Honors Program requirements

Honors students should be actively pursuing their degrees and engaging in honors experiences (honors courses, non-honors courses taken via honors contract, co/extra-curricular experiences via the honors points process). As members of the Honors Program, students will have the opportunity to accumulate honors experiences on a regular basis. Honors students are encouraged to enroll in the honors section of a course if available.

  • 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.

  • Probation

    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 experiences

Students complete required honors experiences either by enrolling in honors courses, by contracting honors courses, or by earning up to six honors points.

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

  • Honors contracts

    The Honors Program welcomes proposals from honors students who elect to earn Honors credit in a non-honors course. Honors contracts provide students an opportunity to broaden and deepen their experience. It implies a qualitative enhancement of the course, not necessarily a quantitative enhancement. Students who undertake this option must demonstrate additional knowledge and skills beyond the content and requirements of the regular class.

    How to take a non-honors course for honors credit

    1. An honors student contracts a course by contacting a faculty member and asking the faculty member to allow the student to take a scheduled non-honors course for honors credit.
    2. With the assistance of the instructor, the student completes the Honors contract form available online.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.

    What work is required?

    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 or engages the student in an academic leadership capacity.

    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.

    Deadline for filing an honors contract

    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.

    Students may pick up guidelines and the contract form in the Honors Program office.

  • 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.

    Options for earning Honors Points

    Service learning and Co/Extra-Curricular Involvement. 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. Honors students may also engage in significant co/extra-curricular activities and projects that deepen their understanding of self, advance a cause or organization, and/or serve a constituency or societal need

    How are Honors Points awarded?

    • One honors point is awarded for each 30-40 hours of service
    • The minimum time commitment for an activity is three (3) weeks
    • Honors points are not awarded retroactively
    • A maximum of six honors points can be earned by each honors student

    How to claim Honors points?

    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 two-to-three 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 the following:

    • Familiarity with the content of the material/event
    • A critical analysis of the experience
    • The application of a personal perspective
    • Relevant insights

    A failing essay is one that lacks analysis and depth. Additional criteria is listed on the Honors Points form.

    Students may pick up an Honors Points form in the Honors Program office.

  • 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.

  • Maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25
  • Achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.25 at the time of graduation
  • Meet with an Honors advisor at least once a year
  • Complete thirty credits of Honors coursework
  • Complete an Honors thesis or project
  • Completion of a Senior Honors thesis or project

    All honors students must complete a senior thesis or project/capstone during their senior year. The senior Honors thesis or project/capstone is an independent, original scholarly or creative endeavor that explores a topic of interest to the student. It represents the culminating experience of an undergraduate education.

    The thesis/project/capstone is not expected to be graduate-level work, but superior undergraduate performance is expected; the thesis/project/capstone demonstrates greater depth and a more thorough understanding of a specific, focused topic. The thesis/project/capstone 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/capstone is completed a poster presentation, oral defense, or other public presentation is given. Honors Program students in majors that require a capstone project for the degree are required to speak to Honors Program staff to discuss the ways in which this may accommodate the thesis/project/capstone requirement.

  • 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.

    Learn more about graduation

Leave of absence, termination and readmission

  • 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.

  • Termination from the Honors Program

    An honors student is dismissed from the Honors Program when any of the following occur:

    • 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
    • The student does not complete honors experiences, as outlined in regular portfolio/tracking mechanisms, in accordance with the student’s honors track guidelines
  • Readmission to 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.