Advising the honors student can present a unique set of challenges. Although honors students are held to the same general degree requirements as non-honors students, there are some complicating factors to keep in mind when working with these students:
- Honors students are likely to start their freshmen year with a significant portion of their general education and foundation requirements completed via AP, IB, and dual enrollment. These students often need to work outside of the traditional four-year graduation plan for their major when planning courses.
- Honors students are likely to have multiple majors, degrees, and minors. Conflicting times with required courses for different majors can present registration challenges, and creative scheduling is needed.
- Honors students are likely to have scholarships that requires 30 UA units per year and a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
- Honors students have access to a unique honors general education structure. Although they need the same total number of courses as non-honors students, they are allowed to take more tier II courses to replace some of their tier I courses. This differentiated gen ed structure is reflected on the advisement report, but is often not included on departmental curriculum check sheets.
- All honors students will write a six-unit honors thesis/capstone in their last two semesters. Students will want to know how these units will fit into their degree plan, and whether they will replace any required major requirements.
Students have access to an Honors Academic Advisors who will help them plan their honors requirements, so academic advisors are not expected to be familiar with all the details of the honors curriculum; however, you may find it useful to understand the basic honors requirements and benefits so you can answer general questions that may come up during advising appointments. The Advisor FAQ below addresses advisors' most common questions.
Academic Requirements FAQ
What are the requirements for graduating with honors?
Graduation with honors requires completion of a certain number of honors units (variable depending upon when a student joined the Honors College), completion of a 6-unit thesis/capstone in the senior year, and a graduating cumulative GPA of 3.4 or higher. Students who enter the Honors College as freshmen are also required to complete the Catalyst seminar in the Fall and an Honors seminar in the Spring. Detailed honors graduation requirements can be found here.
Can a student graduate with honors in more than one major?
Students can only graduate with honors in their major or minor. The transcript will indicate that the student has honors in that specific discipline. Students who are interested in graduating with honors in two disciplines must complete two distinct theses. They will also need to complete an additional six honors units in order to graduate with honors.
How do honors contracts work?
Students can earn honors credit in a non-honors course by completing a special project or experience in collaboration with the instructor. Honors contracts are an individualized arrangement between the student and instructor, but must be reviewed and approved by the Honors College. Contract proposals are due within the first four weeks of the semester, and are not available in winter session. Detailed contract policies restrict the types of courses that can be contracted, instructor eligibility to oversee a contract, and maximum units to be completed via contract.
What is the honors general education option?
Honors students are allowed greater flexibility in the three study areas of Traditions and Cultures/Humanities, Individuals and Societies, and Natural Sciences. Although they will complete the same number of general education courses as non-Honors students, Honors students are able to place a greater emphasis on Tier II courses. Rather than needing to complete two Tier I and one Tier II course in each of the three study areas, Honors students have the option of taking just one Tier I course and two Tier II courses.
The Honors gen ed structure is optional. Students may choose to use this option for just one or two of the gen ed study areas, while following the traditional non-Honors structure for the other area(s).
The Honors College offers a wide variety of tier I and tier II general education courses under the HNRS prefix. Students are strongly encouraged to enroll in Honors College general education courses.
Honors Opportunities FAQ
Does the Honors College provide scholarships for study abroad, research, or other special opportunities?
Honors students have access to additional funding through scholarships and grants to support the many experiences they pursue outside the classroom. The Honors Alumni Legacy Grant provides funding for students who need funding to conduct thesis/capstone research, support to travel to conferences, or for other unique professional development opportunities. The Study Abroad grant supports students going on both honors and non-honors trips. The Internship Grant can assist students who need support when traveling or paying living expenses as part of an unpaid internship. Other specialized funding opportunities are available throughout the year, and are advertised in our weekly honors newsletter and on Scholarship Universe.
Do honors students have an academic advisor in the Honors College?
Honors students who are 'No Major Selected' receive all of their academic advising through their Honors College Academic Advisor. For all other students, Honors College Academic Advisors are available to provide assistance for Honors graduation requirements and opportunities. However, students should seek their major/department academic advisor for advisement on degree requirements.
How are students admitted to the Honors College?
Students apply to the Honors College at the same time they are applying for admission to the university. Students who are not admitted in this initial review, or who become interested in joining the Honors College at a later time, are able to do so via the Self Nomination process. Students who have a GPA of 3.4 or higher after completing 12 UA units and who have at least 3 semesters remaining until graduation are eligible to self-nominate.
Are students dropped from honors if they don't have a 3.4 GPA?
Students are required to have a GPA of 3.4 or above by the time of graduation in order to receive the honors distinction. The current policy requires students to maintain a GPA of 2.0 or above in order to remain active in the Honors College.
What is the fee for being an honors student?
Honors students pay $475 per semester to support their membership in the College. This fee appears on the tuition bill. Students with the highest financial need according to the FAFSA may receive an automatic fee waiver. Other students who are experiencing financial need may apply for a fee scholarship at the start of each semester, which could result in a full or partial reduction of the fee.