Dean's Excellence Awards

Let the love of learning rule humanity.

Phi Kappa Phi Motto

The Dean's Excellence awards were created to recognize top first-year and sophomore students for their achievements. This university-wide award is presented annually to two (2) freshman students and two (2) sophomores in each college who display exceptional promise. The award is administered in partnership with the TAMU chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, one of the oldest and most prestigious honor societies in the world. The goal of the Dean's Excellence awards is to identify and honor those students who exemplify the Phi Kappa Phi motto to "let the love of learning rule humanity."

The top freshman and sophomore recognition in each college is designated as the Gathright Phi Kappa Phi Dean's Excellence Award.


  • All applicants must be fulltime students and a member of the awarding college (as shown in university records). Applicants must not possess a record of academic dishonesty or any student conduct violations.
  • To compete in the Freshman category a student must have been admitted to TAMU through the Freshman admissions process in the fall or spring semester immediately preceding the application due date.​
  • To compete in the Sophomore category a student must have completed at least 2 but no more than 4 fall/spring semesters at any institution by the application due date.


  • Application Opens: 5:00 PM Monday, May 6, 2019
  • Applications Due: 5:00 PM Monday, June 17, 2019 (No Exceptions)
  • Letters of recommendation are due by 5:00 PM Wednesday, June 19, 2019
  • Semifinalists Announced: Mid-Late August
  • Finalists Announced: Mid-Late September
  • September Awardees Announced: Mid-Late October

Application Components

Completed applications consist of 5 documents formatted according to the guidelines below.

5 Required Documents

  1. Personal Statement
  2. Research and/or Creative Production
  3. Community Engagement
  4. Accomplishments/Awards
  5. Unofficial TAMU Transcript

Document Formatting Requirements

  • With the exception of transcripts, each document should be:

    • Single-spaced

    • 12pt font

    • No longer than 1 page

  • Including transcripts, all documents should be combined into a single file:

    • In PDF format

    • Saved as 'Last Name_UIN_DeanExcellenceAwardPacket

      • Example: An application packet would be saved as: Smith_123004567_DeanExcellenceAwardPacket

5 Required Documents Explained

  1. Personal statement

    Discuss your background and interests in relation to both your short-term goals and life ambitions. Remember that a good personal statement not only answers the question, 'what?' but also the question, 'why?'.

  2. Research and/or Creative Production

    Discuss any research you have conducted or are currently conducting and/or any creative endeavors you pursue (music, art, theatre, creative writing, etc.). Remember that reviewers will not necessarily be experts in your field.

  3. Community Engagement

    Discuss the ways in which you engage with your university, local, national, or even international community. How do you find meaning in this engagement? What have you learned from the experience?

  4. Accomplishments/Awards

    Explain any notable milestones or achievements and contextualize them within your interests and goals.

  5. Unofficial TAMU transcript

    The transcript should come from Howdy. Applicants should select the option for a PDF version of the transcript.

Letters of Recommendation


Recommenders must have your UIN to submit the letter of recommendation!!!
Please do not forget to give them this information. 

When you log into the application portal,
you will enter the name and the email of both your Academic Reference and your General Reference. 
After you enter their name, they will receive an email with a link for them to upload their letter of recommendation. Recommenders must also have a UIN to submit a letter of recommendation.


Each application must be accompanied by two (2) letters of recommendation. There is no page limit for the letters of recommendation. Requirements are:

  • Academic Reference

    This reference must be a TAMU faculty member who has provided academic instruction or guidance. A letter may obviously come from one of your course instructors but a research mentor could also be appropriate. The letter should discuss your academic abilities relative to your field and the reference's opinion of your role as a scholar.
  • General Reference

    This reference can come from anyone in the TAMU community (WITH THE EXCEPTION OF ANOTHER UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT) who can comment on your promise and potential with clear, specific examples. This individual must also have a UIN. Ideally this letter would provide a different perspective than what is offered in the academic reference. For example, if you are double-majoring in two disparate fields you might request a letter from a course instructor in the other major or you might request a letter from the advisor of an organization in which you have committed significant time and effort.


Awardees will be honored with an official certificate at the annual Phi Kappa Phi Fall Breakfast in October.


Students may access the application here