An honors student or honor student is a student recognized for achieving high grades or high marks in their coursework at school.
In the US, honors students may refer to:
Honors students are often recognized for their achievements. A student who has made numerous appearances on the honor roll may be awarded some form of academic letter, or any other form of notification. A similar concept to honor rolls exists in colleges and universities in the United States, known as the Dean's List.
A growing archive of honor students can be found online. See references below.
In other countries, the meaning of honors can refer either to a specific type of academic degree or to the level of distinction with which an undergraduate degree was earned.
Honours degrees are usually four-year programs (sometimes also three-year programs, e.g., in England). A student who holds a de jure Honours degree is eligible for direct entry either to a Doctorate (Ph.D.) or to a two- to three years very-high-research Master's degree program.
'Honours' can also mean that students have achieved their degree with a high overall average GPA and typically have undertaken a small final project, paper or essay (also known in the UK as a dissertation). See British undergraduate degree classification.
A third meaning is a postgraduate with Honors or cum honored degree, which is (part of) an academic degree itself, e.g. the one-year Bachelor with Honors degree in Australia, the one-year Baccalaureatus Cum Honore degree in Canada or the four-year integrated Master with Honors degree in Scotland. Postgraduate Honors degree programs generally involve completion of master's level courses and the submission of a long high-research thesis.
Some researchers have questioned the validity of the honor roll as an effective form of positive reinforcement. It is argued that the pursuit of extrinsic reward is not an accurate reflection of intrinsic interest in course material. There are also questions on the effectiveness of separating high-achieving students from their peers, in the form of magnet schools or honors courses.
An honors course is a class in which the most advanced students are placed. Most students placed in honors courses are highly motivated and dedicated to their educational experience. Honors classes also cover advanced material, permit more in-depth study than a standard course of study and may require independent research.
Motivation is the main quality that characterizes an honors student. In addition to being committed to academics, they are encouraged and many participate in volunteer work, organizations and clubs, cooperative education, research, study abroad and cultural activities.
Honors programs have specific entrance requirements and completion criteria in order to graduate with Honors, or cum laude.