Campus by University Heights

The following are some commonly asked questions that prospective students and families may have about the Honors College. To keep up with all the activities and initiatives in the Honors College we encourage you to contact us, watch for upcoming events, follow us on Instagram, or like us on Facebook.

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.

What are the admissions criteria?

Each year the University of Vermont invites approximately 260 students to join the Honors College. Invitation to the Honors College is based on high school academic performance; no additional application is required. Based on recent history, it is likely that invitees will have a GPA of 3.85 (out of a 4.0 scale) or above, and will have taken the most challenging courses available at their high schools.  That said, the Honors College looks holistically at applicants, and the grade point average is a suggested range only. All in all, many factors come into play as we look to build a balanced and diverse class.

Are there scholarships associated with Honors College invitation?

You can learn more about scholarships at UVM here

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 make 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, student activities, and provides academic mentoring. Students can also take the lead in developing programs for the College, receive mentoring on undergraduate research opportunities, and access 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, ensuring that they are fully prepared to enter into the world after graduation.

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

Students entering the Patrick Leahy Honors College in the fall of 2023 have a minimum grade point average (GPA) requirement of 3.40, to remain in good academic standing. Students whose GPA falls below 3.40 will participate in our Enhanced Advising program for the following semester, with the expectation of increasing the GPA to 3.40; failure to do so means eligibility for dismissal from the from the Patrick Leahy Honors College. Students are also subject to dismissal from the Patrick Leahy Honors College if they earn grades of C- or below for 9cr (or more) of coursework. The review of academic standing includes an appeal process; the Dean will have discretion to take personal considerations into account prior to dismissal from the Patrick Leahy Honors College.

Student entering fall 2016 through fall 2022, the minimum GPA for remaining in good academic standing is 3.20 for first and second year students. Beyond the sophomore year, a cumulative GPA of 3.40 is required at the time of thesis proposal in their home college. If a student does not have a cumulative GPA of 3.40 at the time they submit their thesis proposal (typically at the end of junior year), they will be subject to dismissal from the Patrick Leahy Honors College. The student must maintain a GPA of 3.40 or higher in their senior year to graduate as an Honors College Scholar; students who fall below a 3.40 will be subject to dismissal and not graduate as a Patrick Leahy Honors College Scholar. 

What are the Honors College's course requirements?

First-year Honors College students take a series of two-courses, one in the fall (HCOL 1000) and one in the spring (HCOL 1500). Seminars during the fall semester engage with a wide variety of contemporary social and ecological problems and all share a common focus on writing and information literacy. The spring semester similarly offers a choice of seminars that build on the skills and knowledge from the previous semester but now introduce students to collaborative group work and public speaking. Many of the spring semester courses additionally address the themes of diversity and sustainability.  

Students take one three-credit seminar at the HCOL 2000 level for each semester of their sophomore year. While ranging from topics in the humanities to the STEM disciplines, these courses are primarily focused on giving students more experience with research. Course themes vary from year to year.

In the junior year, students take either course work either though their home school or college, or through the Honors College that prepares them for their senior-year thesis project, the capstone of the Honors College curriculum.  Seniors complete a six-credit research thesis or senior project approved by their home school or college. These senior-year requirements may also vary across the schools and colleges. Students who complete all Honors College academic requirements, in addition to the degree requirements of their home school or college, graduate as Honors College Scholars.

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

Honors College courses often do double duty by completing an Honors requirement and a general or distributive requirement in the home college/school. For instance, the fall first year seminar, HCOL 1000, currently fills the university's Foundational Writing and Information Literacy Requirement, as well as the humanities requirement for students in the College of Arts and Sciences. A number of the HCOL 1500 seminars fill Diversity 1 and Diversity 2 requirements, and a number of sophomore seminars fulfill diversity requirements or sustainability requirements. In some colleges or majors, Honors College courses can fulfill major or minor requirements, or they can also be 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.

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.

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. Other opportunities for Honors College students include special lectures and symposia, specialized mentoring and advising, and dinners with faculty. Honors College students are encouraged to live in University Heights, our residence halls located in the heart of the residential community on UVM's Athletic Campus.

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.

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

Yes, each semester many Honors College 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 Honors College academic advisors. 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 Honors College students from being able to study abroad.

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. Honors College Scholars receive the Honors College Medallion and are recognized individually at this yearly event.

Will being an Honors College 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.

Do you have any tips for success for first-years?

  • Take advantage of the opportunities to meet with your Honors College Peer Mentor! Peer Mentors are upper class Honors students who want to help ease the transition from high school to college A Peer Mentor is a good resource, a willing ear, and new friend who can help you in a variety of ways. You will be contacted by your peer mentor in early August .
  • Connect with your advisor early and often. If you don't know who your advisor is, contact the staff in the Honors College offices, who can help you.
  • If you're an undeclared major or if you want to explore changing your major you can work with the Honors College staff as well as with UVM's Career Center.
  • Get involved with a club or activity during the first month of the semester.
  • Attend a Hall Council meeting, where you can help plan programs and activities for residents in University Heights.
  • Seek out activities that will enhance your academic program: volunteering, undergraduate research, or internships.
  • Get to know your resident advisor (RA).
  • Attend an Honors College social - good food and good conversation.
  • Stay physically active - find a hallmate who goes to the gym and join them for a run or workout.

    If you are feeling homesick, alone, or overwhelmed, tell someone - your roommate, RA or Peer Mentor, an Honors College staffer, or a professor! You are not the only one experiencing these feelings and there are multiple resources available to help you work through them.

How many students are in the Honors College?

In Fall 2020, there are about 950 students are in the Honors College.

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 900 students across all four years.

Apply to UVM

Grace Weaver '11

Meet Grace Weaver '11, and learn more about what she and other Honors College students are doing after graduation.

Nick Strayer '15

Meet Nick Strayer '15, and learn more about what he and other Honors College students are doing after graduation.

Stella Varnum '21In 2019 Honors College biochemistry major Stella Varnum '21 received an Honors College Career Development Award to spend eight weeks interning for the Krementsov Research Group, where she investigateed the genetic and genomic basis of immune system activation, for the purpose of understanding the onset of Multiple Sclerosis. Learn more about research fellowships, internship scholarships, and prestigious academic awards in the Honors College.