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Honors Program

Participation in the Physics Department's honors research program is available to outstanding students in all areas of concentration. This program enables students to do intensive work in a chosen area and therefore involves work that extends beyond ordinary course requirements and ordinary standards of performance. As of Spring 2024, physics majors with a cumulative GPA average of or above a 3.7 by the end of their first three years (or before entering their final two semesters at Emory) will be invited by the department to work toward honors. The honors program in physics consists of working with a faculty advisor on a yearlong research project that culminates in a presentation and a written thesis.

According to standards set by the College:

  • Honors represents satisfactory completion of the program, with an overall GPA average of at least a 3.7.
  • High Honors represents the completion of the program with outstanding performance, including an overall GPA average of at least a 3.7 and a thesis of a quality sufficient for oral presentation to scholars in the candidate's field.
  • Highest Honors represents the completion of the program with exceptional performance, including an overall GPA average of at least a 3.7 and a thesis of a quality suitable for publication.

Dr. Alissa Bans is the Honors Program coordinator for the Department of Physics. Please contact her with questions or to set up an appointment for advising.

Sigma Pi Sigma - National Honor Society


Sigma Pi Sigma ΣΠΣ is the national honor society for physics students. Founded in 1921, at Davidson College, NC., its primary purpose is to honor outstanding scholarship in physics, to encourage interest in physics among students at all levels, to promote an attitude of services, and to provide a fellowship of persons who have excelled in physics.  Election to Sigma Pi Sigma is a lifetime membership.  In addition, the Society of Physics Students (SPS) and Sigma Pi Sigma, sponsor various grants and awards for individuals and chapters.  For more information about Sigma Pi Sigma and the Society of Physics Students and its programs, please visit http:/

Emory's Chapter of Sigma Pi Sigma was established May 17, 1948 and has inducted over 350+ members. 

Emory University's Department of Physics criteria for election to Sigma Pi Sigma Honor Society

Physics and Physics and Astronomy majors or minors are eligible for membership to Sigma Pi Sigma national honor society.  Candidates for Sigma Pi Sigma are drawn from our Physics major or minors, who have taken a significant number of courses in the Physics canon. Students must be in the top third of his or her graduating class to meet eligibility.  New members elected to Sigma Pi Sigma are inducted every spring. 

The Faculty Advisor for Sigma Pi Sigma is Dr. Kurt Warncke. Please contact him if you have any questions at