Graduation Policies


In order to graduate with the Honors distinction, students must meet the requirements below and graduate with a University of Arizona cumulative GPA of 3.4 or above.

Credit Requirement

Students must complete a minimum number of Honors credits in order to graduate with Honors. The requirement varies according to the number of college credits already completed at the time of enrollment in the W. A. Franke Honors College. Credit earned through AP, IB, or CLEP does not result in a reduction of the Honors credit requirement. Only credit earned through a college or university can be used to reduce the number of required Honors credits. Honors credit requirements are detailed below, including additional policies that apply to students in the College of Engineering.

Students who have completed fewer than 30 units

  • Will need to complete a total of 30 Honors units in order to graduate with Honors
  • Can complete up to 12 units via Honors contract

Students who have completed between 30 and 59 units 

  • Will need to complete a total of 24 Honors units in order to graduate with Honors
  • Can complete up to 12 units via Honors contract 

Students who have completed 60 or more units 

  • Will need to complete a total of 18 Honors units in order to graduate with Honors
  • Can complete up to 12 units via Honors contract

Students graduating with Honors in the College of Engineering:

  • Will automatically receive seven units of Honors credit for design work in their major
  • Must complete at least 9 Honors units outside of the College of Engineering if they enter the Franke Honors College with fewer than 30 credits, and must complete at least 3 units outside of the College of Engineering if they enter the Franke Honors College with 30-59 credits. No restrictions apply to students who enter the Franke Honors College with 60 or more units.

Students who are writing multiple theses:

  • Students who are writing multiple theses and graduating with Honors in multiple disciplines must compete an extra six units for each additional Honors program. (ex: a student who needs 30 units to graduate with Honors in one discipline will need 36 units to graduate with Honors in a second discipline.)

Earning Honors Credit

Students may earn Honors credit in their major, minor, general education, or electives. Honors credits can be earned in three ways:

  1. Designated Honors courses. Students may search for Honors courses in the Schedule of Classes by using the “Class Attribute” feature. Select “Honors Course” as the class attribute, and then select “Honors Course” again as the class attribute value. The schedule will allow students to see options for Honors courses and Honors independent study opportunities.
  2. Honors Contracts: Honors Contracting involves making an arrangement with the instructor of a non-Honors course in order to turn it into an Honors-quality experience. Contracts must be submitted to the W. A. Franke Honors College within the first four weeks of the fall or spring semester. Students are limited in the number of credits they can complete via contract, according to when they started in the Franke Honors College. Detailed contract policies can be found on our website.
  3. Graduate courses: Juniors and seniors with a GPA of at least 3.0 may be approved for registration in graduate courses, and can receive Honors credit for that work. Students must select the "Honors Credit" option when enrolling in the graduate course. Graduate courses taken as part of an Accelerated Masters Program that are designated to count toward both the undergraduate and graduate program will also count toward the Honors credit requirement.

Thesis/Capstone Policies

  • The thesis/capstone must be a six-unit project that is completed over the course of two or more semesters. Summer can count as one of those semesters, but winter session cannot. Students may not petition for an exception to this policy.
  • The thesis/capstone must be completed in the last two semesters leading up to graduation, unless special arrangements are made. Students may only start the thesis/capstone in the junior year if extenuating circumstances are presented.
  • Students may graduate with Honors in their major or minor only. Honors are designated to the department in which the thesis/capstone was completed. Additional policies apply to students in the General Studies major.* Honors cannot be completed in a thematic minor (ex: pre-health, pre-law, general thematic)
  • Students with multiple majors or minors are allowed to complete more than one thesis/capstone and to graduate with Honors in multiple disciplines. Students cannot graduate with Honors in two programs by writing one thesis/capstone that happens to overlap with two different disciplines; two distinct theses must be written. Units earned for a second thesis/capstone do not count toward the base Honors Credit Requirement for graduation with Honors.
  • Students must submit an Honors Thesis/capstone Prospectus to the W. A. Franke Honors College in the semester prior to starting the thesis/capstone.
  • Each student will select a faculty advisor to supervise the thesis/capstone project. The faculty advisor should be a tenure or tenure-track faculty member, unless an exception is approved by the academic department.
  • The faculty thesis/capstone advisor must be a member of the department in which the student is graduating with Honors. Students may request an exception to work with a faculty member from a different department, which will need to be approved by the W. A. Franke Honors College and the academic department.
  • Students must register for thesis/capstone credit during the two (or more) semesters that they are working on the thesis/capstone. The standard course number for Honors thesis/capstone is XXX 498H, although some exceptions do exist. Students will register for thesis/capstone credit through their academic department.
  • Some majors (including engineering and architecture) require that all students complete a two-semester capstone project. In many cases, Honors students in these majors may also use that capstone project as the senior thesis/capstone. Students should talk to an Honors advisor for more details.

* A student cannot earn Honors in General Studies; Honors must be earned in an area of specialization within the degree. A BGS student’s thesis/capstone plan will be will reviewed by the Franke Honors College at the time that the prospectus is submitted, and will then go to the academic department for final approval. Students completing a General Studies degree must complete a minimum of 18 units (including at least 9 upper-division units) in a specific academic department in order to write a thesis/capstone and earn Honors in that discipline. Thesis/capstone units do not count toward the 18-unit requirement.

Convocation Ceremony

The W. A. Franke Honors College holds a convocation ceremony in the fall and spring semesters. During this ceremony, graduating students are presented with an Honors medallion. Students will be invited to attend graduation after completing their Honors degree check, generally at the beginning of the semester in which they are graduating. The May Honors convocation ceremony is open to spring and summer graduates. The December Honors convocation ceremony is open to fall and winter graduates.

Students will be invited to attend the ceremony if they have completed an Honors degree check and are on track to graduate with Honors. Students who will not be eligible to graduate with Honors, either because of missing Honors credits or a GPA below 3.4, are not able to walk in the Honors convocation ceremony.