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Office of the Provost, Division of Academic Affairs, University of Maryland

Leadership Areas

Departmental and College Honors Programs

General Policies for Departmental and College Honors Programs

The following guidelines were developed by the Honors Implementation Committee during 1989-90 after consultation with departments and colleges across campus. They represent the committee's view of the minimum requirements. Individual programs may, of course, impose additional requirements or tailor their Honors programs to reflect the distinctive characteristics of their disciplines. The full text of the guidelines, including discussion of the various options, is available from the Honors College office.

Organization and Administration

Every department or program that grants an undergraduate degree with honors should appoint an Honors Director or Coordinator, and possibly a standing faculty committee on Honors to advise students; supervise and coordinate faculty/student research; review policy; and act as a liaison to the Honors College.


Two options have been approved. Departments need not offer both, but the thesis option should always be made available to interested students.

Thesis Option: 12 credit minimumĀ 

1. At least two upper-division (numbered 300 or above) Honors courses, seminars or workshops in the major department or college or (with the permission of the department) in any department on campus. Graduate courses (numbered 600 or above) in the major may be substituted for all or part of this requirement.

2. At least 6 credits of research and thesis writing under the direction of a regular College Park faculty member, followed by an oral defense of the thesis before two or more faculty members.

Non-thesis Option: 12 credit minimumĀ 

1. At least four upper-division Honors courses or seminars taken in the department or college or, with permission, any department on campus. Graduate courses may be substituted for all or part of this requirement.

2. A three-hour written comprehensive examination in the major field, evaluated by at least two faculty members in the department or college.

Admission and Graduation "With Honors"

Departments have the responsibility for identifying, recruiting, and admitting students to Departmental or College Honors programs. Admission should normally occur at the end of the sophomore year, although Honors versions of courses should be available to all interested students. The minimum GPA is 3.0; individual programs may choose to set a higher standard. To graduate with Departmental or College Honors, students must earn an overall GPA of at least 3.0; departments may specify higher grade point standards, or develop criteria to permit the additional designation of "High Honors."

Program Review

New departmental and college Honors programs should be developed by a faculty Honors committee, and submitted for review and comment to the Director of the Honors College and the Senate PCC. Once approved by the appropriate department, college and campus authorities, the guidelines should be published for the information of students and faculty, and provided to the Honors College for use in student advising. The Honors College should also be notified in any changes or modifications to keep its advising up-to-date.

Privileges For Departmental and College Honors Students

All students enrolled in a department or college Honors program are by definition members of the Honors College, and may register for Honors (HONR) seminars and H-Version courses, whether or not they were admitted to the Honors College at the time of matriculation. They are eligible to participate in all Honors College-wide sponsored activities and organizations. Departments, therefore, are responsible for sending a current list of all students enrolled in their Honors program, preferably shortly after the beginning of each semester.

To encourage students to complete their Honors requirements, departments should consider extending privileges or incentives, such as priority registration in departmental courses, library privileges equivalent to those afforded to graduate students, access to graduate-level courses, awards for best thesis or best project, special Honors faculty/student activities, and the like.

Use CIM to Create a New Departmental or College Honors Program