University Honors Program

What is the Honors Program?

The Honors Program, also called Honors in General Education, adds value to a Chico State degree and enhances opportunities after graduation by providing an innovative, inclusive, and challenging interdisciplinary arts and sciences education that culminates in an integrative capstone project. The program attracts and supports an inquisitive and diverse group of first-year, transfer, and international students through personalized advising, engaged faculty, and intentional community.

For first-time freshmen, Honors Program fulfills half of the university's General Education (GE) requirements, as well as other graduation requirements, and requires no additional courses for graduation (except for students in some majors – see the Admissions tab). For transfer students, the Honors Program fulfills all upper-division General Education (GE) requirements, and likely requires taking at least one additional General Education Honors course to graduate with Honors in General Education.

Honors Program students receive many benefits, including:

  • Early registration for courses
  • Individual and personalized advising
  • Community with other Honors students
  • Instruction from award-winning faculty
  • Student lounge with snacks, computers, and printing
  • Honors recognition on diploma and transcript

How do I know if I am eligible to apply for the Honors Program?

Any current or admitted Chico State student who is committed to excellence may apply to the Honors Program. There are no GPA or test-score requirements to apply.

What is expected of students in Honors courses?

The Honors faculty ask that students be curious and that students care about the well-being of others.

When should I apply?

Newly admitted students to Chico State may apply after receiving their admission. Ideally, admitted students apply before Summer Orientation so that we can help schedule your GE courses during advising meetings. Continuing Chico State students may apply at any time.

Before applying, applicants in the following high-unit majors must first receive permission from Honors advisor Tricia Sweet:

  • Computer Information Systems
  • Computer Science
  • Liberal Studies (a BA degree for students planning to apply to a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential program)
  • Mathematics (Option in Mathematics Education)
  • Music (Option in Music Education)
  • Nursing and Pre-Nursing

These majors require multiple and specific non-Honors courses for Honors GE Areas, and applicants to the Honors Program from these majors commit to re-taking at least one GE Area (thus adding units to graduation).

You can find the application on this page of the website - Honors in GE Program Admission.

What does the Honors Program application look like?

The Honors Program application involves three questions about your interest in the program:

  1. Why do you want to join the Honors Program?
  2. What comes to mind when you think of “excellence”? What does “excellence” look like for you? For your family? For your community?
  3. Choose 1 of the following:
    1. Describe a time when you overcame adversity or accomplished something you are proud of. 
    2. What is something in the world that you would like to change? What do you need in order to make the change? How will you know when the change is successful?

What GE subject areas are required in the Honors Program?

For Honors in General Education:

  • A1 Oral Communication (HNRS 100)
  • B1 Physical Sciences (HNRS 103)
  • C1 Arts (HNRS 101)
  • C2 Humanities (HNRS 102W)
  • F Ethnic Studies (HNRS 300)
  • Upper-Division B Scientific Inquiry and Quantitative Reasoning (HNRS 350)
  • Upper-Division C Arts and Humanities (HNRS 391W or HNRS 392)
  • Upper-Division D Social Sciences (HNRS 390 or HNRS 393)

For Honors in Upper-Division General Education:

  • Upper-Division B Scientific Inquiry and Quantitative Reasoning (HNRS 350)
  • Upper-Division C Arts and Humanities (HNRS 391W or HNRS 392)
  • Upper-Division D Social Sciences (HNRS 390 or HNRS 393)

What if I have satisfied some GE subject areas prior to applying?

In some cases, students are unable to complete all course requirements. In these cases, students may request the following substitutions from the Honors Advisor or Honors Director.

  • For Honors in General Education
    • a maximum of two Honors lower-division GE Areas (A1, B1, C1, C2, or F) may be substituted with required GE course(s) for the major or with courses completed prior to admission to Honors;
    • a maximum of one Honors upper-division GE Area (B, C, or D) may be substituted with a required GE course or substitution for their major;
    • Honors GE Area(s) may be substituted by a successful AP, IB, or CLEP test score; and
    • Honors GE Area(s) may be substituted by study abroad courses.
  • For Honors in Upper-Division General Education 
    • a maximum of one Honors upper-division GE Area (B, C, or D) may be substituted with a required GE course or substitution for their major; and
    • transfer students must complete at least three Honors (HNRS) courses to graduate with Honors in General Education.

Is the Honors Program open to students in online degree programs?

Unfortunately, at this time we can't offer enough online sections, so the program is not a good fit for students in fully online degree programs.

Is the Honors Program committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion?

Yes! The Honors Program recognizes that historically underserved students have not had equal access to Honors programming in high school and college, and we seek to maximize the recruitment, retention, support, and graduation of diverse students. The Honors Program is committed to supporting an inclusive, accessible, and equitable learning environment that embraces diversity of thought, freedom of expression, and respect for others.

Is the Honors Program the same as Honors in the Major or Honors at Graduation (summa cum laude, etc.)?

No. The Honors Program is Honors in General Education. Honors in the Major is a program of independent work in your major. See the Honors University Catalog(opens in new window) for a definition of Honors in the Major, as well as information about the Dean's List and Honors at Graduation (summa cum laude, magna cum laude, cum laude)

How much input do students have?

Honors students have direct access to the program director and to the program advisor. The program also conducts course evaluations for each Honors class every semester, soliciting the anonymous input of all students in the class. These evaluations encourage students to share their opinions regarding Honors classes and the program in general. Finally, an Honors Student Advisory Council (open to all) provides a formal mechanism for students to provide input to the Honors Director.

Are there social aspects to the program?

Yes. The Honors program, besides accommodating about half the Honors Freshmen in the Honors Housing, sponsors program-wide events every year – all involving free food and socializing: a fall welcome, a finals fuel-up at the end of each semester, as well as Celebration of Excellence for graduates.

How do I register for Honors classes?

You register for Honors courses the same way as other classes: through your Portal(opens in new window) account. You will find Honors courses listed in the Class Schedule. Special advising for Honors students is available at summer orientation and throughout the year.

Do I need to maintain a certain GPA?

Yes. To graduate with Honors in General Education, you need a 3.0 GPA in General Education courses.

Is it possible to earn Honors in GE and study abroad?

Yes! The Honors Program encourages its students to study abroad and offers one of the most flexible ways to study abroad while completing General Education requirements. Go to the study abroad website for more information about their programs, and make sure to stop in to speak with an Honors advisor before you leave.

How do I apply to the program?

You can apply through the Honors in GE Program Admission Page. If you wish to talk with a faculty member about the Honors Program, please contact Dr. Jason Nice, Honors Director or Tricia Sweet Honors Advisor.

What if I want to leave the program?

If you'd like to leave the program - and not graduate with Honors in General Education - just complete these steps: 1) Talk to Dr. Jason Nice, Honors Director, or Tricia Sweet Honors Advisor; and then 2) Send an email with your student ID number and a request to drop Honors in General Education to three addresses:,, and .