Academic Awards


International Studies majors and minors are consistently recognized for academic excellence, community service, and leadership while at Boston College. We are proud to acknowlege their recognition in these and other categories.

Phi Beta Kappa
A prestigious academic honor society founded in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa celebrates excellence in the liberal arts and sciences and champions freedom of thought. The BC Chapter (Omicron) was chartered in 1970, and continues to invite "the very best undergraduate scholars in the College of Arts and Sciences" to join Phi Beta Kappa as members for life. 
The criteria for election are "superior scholarship and good character," with an emphasis on those students who seek out deep intellectual engagement. Thus, nearly all of the IS majors who are elected to Phi Beta Kappa are thesis writers. 
Each year this includes a strong cohort of International Studies students, including:
2024 Graduates
Abigail Carr ‘24 (elected '23)
Rongwei Zhu ‘24 (elected '23)
2023 Graduates
Alexandra Baker
Lillian Cyran
Mia Ferguson ‘23 (elected '22)
Maya Floreani
Sofia Frias
Isabelle Jones
Lilly Mathieu
Anju Sadasivam
Gabriel Wallen
2022 graduates
Natalie Almonacid
Saraphina Birtolo
Benjamin Chieng
Catherine Day (IS minor)
Zilai Liu
Peyton Olszowka
Peter Pinto
Riley Casadei
Caroline Denning
Hannah Jones
Julia Swiatek (IS minor) 
2021 graduates
Kayla Brandt (IS minior)
Grace Cavanagh
Jillian Farabaugh (IS minior)
Leah Hickert
Mahima Menghani
Sophia Pandelidis (elected ‘20)
Lucile Perrot
Karla Sanchez Gonzalez
Emma Saart (IS minior)
Christopher Sundaram
Lauren White
2020 graduates 
Julia Bloechl
Lilah Butler
Jillian Cusick
Zoe Fanning
Madeline Hughes (IS minor)
Cameron Kasanzew
Chia Jung Kuo
Patrick O'Connell
Brenna Recny
Carolina Tiru (IS minor)
2019 graduates
Margaret Andersen (IS minor)
Madeline Babin
Julia Barrett
Hailey Burgess
Matthew Eckstein
Christina LaRitz
Pei-Ling Lee
Naseem Moussavian
Elizabeth Warner-Rousseau
2018 graduates
[list to come]
2017 graduates
[list to come]
2016 graduates
[list to come]
Previous PBK scholars list to come
[list to come]

Boston College awards Latin honors upon graduation to students based on cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA). Starting with the class of 2021, the cumulative average for degrees with honors will be as follows:

  • summa cum laude (with the highest honors):  3.9 – 4.0 GPA
  • magna cum laude (with high honors):  3.8 – 3.899 GPA
  • cum laude (with honors): 3.667–3.799 GPA

(Prior to the class of 2021, summa cum laude was awarded to the top 4.5 percent of the graduating class; magna cum laude to the next 9.5 percent; and cum laude to the next 15 percent).

Please contact Student Services with questions concerning graduation honors. 

All IS majors who complete a thesis will graduate with IS Program honors and earn a "BA in International Studies with Honors." This is distinct from Boston College academic honors such as Latin honors (see tab above).

Matteo Ricci, SJ

Matteo Ricci, SJ

Recent winners include:

2023: Lilly Mathieu and Isabelle Jones

  • Lilly Mathieu: "Forging New Fields of Feminine Identification in Morocco: Assessments of Agency Mobilized through Motherhood and Islam"
    (Advisor: Prof. Natana DeLong-Bas)

  • Isabelle Jones: "Masking Up: A Mixed-Methods Analysis of the Spectrum of Health Security in Latin America"
    (Advisor: Prof. Jennifer Erickson)

2022: Saraphina Birtolo
“To Ignite the Firewall or Activate the Conveyor Belt: Exploring the Role of Nonviolent Islamist Organizations In Individual Radicalization”
(Advisor: Prof. Peter Krause) 

2021: Mariana Ferreira
"Why Do States Accept Refugees? A Case Study Analysis of the Latin American Policy Response to the Venezuelan Exodus" (Advisor: Prof. Jennie Purnell)

2020: Zoë Fanning 
"Civilian Healthcare under Fire: International Healthcare Intervention in Post-Cold War Armed Conflicts"
(Advisor: Prof. Jennifer Erickson)

Students with a cumulative GPA of 3.700 or higher are eligible to apply for the MCAS-wide Scholar of the College designation, which allows students to claim 9 or 12 credits for their thesis project, in exchange for increased expectations for depth and quality of work. Scholars of the College theses are eligible for the McCarthy Prizes (see below). 

If you are interested in pursuing a Scholar of the College thesis, speak with your faculty advisor, thesis advisor, and the IS Program thesis coordinator (Prof. Nakazato) in the Spring or Summer before senior year.

Applications for a 12-credit SOC thesis are due to the MCAS Dean's Office the the first week of the fall semester; applications for the 9-credit SOC thesis are due in mid-December.

Recent IS majors who completed a Scholar of the College theses:
Isabelle Jones '23
Wenwei (Mary) Su '22
Zoë Fanning '20
Julia Bloechl '20
 >> [list of 2015-2019 Scholars of the College to come]
Narintohn Luangrath '14
Caroline Ceriello '13
Kevin Savage '13
Chris Fitzpatrick '13
Kevin Moran '11
Sean Comber '10

Scholars of the College who submit a completed and approved thesis by April 15 may be considered for a McCarthy Prize, given to the best Morrissey College thesis project in each of the Natural Sciences, the Social Sciences, and the Humanities. McCarthy Prizes are awarded at the Scholars Banquet and recognized at the university's Commencement Awards Ceremony.

Recent IS majors who won the McCarthy Prize:
Isabelle Jones '23