DCU Student Recognition Framework


DCU has a student recognition framework which facilitates acknowledgement, at the point of graduation, of exceptional student academic achievement and in some instances also a significant contribution via extracurricular activities.

The framework sits alongside all of the other opportunities that exist both within DCU and externally for students to be recognised for contribution or achievements in the arts, sports, civil society, charity, innovation etc., but is particularly focused on those graduating students who demonstrate high academic achievement (Dean’s Honours List), and especially those who have done so whilst also making an impactful contribution to others in DCU and externally (Chancellor's Medal).

The Dean’s Honours List is an acknowledgement of especially high academic achievement by students graduating at both undergraduate and postgraduate level with a major award of 60 ECTS or greater. It is a Faculty based process.

  1. The top performing students (based on precision mark) graduating with a Bachelors, taught Master’s, Higher Diploma or Graduate Diploma award (or group of such programmes where specialism results in small cohorts or the Faculty has chosen to group programmes) are deemed eligible for inclusion in the Dean’s Honours list.
  2. Students must also achieve an overall classification of First Class honours and be of good standing with the University.
  1. Each Faculty identifies eligible programmes or grouping of programmes where appropriate.  The Dean’s Honours list does not apply to occasional students or graduates from minor or supplemental awards of weighting < 60 ECTS.
  • Entitlement to the recognition is agnostic as to mode of delivery of the programme leading to the award.
  • The ‘top performing students’ are considered to be those in the top 5% based on precision mark. The identification of the top performing students is facilitated by finalised broadsheets after progression and award board meetings.  The level at which this criteria is set, is subject to ongoing review.
  • In exceptional circumstances, and on the recommendation of the Director of the Office of Student Life, the Executive Dean can include a student in the Dean’s Honours list, at their discretion, if there is student who they believe meets the criteria for the Chancellor’s Medal, who is in good standing with the University and has achieved a first class honours mark. 
Format of Recognition
  1. The University will publish the Dean’s Honours lists annually, by Faculty and maintain this as a publically available record.
  2. Dean’s Honours List graduates will be recognised and celebrated at local Faculty or School events during the graduation period and will receive a specially designed ‘Dean’s List’ pin to recognise their exceptional academic achievement.
  3. Awardees are entitled to cite that they were included in the Dean’s Honours List for a particular year on their CVs, professional profiles, when engaging with DCU as Alumni etc.
  4. The Dean’s Honours List candidates become eligible for consideration by the Faculty for nomination for the Chancellor's Medal award. Graduates who think they may meet the criteria for the Chancellor’s Medal can indicate their interest and self-nominate to be considered by the Faculty.

The Chancellor’s Medal is awarded at the discretion of the University to an outstanding graduating student who has achieved excellence in both the academic and extracurricular spheres. Awardees embody the values of DCU and have had an exceptional and positive impact on DCU and/or the wider community.  The award recognises achievements in a variety of domains; campus life (clubs and societies), arts, engagement externally, community and volunteering, diversity and inclusion etc. 

Up to four awards may be made annually (up to 3 undergraduate/ up to 2 postgraduate, but no more than 4 in total) across all graduation ceremonies.

  1. Graduating taught students must have achieved the Dean’s Honours List in order to apply for consideration for a Faculty nomination for the Chancellor’s Medal. Graduating research students are also eligible to seek Faculty nomination.

In addition to the above, the student must demonstrate outstanding achievement in at least one of the following areas: 

  • Extra-curricular achievements - these should be related to the community and ideally enhance the DCU Community.  It is important to note that community achievement should be recognised as opposed to personal achievement.
  • The candidate must have met an exceptional achievement in advancing the student experience and engagement objectives of University life.
  • The candidate must have made a substantial contribution that has enhanced the reputation and standing of DCU.
  1. Students on the Dean’s Honours List of the graduating cohort are invited by the Faculty to apply for consideration for a Faculty nomination for the Chancellor’s Medal.  This invitation encompasses eligible undergraduate, and postgraduate taught students.
  2. The Faculty also asks Schools to consider whether they have a research student graduating who may meet the Chancellor's Medal criteria and to invite them to apply for consideration.
  3. The application facilitates detailing of achievements in extracurricular activities by the graduating student, supported by testimonials.
  4. Each Faculty decides on nominees from the subset of the Dean’s Honours List who have applied to be considered. Up to two individuals from taught programmes at each suite of graduations can be nominated by a Faculty.  Faculties also decide whether to nominate a research student who has achieved particular academic distinction, and also, in the Faculties view, meets the criteria for recognition via a Chancellor’s Medal.
  5. The bar for awarding the Chancellor's Medal is very high, and a Faculty will not necessarily always have a nominee.
  6. Nominees are informed by the Faculty that they have been nominated for consideration by the Chancellor’s Medal Review Group.
  1. Selection of a short list of candidates for consideration by the DCU Chancellor and President is a university-based process supported by OVPAA.
  2. Faculty nominations are considered by the Chancellor’s Medal Review Group which recommends a short list of candidates who meet the criteria.
  3. Following the Review Meeting, the following documentation is presented to the Selection Board, which comprises the Chancellor and President of DCU:

The original proposal, supplemented by the academic results of the nominee, together with guidance from the Review Group.

  1. The Chancellor, in consultation with the DCU President, considers the shortlist of candidates for the Medal and decides on awardees.
Awarding of the Medal:

The medal is awarded at the ceremony where the student graduates.

  1. OVPAA notifies the candidate.  OVPAA also notifies the DCU Events team of the award (so that it can be planned into the relevant ceremony and that extra guest tickets can be offered where possible).  OVPAA organises the medal and works with the relevant Faculty on preparation of the citation.
  1. The citation is the responsibility of the relevant Faculty and is prepared within guidelines set in relation to length etc., is approved by the VPAA/Registrar and read by the Executive Dean at the graduation ceremony.
  1. Awardees are listed on an awards board on public display on one of the DCU campuses.


Note: By requesting consideration, graduates agree that relevant information will be made available to DCU Communications Department for appropriate use at the time of graduation.

Assessment Rubric for Chancellor’s Medal Shortlisting

Up to two nominations from the Dean’s list, and up to one research student per Faculty.

Total Marks Available Max. 230 points

Name of Individual Nominated

Name of Faculty

Outstanding Excellence in Extra-curricular Sphere - 1500 Word Max Max. 180 points
Extra-curricular achievements should be related to the community and, where possible, enhance the DCU Community. Areas can include engagement externally, community and volunteering, diversity and inclusion etc.   
It is important to note that community achievement should be recognised as opposed to personal achievement.   
What extracurricular activities has the student engaged in that have had great impact in the DCU community? What were their roles and achievements?    50 Points
What activities and achievements has the student undertaken to advance the student experience and engagement objectives of university life? This can include campus life (clubs and societies), arts etc.   50 points
What substantial contribution has the student made to enhance the reputation and standing of DCU. Detail their role, achievements and any demonstrable impact these have had.  50 points 
What events has the student been involved in organising and/or participated in? 10 Points
Give examples of how the student has worked as part of a team and has motivated a team. 10 points
Outline any difficulties/obstacles that the student has had to overcome. 10 points
Summary - 500 Word Max 50 Points
Describe two skills that the student has developed as part of their activities that have enabled them to set/reach personal goals.  
Skill 1 15 points
Skill 2 15 points
Why do they deserve this individual award? 15 points
Discretionary Points for Impression (Judges only) 5 Points


The recognition framework is implemented in tandem with the schedule of Progression and Award Board approvals and Graduation ceremonies. Currently there are two cycles of graduations each year in the Autumn and Spring.