University Honors Program

Graduation from the Honors Program

University Honors Program (UHP) students may graduate with either an Honors Degree or Honors Distinction. UHP Members who complete 32 credits of honors coursework earn Idaho's only Honors Degree, and therefore a unique diploma. The Honors Degree is noted on the transcript and at commencement. The Honors Degree requires 2 honors seminars (1 credit each), at least 6 credits of upper division honors contract courses (3 of which may be thesis credits), and an honors project or thesis. UHP Members who complete 19 credits of honors coursework, including a 1 credit honors seminar, graduate with honors distinction. This is noted on the transcript and at commencement.


The University Honors Program curriculum has been developed to enrich the college experience of high achieving students. Honors courses have been developed to fulfill General Education Requirements yet there is no set or required curriculum for the University Honors Program. Each student is encouraged to take those honors courses that best meet the individual student's needs.

Year 1 and 2:

University Honors Program Students are expected to complete 12 honors credits during their first year in the program.

Additional courses commonly taken in Years 1 and 2:

Years 3 and 4

Honors Seminar (HONS 3391)

Honors Degree students are required to complete two upper division seminar courses (HONS 3391 - 1 credit which is repeatable) during the junior and senior year. Honors Distinction students are required to complete 1 seminar (HONS 3391 credit). In general, at least two Honors seminars will be offered each semester.

Honors Contract Courses

In addition to the interdisciplinary honors seminars (HONS 3391), each Honors student seeking an Honors Degree must complete a minimum of 6 credits of Honors Contract Courses in the student’s major. Honors Contract Courses are upper division departmental courses offered under an “Honors Contract” between the student and instructor. An Honors Contract Course requires that the student and instructor agree, on a case-by-case basis, to a set of requirements for the course. All Honors Contracts must be approved by the Honors Program Director. In general, 3300- and 4400-level courses are available for Honors contract credit, as designated by each department.

Honors Thesis or Project (HONS 3393 and HONS 4493)

Each Honors Degree student is required to complete an honors project or thesis at the senior level in the major department. This capstone project could be a research-based senior thesis or another discipline-appropriate project. The completed project is presented in a public forum and defended before a committee comprised of the major department Thesis Advisor, another faculty member in the department, and the Director or Executive Director of the University Honors Program. Appropriate public venues for the presentation include but are not limited to: a departmental seminar, the ISU Undergraduate Research Symposium, an honors regional or national conference, or a discipline specific conference.

Student Progress

Students admitted to the Honors Program must show evidence of continuous progress toward their degrees. UHP students are expected to complete 12 honors credits during their first year, and six honors credits during their second year.

Minimum Credit Requirements for Honors Degree and Honors Distinction

*Up to 3 credits of Honors thesis or departmental independent studies credit can count towards the 6 Upper Division Contract Course credits.

Last Modified: 09/07/2017


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