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Honors Program

Honors Program Curriculum

The Honors Program offers a four-year, interdisciplinary curriculum that is integrated with a student's major area of study as well as the University's core curriculum requirements. Students must complete a minimum of 25 Honors units for graduation with the Honors diploma. This is an average of one Honors course each semester. Students must also take at least two upper-division interdisciplinary team-taught courses.

All Honors courses must be taken for a letter grade. However, with the approval of the Honors Program director and the Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, a student may take one Honors class pass/fail for purely elective credit, excluding the senior colloquium.

The curriculum begins with the Honors Preceptorial (which introduces new students to the University and the Honors Program), and ends with a senior capstone experience: an optional independent study, a thesis, and participation in the Honors Senior Thesis Seminar.

As students move through Honors courses during their first three years, they are strongly encouraged to consult closely with their preceptor, major/minor advisors, and the Honors Program director for assistance. Regular advising meetings ensure that students can fulfill the requirements of the Program and their major in time for graduation.

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Planning an Honors Schedule

Freshman Year

Fall Semester Honors Preceptorial (4 units)
Spring Semester Honors lower division elective (3 units)

Sophomore Year

Fall Semester Team-taught, interdisciplinary course (4 units)
or Single-taught, single discipline course (3 units)
Spring Semester Same as fall semester. All students should take one team-taught course in the sophomore year.

Junior Year

Fall Semester Team-taught, interdisciplinary course (4 units)
or Single instructor, single discipline course (3 units)
Spring Semester Same as fall semester. All students should take one team-taught course in the junior year.

Senior year

Fall Semester Independent Study (199H) in major field (1-3 units)
Spring Semester Honors Senior Thesis Seminar(3 units)

NOTE: Students studying abroad for one semester will have 4 Honors units waived and will only need to earn 21 Honors units.. These study abroad units do not count toward the 124 units required to graduate.

How are Honors courses different from regular courses?

Honors courses are special because they are smaller, allowing professors to give more time to individual students. All Honors courses are capped at 20 students. Lower-division courses focus on one discipline and are taught by a single instructor. Upper-division courses may be taught by one instructor or, in the majority of cases, they may be team-taught, interdisciplinary classes offered only to Honors students. Students receive 4 units for team-taught classes, which must be distributed between two subject areas.

In general, Honors classes involve thoughtful, sophisticated classroom participation and work. Honors professors expect excellence from their students, both in class and in their assignments.