University of Vermont

The Honors College

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. When did the Honors College begin?
  2. How do I enroll in the Honors College?
  3. What are the first year admissions criteria?
  4. What are the requirements for applying for sophomore admission?
  5. How many students are in the Honors College?
  6. Can I apply for admission to the Honors College after my sophomore year?
  7. What are the Honors College's course requirements?
  8. Are HC requirements to be completed in addition to my regular degree requirements?
  9. If I complete all the Honors College's requirements, do I receive special recognition?
  10. Is the Honors College only about courses?
  11. Why should I be an Honors College student?
  12. Will belonging to the Honors College limit the courses I take or activities I take part in?
  13. What is the grade point average requirement to belong to the Honors College?
  14. Can I study abroad if I'm in the Honors College?
  15. Will being an HC Scholar give me an advantage in pursuing career or graduate school opportunities?

1. When did the Honors College begin?

The Honors College welcomed its first class of students (93 students) in Fall 2004. Since that time, the Honors College has grown to about 850 students across all four years.

2. How do I enroll in the Honors College?

Students join the Honors College in one of two ways: by invitation into the first year class and by application into the sophomore year.

3. What are the admissions criteria?

First-year students are selected based on the strength of their application to the university. Most students invited into the Honors College will have graduated in the top 5-7% of their high school class, will have taken the most rigorous courses available to them, and will have SAT scores of about 2100 and ACT score in the 31+ range.

4. What are the requirements for applying for sophomore admission?

Students applying for sophomore admission must have a minimum of 3.4 grade-point average at the end of their first year and provide a letter of recommendation from a faculty member, a transcript, and a brief essay. The sophomore application process takes place in the spring semester of the first year. See info on the sophomore application process.

5. How many students are in the Honors College?

In Fall 2014, about 850 students are in the Honors College: 197 first year students, about 260 sophomores (170 continuing from the first year and 90 newly admitted sophomores), 191 juniors and 200+ seniors.

6. Can I apply to the Honors College after my sophomore year?

Given the design of the Honors College curriculum, the second and final entry point to the Honors College is the start of the sophomore year. Students interested in independent work and other honors opportunities should contact their dean's office or academic advisor.

7. What are the Honors College's course requirements?

First-year students complete a two-semester sequence of seminars: "The Pursuit of Knowledge" in the fall, and one of a number of seminars under the heading "Ways of Knowing" in the spring (HCOL 085/086). Sophomore students take two three-credit, special-topics seminars, one in the fall (HCOL 185) and one in the spring (HCOL 186). In the junior year, students take one three-credit seminar in their home college and a 1-credit thesis preparation course, HCOL 101. Seniors in the Honors College complete a six-credit honors research thesis or special project in their home college.

8. Are Honors College requirements to be completed in addition to my regular degree requirements?

Honors College courses often do double duty by completing an HC requirement and a general or distributive requirement in the home college/school. For instance, the fall first year seminar, HCOL 085, currently fills the humanities requirement for students in the College of Arts and Sciences, as do a number of the HCOL 086 seminars in the spring. In some cases, HCOL courses are electives. For most students, completing HCOL requirements presents little or no difficulty. For students in highly prescribed majors, engineering, and some health sciences, for instance, careful planning and advising is required, but it is possible for students in even the most structured majors to successfully complete HCOL requirements.

9. If I complete all the Honors College's requirements, do I receive special recognition?

Yes, if you complete all curricular requirements of the Honors College, you'll receive one of the highest distinctions at UVM--that of graduating as an Honors College Scholar. This distinction will be noted on your diploma and your final transcript. The Honors College Scholars Recognition Ceremony is held in Ira Allen Chapel the day before Commencement. HC Scholars receive the Honors College Medallion and are recognized individually at this yearly event.

10. Is the Honors College only about courses?

No. Courses are an important component of the Honors College experience; however, the Honors College is, above all, a community of scholars - students and faculty - committed to the ideals of excellence in and beyond the classroom. Co-curricular activities include special lectures and symposia, visits to museums in Montreal and Boston, and dinners with faculty. Honors College students are encouraged to live in University Heights North, our residence hall located in the heart of the residential community.

11. Why should I be an Honors College student?

Aside from building a strong collegiate community, the Honors College provides a rigorous, multidisciplinary academic challenge that complements and enriches the entire undergraduate experience. What sets the Honors College apart are the academic accomplishments of its students, all of whom have and continue to experience high levels of academic achievement. The Honors College respects the right of each of our students to mark her or his own way while providing opportunities for each to be actively engaged with a group of dedicated students. To achieve this dual role, the Honors College makes available special programs, courses, and student activities, provides academic mentoring, offers participation in Hall Council, where students take the lead in developing programs for the College, advises on undergraduate research opportunities, and gives access to advising on national fellowship and scholarship opportunities. By encouraging each student to realize his or her full potential, the Honors College paves the way for our students continuing success, insuring that they are fully prepared to enter into the world after graduation.

12. Will belonging to the Honors College limit the courses I take or activities I take part in?

The Honors College is an additional commitment, so it is possible that it will limit your other activities. However, keep in mind that Honors College courses take up at most one course per semester. Moreover, the courses quite often count towards your degree requirements, that is, they substitute for courses you would have had to take and are not on top of your other requirements. So the additional commitment in coursework is not what it might first seem. Furthermore, think of the unique opportunities you will have as an Honors College student rather than what you will need to give up. And see how Honors College requirements may be combined with your other activities. For example, if you are pre-med in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences and an EMT and are wondering if writing a thesis conflicts with being an EMT, perhaps consider continuing as an EMT and using that experience as a basis for your thesis research. Generally, each student's case is distinct. So we counsel students to consult with the Honors College dean's office to see how to plan to allow for Honors College requirements to complement your overall plan for coursework and activities.

13. What is the grade point average requirement to belong to the Honors College?

The minimum grade point average for remaining in good standing in the Honors College is 3.20. Students whose overall GPA falls below 3.2 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. Students are also subject to dismissal from the Honors College if they receive grades of C- or below for more than 8 credits of coursework. The Dean will have discretion to take personal considerations into account prior to dismissal for low achievement.

We note that the required GPA for proposing a thesis in the College of Arts and Sciences is 3.4, so Honors College students in CAS need a 3.4 GPA by the spring semester of their junior year in order to continue to their senior year in the HCOL.

14. Can I study abroad if I'm in the Honors College?

Yes, each semester many HC students participate in the various study abroad options at UVM. Advance planning is important, including consulting with the Study Abroad Office, your major/faculty advisor and the HC staff. The junior year course requirement for the Honors College(coursework in the fall OR spring semester of the junior year) is designed specifically to not discourage or impede HC students from being able to study abroad.

15. Will being an HC Scholar give me an advantage in pursuing career or graduate school opportunities?

Yes, it will. First, employers and graduate schools care about academic preparation. Not only does high academic achievement show that you understand the content of the courses you've taken but it also shows that you are able to perform at a distinguished level over four years of endeavor. In other words, by earning the title of Honors College Scholar you demonstrate persistence, consistency, and drive, all of which are valued after graduation. In addition, flourishing careers and successful graduate education are less structured than undergraduate curricula: they call for individuals who are good at knowing themselves and learning in new situations. The active style of learning championed in the Honors College - application and extension of knowledge in engaged settings such as undergraduate research, seminar discussion and thesis writing - prepares students to grapple with complexity, challenge and opportunity, where the way forward hasn't been set by someone else. Finally, by exploring an issue in depth in your thesis, you have work that can serve as the jumping-off point for graduate work or as the underpinning of a successful career.

Last modified July 21 2014 01:22 PM