Honors in the Major Requirements

Students who wish to enroll in Honors in the Major (HM) should see their major advisor and he or she will be able to explain the HM admissions process and requirements. After receiving the advisor’s permission to enroll in Honors in the Major, students may complete an Honors in the Major Declaration Form. The completed form must be signed by the major department’s undergraduate advisor and returned to the Honors Program Office (at Washburn Observatory), either in person or by campus mail from the department. Students may also email the completed form to honors@honors.ls.wisc.edu. Incoming first-year students are encouraged to take their time exploring major options before declaring Honors in the Major.

The Honors in the Major Degree

Honors in the Major is the second type of Honors degree offered by the College of Letters & Science. Honors in the Major requirements can be completed independently from Honors in the Liberal Arts, meaning one is not a prerequisite for the other. The curriculum for Honors in the Major is established by each academic department and program in the College and students must apply to their major department for permission to enter this phase of the Honors Program.

Requirements vary a great deal from department to department, but all are designed to culminate in a senior-year experience in which students are exposed to the cutting edge of that particular field. Many Honors in the Major students will write an original research thesis, but in some departments students may produce an original work of art, put on a performance, or complete a “practicum” in which they work and learn as professionals in their chosen field. Students completing the requirements for Honors in the Major engage in valuable preparation for graduate and professional training and learn worthwhile skills that will benefit them in the workplace.

Outlined below are the typical Honors in the Major requirements. Contact your department to learn its specific HM curriculum.

General Requirements for the Honors in the Major Degree

  • Complete an Honors in the Major declaration form and submit it to the Honors Program Office.
  • Complete the L&S general degree requirements for L&S degree candidates. Non-L&S degree candidates may pursue HM if one of their majors falls in the College of Letters & Science, but they will not receive an L&S degree.
  • Maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.3 and the specified minimum major GPA.
  • Students may be required to complete a 2-semester capstone project, as stipulated by the department (usually a Senior Honors Thesis).

Students in the College of Letters & Science who successfully complete the HM curriculum will have the designation “with Honors in the Major” on their transcript and diploma.