- Academic Information
- Sophomore Honors Award
- Honors Funding Opportunities
- Honors Summer Fellowships
- Graduation Information
- Honors Housing
- Honors Community
- Thesis Assistance
- Honors Employment Opportunities
The LSA Honors Program at the University of Michigan is a four-year academic program designed to provide motivated, academically talented undergraduates with opportunities to enrich their education beyond what might be typical for an undergraduate career at the University of Michigan. It allows you to combine the vast resources of a large research university with the kind of personal attention and small community you might find at a small liberal arts college.
Honors at Michigan is administered in two parts: the first and second year Honors (which comprises the Honors Core), whose hallmarks are the enrollment in Honors courses and seminars and completion of the Literature and Ideas requirement, and third and fourth year Honors, which are marked by completing either an Honors concentration or Honors in the Liberal Arts.
Lower-division Honors Requirements
Being a member of Honors means being engaged with the Honors community, whose members share a passion for learning. Being in Honors means exploring widely and investigating deeply. The Honors Core curriculum forms the foundation for an Honors education; beyond the Core there are many ways to challenge yourself and engage here. We believe that these activities are intrinsically worth doing, and hope you will, too. We provide a convenient way to keep track of your activities and the ways you are meeting Honors Program requirements and expectations. Everyone’s journey will be unique.
By the end of their sophomore year, Honors Program students are required to have:
Completed an Honors Core class designated to fulfill FYWR (Great Books 191, Honors 240, 241, or 242)
Completed an additional Honors Core class for a total of two Honors Core courses
Taken an average of 14 credit hours, each full (Fall/Winter) semester
Achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.400
Honors Core Curriculum
The Honors Core coursework forms the foundation for an Honors education at U-M. Designed specifically for Honors students by innovative faculty, the Honors Core curriculum provides rigorous, wide-reaching introductory courses across the three academic divisions in LSA: the Natural Sciences (NS), the Social Sciences (SS), and the Humanities (HU). The Honors Core builds on the fine tradition of our historic Great Books course, which remains a Core Humanities course. The Core extends, to other areas, the many strengths of Great Books: foundational content, critical analysis, excellent instruction in writing, and social bonding.
Other Honors courses are offered by nearly every department in the college. We encourage you to use Honors courses for major prerequisites, distribution requirements, or simply to explore a topic in which you have developed an interest.
Several types of Honors courses are offered for lower-division students:
Courses offered by various departments intended only for Honors students (for example, Honors Intro to Philosophy, Phil 297, or Honors mathematics courses).
Sections of regular courses for Honors students (e.g. Honors sections of Intro to Anthropology and Intro to Comparative Politics).
Courses sponsored by the Honors Program (e.g. Honors Core, Honors Seminars and Honors Independent Research).
Additional enrichment experiences related to courses (e.g. Introductory Microeconomics Workshop taken with Intro Microeconomics, or the structured study group taken along with Chemistry, Physics for the Life Sciences and other courses).
Some upper level courses also count as Honors courses for first- and second-year students and many courses may be converted to Honors courses with the agreement of the professor and the Honors Program. Your advisor can give you more details on these options.
We hope that you will go above and beyond the minimum requirements during your first two years and work towards earning the Sophomore Honors Award. This award recognizes outstanding achievement and engagement in the first two years of the Honors Program. Award winners will be invited to our graduation ceremony and recognized individually. This award is suitable to highlight on a resume or CV. Follow your progress towards the awards on umich.GradeCraft.com.
Information for New Honors Majors
Congratulations on your admission to an Honors major!
If you are already a student in the LSA Honors Program, Honors will remain your academic home, the place to go for general advising. You will continue to come to the Honors office for academic advising, any Academic Board requests for exceptions or other actions, and your senior audit and graduation processing. You will, of course, continue to have access to registration for Honors classes and you are welcome at all of the Honors events. You will remain on our email lists, and we hope we’ll see you often for advising and events.
If you have not previously been in Honors, welcome! When you declare an Honors major, you become a member of the LSA Honors Program. This means that you should find an Honors Academic Advisor with whom you can discuss your general college requirements and other concerns (look at advisors, make an appointment, or call 764-6274). If you have an established relationship with an advisor in LSA Advising, you certainly may continue to talk with him/her if that is agreeable to both of you, but you should also get to know an advisor in Honors who can become familiar with your record and your plans. You should discuss the requirements for your major with the Honors Major Advisor in your department. If you need to request any exceptions to college graduation requirements or any kind of special consideration, you will now petition the Honors Academic Board rather than the LSA Academic Standards Board. The Honors Academic Board meets almost every Monday morning, so petitions submitted by noon on Thursday will usually be addressed by mid-day the following Monday.
Your senior audit will be done by the Honors Senior Auditor, Jacquelyn Turkovich (firstname.lastname@example.org). You can send any questions you have about graduation to her email. All students graduating with Honors are invited to the Honors graduation ceremony and are eligible for prizes and awards for their work; watch your email for details or make an appointment to discuss these opportunities.
All Honors students have registration access to Honors classes, so you won’t need overrides to register for most of them. Honors hosts many activities and events—we encourage you to join in. You will also receive our weekly e-newsletter, “This Week in Honors.” Let us know if you don’t start getting it soon.
If you have any questions, you can email email@example.com. We look forward to getting to know you better!
Continuing in Honors After the First Two Years
Honors is a 4-year academic program in LSA—it’s not over at the end of sophomore year! There are three ways to continue Honors beyond the first two years: an Honors major, Honors in the Engaged Liberal Arts, or an Honors Individualized Major. The next three drop-down pages will describe these options.
The most common and traditional way to complete an Honors degree is an Honors major. All departments and interdisciplinary programs in the College of LS&A offer an Honors major. You will follow the requirements of your department to satisfy the thesis work. There are no Honors minors.
Students generally declare an Honors major during their third year, although some departments allow students to join the Honors major earlier or later. You will remain in good standing in the Honors Program as long as you declare an Honors major before the end of your third year.
Honors Major Process
Talk to an Honors major advisor—in any department you’re interested in—to find out what that Honors major entails. Don't know whom to contact? Your Honors Program general advisor can tell you who the Honors major advisor is in every department. Some departments would like you to get involved in research projects before you declare an Honors major; others have courses you should take. In any case, you should find out what comprises the Honors major before you decide whether or not to go for it.
For information regarding specific Honors majors, see either the department's website or the relevant pages in the LSA Bulletin. Also, you may wish to view the topics of some recent Honors theses, to gain a sense of what kind of work Honors upperclassmen produce.
Take courses—this may seem obvious, but taking courses in departments whose subjects intrigue you is the best way to explore a field and test whether or not you want to pursue it. Taking courses is also the best way to meet faculty, whom you can get to know and who might become an advisor or help you to find an advisor for your thesis. Courses will also generate ideas for questions and issues as possible thesis topics.
Apply—some departments have formal application processes with deadlines for Honors majors. Check department websites and talk to Honors major advisors for details and deadlines. Other departments have less formal arrangements: check with the Honors major advisor to make sure you’ve done everything required.
Research and write your thesis—this is the traditional capstone experience to an Honors major and almost all departments require a thesis to graduate with Honors. Written in the senior year, the thesis is your first experience creating new knowledge in your subject, making a definite contribution to scholarship in your field.
You’re not alone writing the thesis, of course (though you’ll have many hours alone working on it!). You’ll have a faculty thesis advisor, and in some departments there is a thesis seminar that serves as a sounding board for ideas (as with History majors), resources for problem-solving, and a support group. You may enroll in credit hours to build thesis-writing into your academic schedule in your senior year. In most cases, the thesis builds upon earlier research experiences you’ve had, either in class or in a lab research group. Thesis topics often emerge from work you do in earlier, apprenticeship research activities, so if you’re in a lab group or a UROP project, talk with your research supervisor about the possibilities of developing your work into a thesis topic.
Honors students have the opportunity to apply for Honors Summer Fellowships, which allow students to live on campus (generally between their junior and senior years) with a stipend for the summer.
Remember, your thesis is not the last hurdle to jump over before you reach the finish line of your degree: rather, it is an opportunity to explore a subject in depth, to become expert in one particular area, and to do genuinely original work. That may sound scary now, but don’t let the idea overwhelm you. If you lay the groundwork well, when you get there, you’ll be ready for it.
Honors in Engaged Liberal Arts (HELA)
Honors in Engaged Liberal Arts (HELA) is an option for students who wish to combine their academics with civic or leadership experience by developing projects that involve a serious engagement with a significant intellectual, social, political, or practical problem. HELA requires that students draw from their coursework, integrating curricular learning with co-curricular and engaged modes of learning in which they exercise their own agency to solve problems, enhance civic assets, or otherwise catalyze meaningful change within a community.
Unlike like the traditional Honors major, which typically (with a few exceptions) requires the writing and submission of a thesis, HELA requires students to design a community-engaged project, and then prior to graduation, to provide a reflective document about their process and the project’s outcomes as a part of their final presentation to a committee of faculty, community stakeholders, and other students.
Honors in Engaged Liberal Arts may be pursued along with any Honors or non-Honors major in a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, or Bachelor of Science in Chemistry degree plan, or with a Bachelor in General Studies (B.G.S.). Honors in Engaged Liberal Arts is not in itself a major, so it must be pursued in combination with one of the aforementioned degree plans. Completion requirements are found here. Students are encouraged to consider HELA projects early, and to apply at least 3 terms prior to the one in which they hope to graduate.
Honors in Engaged Liberal Arts Process
Talk to an Honors advisor about your goals and to learn more about Honors in Engaged Liberal Arts. Remember, HELA is a plan that can work with any other major (or B.G.S.) and does not replace your major, so you can pursue learning in your chosen discipline at the same time you’re diving deep into a community engagement project or exploring leadership opportunities in your community.
Reflect on courses you have taken that have prepared you in some way to address a significant intellectual, social, political, or practical problem. Consider which courses you might take in the future to further develop your abilities to address the problem. Don’t neglect other, non-credit bearing experiences: what co-curricular activities have prepared you to create meaningful change in your community? Talk with an Honors advisor about your past and potential course plans and co-curricular engagements, and begin identifying how these efforts count toward the Advanced Engagement point total required for graduating with Honors in Engaged Liberal Arts.
· No more than 50% of your courses applied to HELA may come from your major department.
· Honors does not restrict, by rule, the percentage or number of courses that may come from a minor or supplemental studies program, nor does it rule restrict which courses contributing to HELA may be taken P/F. Questions about minor, supplemental, and P/F coursework should be discussed with an advisor and addressed in your HELA proposal.
· No AP/IB credit may count toward HELA.
· Point values for non-credit bearing experiences should be discussed with an advisor during the HELA proposal stage.
What are Advanced Engagement Points? Points are assigned to learning and engagement experiences that shape your HELA project.
· Courses that you take prior to and as a part of your HELA project development earn the same number of points as credits (e.g., 3-credit class = 3 points).
· Co-curricular or non-credit bearing experiences also earn points.
· Your actual HELA project will also earn a number of points.
To graduate with Honors in Engaged Liberal Arts, you must earn at least 30 Advanced Engagement Points. Use this Advanced Engagement Point tool to calculate some point possibilities.
Think about potential mentors for your project. You may already be working with faculty, staff, or community mentors who can help you pursue your engagement project goals; if not, an Honors advisor will be eager to help you identify people that can guide you in developing your project.
Apply: after consulting with an Honors advisor, you’ll be ready to develop and submit a proposal that defines your engagement project, establishes its feasibility, explains how it is informed by past coursework and will be further shaped by additional coursework and engagement activities. In the proposal, you’ll make a case for how many Advanced Engagement Points the project is worth. You’ll want to consider the timeline for your project and its supporting coursework as well. Honors expects HELA projects to extend beyond one term, and typically to require 2-3 semesters of serious effort. See the HELA Proposal Guide for tips on drafting and submitting your proposal.
When is the right time to apply? You should apply at least three terms before you plan to graduate, but Honors encourages you to start thinking about the HELA opportunity early in your undergraduate career.
Honors Individualized Major Program (IMP)
Are you interested in a field of study that cannot be covered by a single department or program in LSA? Do you want to combine your interests in a unique way? Then an Honors Individualized Major Plan might be for you. You may start talking about this with Denise Guillot, Honors IMP advisor, as soon as you have an inkling of an idea; you should start making definite plans at the end of your second year or the beginning of your third year.
You will need to develop your ideas into a coherent intellectual statement of what you plan to study and a justification for why your study cannot be conducted in any single LSA department. With the IMP advisor, you will draw up a list of courses, both prerequisites and at least 30 upper-level credits that will constitute your major. At least two faculty will need to provide their support, not just at the beginning of your project, but supervising your work and guiding your study all along the way. One of them will serve as your thesis advisor and the other will serve as a second reader. Your proposal will include a description of the direction you expect your thesis to take. While you may pick and choose among courses as you go, and develop your thesis idea as you learn, you should have a fairly good idea of what you’re doing when you submit your IMP proposal to the Honors Academic Board. You then embark on your course work and thesis research, working closely with the IMP advisor and your faculty mentors.