Gathright Phi Kappa Phi Dean's Excellence Awards

Let the love of learning rule humanity.

Phi Kappa Phi Motto

The Phi Kappa Phi Gathright/Dean's Excellence awards were created to recognize top first-year and sophomore students for their achievements. These university-wide awards are presented annually to the top freshman and sophomore students 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 student in each college and classification is designated as a Gathright Scholar, with the second student recognized as the Dean's Excellence Award winner. 


  • All applicants must be full time students and a member of the awarding college at Texas A&M University (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 Texas A&M University through the Freshman admissions process in the fall or spring semester immediately preceding the application due date.‚Äč
  • 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: Late March
  • Applications Due: 5:00 PM Thursday, June 1, 2023 (No Exceptions)
  • Letters of recommendation are due by 5:00 PM Friday, June 2, 2023
  • Semifinalists Announced: Mid-Late July
  • Finalists Announced: Mid-Late August
  • Awardees Announced: Mid-Late September

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

Letters of Recommendation must be submitted by June 2, 2023 at 5:00 PM.

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 come from a TAMU faculty member who has provided academic instruction or guidance (e.g. course instructor or research mentor). The letter should comment on the your academic abilities and potential relative to your intended field.
  • General Reference

    This reference can come from any TAMU Faculty or Staff member (but not graduate students or undergraduate student employees) who can comment on the student's promise and potential with clear, specific examples.

  • Note: current undergraduate/ graduate students would not constitute faculty/staff for the purpose of this application.


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


Students may access the application here