Requirements to Complete the Honors Program

Progress in the Honors Program

Honors students should be actively pursuing their degrees, taking classes and earning credits. As members of the Honors Program, students must continue to earn Honors credit on a regular basis. Honors students are expected to enroll in the Honors section of a course when available.

Students at graduation

Honors Credits

In order to graduate with an Honors degree, students must complete a minimum of 30 Honors credits. Students must complete a minimum of 6 Honors credits each year to retain the privileges of membership in the Honors Program. However, students can and should complete Honors credits at a faster pace. NOTE - In order to reach the required 30 Honors credits and graduate in four years in the Honors Program, Honor students must complete more than the minimum 6 Honors credits per academic year.

Grade Point Average

In order to remain in the Honors program, Honors students must maintain a cumulative G.P.A of 3.25 or higher. To receive Honors credit for an Honors course, Honors students must earn at least a B- in the course.

Mandatory Advisement

All Honors Students must participate in Honors advisement at least once each academic year. First-year students and seniors (90+ total credits) must meet with an Honors advisor in the fall semester; sophomores (30-59 total credits) and juniors (60-89 total credits) are required to meet with an Honors advisor each spring. Only after an Honors student is advised by an Honors advisor will the student be cleared for priority registration. The Honors advising process is designed to advise students on their academic progress in Honors. Students should be aware of their responsibilities as an advisee.

  • Students should contact and regularly keep in touch with the Honors Program.
  • Students should make appointments early and keep appointments, or call to change or cancel appointments.
  • Students should come to appointments prepared and with specific questions in mind.
  • Students should have met or scheduled an appointment with major advisors.
  • Students should be equipped with writing utensils, tentative class schedule, audit reports, and Honors checklist.
  • Students should ask about other information related to the Honors Program, e.g. national scholarships, events, and service opportunities.
  • Prior to the appointments, students should prepare a preliminary schedule of classes.
  • Students should have a positive attitude and leave the Honors advising session with a smile.


If an Honors student's GPA falls below the required GPA 3.25, the student is placed on a one-semester probationary period. During the probationary semester, the student continues to enjoy all Honors Program privileges, including priority registration. At the end of the probationary semester, with a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher the student returns to regular Honors status. A student with a cumulative GPA lower than 3.25 is dismissed from the Honors Program. The student may apply for readmission to the Honors Program if their cumulative GPA is 3.25 or higher.

Earning Honors Credit

Students complete the required 30-Honors credits either by enrolling in Honors courses, by contracting Honors courses in the major, or by earning up to six Honors points. In other words, the 30 credits can be earned by taking 24 hours of Honors course credits and by completing 6 Honors points. NOTE - Honors points do not meet general University academic requirements for graduation.

Honors Courses

Each semester, Honors courses are offered specifically for Honors Program members. Taught by outstanding University faculty, these courses are distinguished by their distinctive approach to teaching and learning of the subject matter. Honors courses usually emphasize participatory classroom styles, intense and in-depth study of subject matter, the use of primary source material, team or group teaching, an interdisciplinary theme, and an element of independent study. Honors courses include intensive reading, writing, and research.

Honors courses may be Honors sections of core curriculum courses, or courses that are used to meet elective, capstone, and diversity requirements. Some courses are designated HON in the Course Schedule (e.g. HON 490, section 1001, Honors Thesis I). Other courses are indicated in the Course Schedule by department with an Honors designation listed in the description of the section in MyNEVADA. A complete listing of Honors courses and descriptions is available on the Honors Program website under Current Students: Curriculum. Enrollment in Honors courses is restricted to members of the Honors Program.

Honors in the Major

The Honors Program welcomes proposals from Honors students who elect to earn Honors credit in a non-Honors course in their major. Course contracts are possible only for 300- and 400-level courses worth 3 or more credits in the student's declared major. Labs, independent studies, practicums, and internships are not eligible for Honors credit. Traditional lecture-based or seminar classes are acceptable. Honors in the Major gives students an opportunity to broaden and deepen their experience in their major fields. Honors in the Major implies a qualitative enhancement of the course, not necessarily a quantitative enhancement. Students who undertake Honors in the Major must demonstrate additional knowledge and skills beyond the content and requirements of the regular class.

An Honors student contracts a course by contacting a faculty member in the student's major and asking the faculty member to allow the student to take a scheduled non-Honors course for Honors credit. With the assistance of the instructor, the student completes the Honors in the Major form available online. The type of academic activity described in the Honors contract must go beyond the normal course content and requirements. Work may include additional readings or assignments, written projects not expected of other students in the course, guided independent study or individual research, class presentations, additional student-faculty discussions, co-teaching, or any acceptable project that examines the course material in more depth than the regular class. The Honors contract requires the submission of the course syllabus, a detailed description of the project and a timetable for the completion of the academic project. The contact must be reviewed and approved by the Assistant Director of the Honors Program; students will be notified if the contract has not been approved.

The deadline for filing the contract with the Honors Program Office is October 1 for the fall semester, and March 1 for the spring semester. The student must complete the Honors component of the course and earn an overall course grade of B- or better in order to receive Honors credit for the course.

Honors Points

Each semester, in addition to Honors courses, the Honors Program offers many opportunities for Honors students to earn Honors credits. Termed "Honors Point" activities, these non-traditional units are earned for significant, recognized activities that provide enrichment for general non-classroom education. There are two options for earning Honors Points. The first option is service learning, a combination of service with learning beyond the classroom. Honors students use their abilities and talents to demonstrate a commitment to an ethic of civic responsibility by engaging in an activity that benefits both the student and the community. The second option is through significant scholarly activities and academic programming. Honors students engage in research or organize Honors programming, then share what they have learned with others. Examples of activities for either option can be found on the .

NOTE: One Honors Point is awarded for each 30-40 hours of service. The minimum time commitment for an activity is 3 weeks. Honors points are not awarded retroactively. No Points are awarded if the student is paid or for activities (or otherwise compensated) required for a course or membership in an organization or club. A maximum of six Honors Points can be earned by each Honors student.

To earn Honors Points, an Honors student must fill out the Honors Points form at the beginning of the service activity. Once the Honors Points activity is completed, a supervisor will be contacted for verification and the student must write a 2-3 page, typed, self-reflection essay reacting to the learning experience. Essays are graded pass/fail. If an essay receives a "fail," the student will be given the opportunity to rewrite the paper for a "pass."

A passing essay is one that is fully developed, exhibits significant thought into the analysis, and contains no grammatical or typing errors. The paper should demonstrate 1) familiarity with the content of the material/event, 2) a critical analysis of the experience, 3) the application of a personal perspective, and 4) relevant insights. A failing essay is one that lacks analysis and depth. Additional criteria is listed on the form.

International Study

The Honors Program considers international study an enriching academic and personal experience. A variety of opportunities are available for Honors students interested in studying internationally. The University of Nevada, Reno belongs to the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC), a university cooperative that comprises over 45 programs in over 30 countries. International study opportunities are available in a variety of subjects with many courses taught by faculty from universities in the United States. In order to receive Honors credit for international study, students must complete the Honors 410 Pre-Departure form and meet with the Assistant Director of Honors prior to departure, as Honors credits must be arranged prior to travel.

Graduating with Honors

To complete the Honors Program, an Honors student must earn a University of Nevada, Reno degree, satisfy all major and Honors Program requirements, and remain in good standing throughout the student's college career.

An Honors student must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25 and achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.25 at the time of graduation; complete a minimum of two Honors courses each year; demonstrate significant contributions to Honors academic and social activities; meet with an Honors advisor at least once a year; complete thirty credits of Honors coursework; and complete an Honors Thesis/Project and an oral defense.

Completion of a Senior Honors Thesis/Project

All Honors students must complete a senior thesis or senior project during their senior year. The senior Honors thesis or project is the development of an independent, original scholarly or creative topic of interest to the student in the major. It is completed in the student's major field and represents the culminating experience of an undergraduate education. The thesis/project is not expected to be graduate-level work, but superior undergraduate performance is expected; the thesis/project demonstrates greater depth and a more thorough understanding of a specific, focused topic in the major field. The thesis/project is directed by a faculty member who agrees to work with the Honors student for two semesters or a minimum of six semester hours of credit. Once the thesis/project is completed and the manuscript is written, the student orally defends his/her thesis.

Application to Graduate in the Honors Program

If an Honors student has completed the requirements of the Honors Program and plans to graduate in the Honors Program within the next year, the student should complete the Application to Graduate in the Honors Program form online. If the student plans to graduate in December, he/she submits this form by September 15; if the student plans to graduate in May, he/she should submit this form by February 15.

Termination and Readmission

An Honors student is dismissed from the Honors Program when

  • the student fails to fully participate in the Honors Program or fails to complete at least six Honors credit hours per academic year
  • the student falls below a cumulative GPA of less than 3.25 for two consecutive semesters
  • the student completes a Request to Withdraw From the Honors Program form and meets with the Honors Program Director to withdraw from the Honors Program

Any student terminated from the Honors Program may apply for readmission by submitting a formal request for reinstatement. The typed letter, submitted to the Director of the Honors Program, must explain the circumstances of termination and reasons for reinstatement. After considering the circumstances and the student's academic history, the Director will determine whether the student should be reinstated to the Honors Program.

Leave of Absence

If an Honors student plans not to register for classes at the University of Nevada, Reno in a given semester, it is important that the student file a Leave of Absence form with the Honors Program. Prior to studying internationally, a student must also complete this form.