Honors in the Major

Many majors on campus offer the opportunity to complete a special sequence of courses that grant the distinction of Honors in the Major. This recognition appears on your permanent transcript and on your diploma, and it is often accompanied by letters of commendation from your thesis adviser, department chair, and the dean of your college. It is also recognized at graduation. Most importantly, Honors in the Major program allows you to work closely with faculty in your area of interest on an original research project, performance, or other approved original work. This year-long collaboration allows you to work in your field at a professional level and culminates in a public presentation of your work. Students sometimes take their projects beyond the University for presentation at conferences or submission to competitions. Such experience is valuable for graduate school and later professional life.

While Honors in the Major is part of the University Honors Program, each department administers its own program, so you need to see the undergraduate advisor for particulars of Honors in the Major. Common features of all Honors in the Major programs are as follows:

  1. You must complete nine units of upper-division course work or 21 overall units in your major before you can be admitted to Honors in the Major. Some departments specify which courses must be included in these units, so check requirements carefully.
  2. Your GPA must be in the top five percent for your major, and you must be recommended by a faculty member.
  3. To complete Honors in the Major, you must take six units of independent study (299H) as specified by your department. These units are usually spread over two semesters. You must complete them with a minimum grade of B and maintain a minimum GPA (usually a B) overall.
  4. The independent study culminates with a public presentation of the results of your honors project.
  5. While you may begin taking major courses during your freshman year, most students do not apply for Honors in the Major until their junior year.

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