Honors College (HC)
Contact InformationUniversity of Vermont
50 University Heights
Burlington, VT 05405
Phone: (802) 656-9100
Fax: (802) 656-9009
The Honors College (HC) offers an intensely focused, academically challenging environment for some of the university's most outstanding undergraduate students. The Honors College involves a broad cross-section of the university community, existing not as a cloistered academic enclave but as a vital part of that larger community. The Honors College is above all a community of scholars -- students and faculty -- committed to the ideals of excellence in scholarship, academic rigor, and intellectual inquiry and engagement.
Admission to the Honors College
Admission to the Honors College is based on prior academic performance and is gained through one of two avenues. First year students may be invited to the HC based on the strength of their application to the university; no additional application is required. Around 180 first year students comprise each year's class.
Because the college exists to recognize and encourage academic excellence, it also welcomes applications for admission from sophomores who were not in the HC in their first year, but were among the top performers as first year students at UVM. Sophomore admission requires an application form, a 3.40 grade point average at the end of the first year, a letter of recommendation from a UVM faculty member, and a brief essay. Over 100 sophomores are admitted annually.
Students transferring into their first or second year at UVM should contact the Honors College office to express their interest.
A cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 3.20 is required to remain in good standing in the Honors College. Students whose overall GPA falls below 3.20 will be given one semester to raise it back over this level. Failure to do so will make them subject to dismissal from the HC. The dean has discretion to take personal considerations into account prior to dismissal for low achievement. Students will be subject to dismissal from the HC if they receive grades of C-or below for more than eight credits of course work or if they are not making satisfactory progress toward completion of Honors College requirements. Students with a serious academic integrity offense, determined by standard university procedure, will be dismissed from the HC.
Honors College students have “dual citizenship”: they are members of both the HC and one of the seven undergraduate degree granting schools and colleges. The Honors College supplements and enriches degree offerings with multidisciplinary courses and seminars that broaden intellectual horizons and stimulate discussion, debate, writing, research and reflection. Honors College courses are taught by distinguished faculty drawn from the range of academic disciplines at UVM. Enrollment in seminars is limited to Honors College students. Honors College courses often count towards fulfilling degree requirements. Students who complete all HC curricular requirements, in addition to the degree requirements of the home school and college, graduate as Honors College Scholars.
The First Year Seminars
The first semester seminar provides a common experience (three credits) for all first year students in the Honors College. This course examines knowledge acquisition from the perspective of different disciplines through reading and discussion of classic works and contemporary writings. It is taught in small seminars (about 20 students in each section) intended to promote intellectual dialogue. The seminar is writing intensive, requiring multiple drafts of papers that encourage students to develop their reasoning and sharpen their focus through their writing. It is designed to guide students in thinking rigorously from many contexts. The course is supplemented by plenary lectures by professionals, visiting faculty and university faculty. The entire university community is invited to these lectures. The second semester offers a choice of seminars on the theme of diversity, allowing students to progress toward completing the University Approved Diversity requirements.
Sophomores take two three-credit seminars, one in the fall and one in the spring, selected from an extensive slate of offerings created for HC students by faculty in schools and colleges university-wide. Topics vary from year to year.
Junior and Senior Years
Typically, in the junior year, students take a minimum of three credits of course work in their home school or college that prepares them for their senior year honors project. Senior students complete a six-credit research thesis or senior project approved by their home school or college. Requirements for both years vary slightly across the schools and colleges.
The Honors College is housed in a residential complex at University Heights. This beautiful facility provides housing for HC students, as well as permanent office space for the HC administration and staff. In addition, the complex includes classroom space, lounges, and meeting spaces for the Honors College. Students are strongly encouraged to live in the Honors College residence.
All UVM faculty and students and the general public are invited to participate in frequent Honors College events such as lectures and symposia presented by faculty, students, and distinguished visiting scholars and artists.
Fellowship and Undergraduate Research Support
The Honors College provides special advising for students throughout UVM, not just the Honors College, in two areas. It advises undergraduates interested in pursuing research under the mentorship of a faculty member by maintaining a database of research opportunities and administering funding programs. It also provides mentoring for students applying for nationally competitive fellowships and scholarships (e.g., Fulbright, Truman, Udall, Goldwater, and Rhodes).