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Honors Program

The Honors Program offers a wealth of special opportunities for motivated, academically successful undergraduate students. Opportunities range from specially designed courses in general education (the Honors in General Education Program) and in selected majors (the Honors in the Major Program).

Honors students often take advantage of both Honors in General Education and Honors in the Major. Through these programs, you enrich your academic experience and forge special relationships with other honors students and with faculty. Completion of Honors in General Education and/or Honors in the Major is noted on your transcripts and diplomas. Honors students are highly desirable candidates for graduate school and for employment.

Honors in General Education

For this program, you enroll in special, honors sections of general education classes. These sections are small, innovative, and interactive. They are taught by some of the best professors on campus. The classes offer a stimulating environment for learning, as well as an opportunity to work closely with honors faculty and other honors students. You become part of a vital learning community that comes together in the classroom as well as outside for social and educational events. While in the program, you benefit from priority registration for all your classes, and successful completion of the program is recognized at graduation and prominently noted on your diploma and transcripts.

If you enter the Honors Program in General Education as a freshman, you have two options for your honors work:

Individual Honors Courses- Many of our freshmen enroll in individual honors classes. Every semester, the program offers approximately fifteen different honors classes from a range of departments across the University. Each class fulfills a general education requirement for graduation. We do offer an occasional section of popular, non-GE classes as a service to our students. You choose which courses you want to take in any semester. This structure gives the program the flexibility to fit well with every major on campus. Lower-division courses are available in most of the required GE areas, and more are added all the time. Some of these classes are special honors sections of popular general education courses. Others are special, innovative classes created just for the Honors Program.

Upper-division theme requirements are met by team-taught theme courses. Students work with each other and professors from two disciplines, allowing a richer understanding of a world of rapidly changing social and technological demands and opportunities. In the upper-division Honors theme (Theme H) you have the opportunity to: complete a supervised research project, study abroad, and/or engage in service learning.

If you choose to take individual honors classes, you are required to complete 27 units, or nine honors classes, in your four years of study at the University. Of course, you can take more than the nine; many of our students do because they like the classes and do well in them. To remain in the program, you need to maintain an overall GPA of 3.3 or above. Once admitted, you will receive detailed information from us, and Honors staff is always available to review your options with you. For additional program details visit

Integrated Teacher Education Core (ITEC)- If you plan to become an elementary school teacher, you can participate as an honors student in the Liberal Studies Integrated Teacher Education Core (ITEC). For more information, contact Dr. Michelle Cepello at the School of Education (SOE) at 530-898-6281 or or visit

Admission to the Honors in General Education Program

Admission as a Freshman-If you are an incoming freshman who has exhibited scholastic ability and intellectual promise, we encourage you to apply for entrance into the Honors Program in General Education. To apply, you must have a high school GPA of 3.5, or an SAT score of 1200 (combined math & verbal scores), or an ACT score of 27 or above.

Admission as a Transfer, Re-Entry, or Currently Enrolled Student-If you are transferring to the University and will have sophomore standing or better (30 or more transferable units), you will need a 3.3 or better cumulative GPA in your transferable coursework to apply to the program.

If already enrolled in the University, you may join the Honors Program prior to completing your lower division general education coursework. You must have at least a 3.3 cumulative GPA.

Application-You can complete an on-line application or download a hard copy of the Honors Program application at If you like, you can request an application from the Honors Program office.

Honors Houses-Freshmen who have been accepted into Honors in GE can apply to live in Honors House, which is a part of Konkow Hall, one of the three residence halls in the popular North Campus complex. Honors House is comprised of 5 condo-like apartments offering a stdy-oriented atmosphere as well as social events. One of the houses has been redesigned as a "green house" in accordance with the campus-wide goal of sustainability. Another option is International House which provides students from the United States and abroad the opportunity to live together. Konkow Hall is managed by the University Housing and Food Service office. See more about Konkow Hall at

Honors in the Major

Honors in the Major is a program of independent work in your major. It requires 6 units of honors coursework completed over two semesters.

The Honors in the Major program allows you to work closely with a faculty mentor in your area of interest on an original performance or research project. 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 submission in professional journals, presentation at conferences, or academic competition. Such experience is valuable for graduate school and professional life. Your honors work will be recognized at your graduation, on your permanent transcripts, and on your diploma. It is often accompanied by letters of commendation from your mentor in the department or the department chair.

Some common features of Honors in the Major program are:

1. You must take 6 units of Honors in the Major coursework. All 6 units are honors classes (marked by a suffix of H), and at least 3 of these units are independent study (399H, 499H, 599H) as specified by your department. You must complete each class with a minimum grade of B.

2. You must have completed 9 units of upper-division coursework or 21 overall units in your major before you can be admitted to Honors in the Major. Check the requirements for your major carefully, as there may be specific courses that must be included in these units.

3. Your cumulative GPA should be at least 3.5 or within the top 5% of majors in your department.

4. Your GPA in your major should be at least 3.5 or within the top 5% of majors in your department.

5. Most students apply for or are invited to participate in Honors in the Major during the second semester of their junior year. Then they complete the 6 units of coursework over the two semesters of their senior year.

While Honors in the Major is part of the Honors Program, each department administers its own program. Please contact your major department or major advisor to apply.

While not administered by the Honors Program, the following are also available for students:

Honor Societies

Phi Eta Sigma is a national honor society for freshmen from all majors who have a GPA of 3.5 or better and have completed 12 or more units. Visit for more information.

Golden Key National Honor Society recognizes academic achievement in junior and senior undergraduates in all fields of study who are in the top 15% of their respective class. Visit

Phi Kappa Phi is a national honor society for second-semester juniors (upper 5 percent of their class) and seniors (upper 10 percent of their class) from all majors. For more information visit

Discipline Associated Honor Societies exist in many departments across campus. Check with your major department for details or visit for more information.

Dean's List

Each semester the college deans recognize superior scholarship by including on their Dean's List those students who earn a 3.5 GPA or better on 12 or more graded units the preceding semester.

Honors at Graduation

The University recognizes superior academic performance at graduation and on students' diplomas and transcripts. Each college of the University may award honors to up to 5 percent of its undergraduates each year. Honors designations are distributed as follows:

Summa cum laude may be given to no more than the top 1 percent of the graduating class.

Magna cum laude may be given to no more than the top 3 percent of the graduating class.

Cum laude may be given to no more than the top 5 percent of the graduating class.

Catalog Cycle:11