Class Ranking for information about how the law school calculates rank in class, and the number of graded credits a student must earn to be ranked in a particular class.
• Students who rank in the top 10 percent (cum laude), 5 percent (magna cum laude) and 2 percent (summa cum laude) of the graduating class based on rank after five semesters will be listed provisionally as honors recipients in the commencement program at Spring commencement. However, final awarding of honors is based on rank in the graduating class after six semesters, determined after Spring commencement.
• Final honors will appear on the diploma and transcript. Provisional honors, will not appear on the transcript or diploma and students who are recognized for provisional honors but do not earn final honors should not represent that their degree was earned with academic honor.
• Students awarded honors receive a name-engraved medallion.
Woolsack Honor Society
The Woolsack Honor Society was founded in 1920 for the purpose of recognizing academic excellence. It was reestablished in 1981. Membership in the Society is extended to: 1) Students who rank in the top fifteen percent of the graduating class after 5 semesters; and 2) Students who do not qualify for membership after 5 semesters but who rank in the top 15 percent of the graduating class after six semesters.
• Students who qualify for membership in Woolsack Honor Society based on class rank after five semesters are notified by the Dean in February before Spring commencement. Students who qualify after six semesters are notified after Spring commencement.
• The notation “Woolsack Honor Society” will appear on the transcript for all students who qualify for membership.
• Fall members' names are listed in the commencement program and are recognized during the spring commencement ceremony.
• Once inducted, membership is permanent.
Academic Honors eligibility applies to students that have completed Penn State’s first year J.D. curriculum. Woolsack honors require at least 5 semesters of enrollment at Penn State and a cumulative rank in class. Transfer students will not receive a cumulative rank in class as grades from their prior law school cannot be calculated toward a Penn State Law class rank. Therefore, students transferring into Penn State Law will not be eligible for Academic Honors or Woolsack.