Honors Overview

Welcome message from 2016 SOAR

Joining the College of Letters & Science (L&S) Honors Program is a terrific way to maximize your undergraduate education. 

On this page you will find information about:

  • the three Honors degree tracks available in L&S
  • additional opportunities for L&S Honors Program students
  • Honors student perspectives
  • additional resources related to Honors at UW

The Honors Program provides three tracks (or paths) to an Honors degree

Honors in the Liberal Arts

Mirroring the broad, multidisciplinary learning approach of all L&S bachelor degrees, this track requires at least 24 credits of Honors classes (about one class per semester) with at least 6 credits each in of the L&S breadth areas:

  • humanities/literature
  • social sciences
  • biological/physical/natural sciences

Why? You may enjoy learning about new subjects and wish to fully embrace the benefits of a liberal arts education.

How to apply: Please review the guidelines on either the Incoming Student or Continuing/Transfer Student admissions pages.

Honors in the Major

Most L&S majors offer an Honors track specifically designed for that field. Components of this option vary by major, but typically include:

  • keeping a certain minimum grade-point average
  • taking specific higher level classes in the major
  • a final capstone project, often writing a senior thesis.

Why? You may want deeper training in major-specific content as well as opportunities to develop research, writing, and critical thinking skills.

How to apply: Students may pursue Honors in the Major once they have started their academic career at UW-Madison and have officially declared a major.

Comprehensive Honors

L&S’s highest credential for bachelor’s degrees, combining successful completion of both Honors in the Liberal Arts and Honors in the Major.

Why? You may want to take advantage of all of the engaging courses and experiences the Honors Program makes available.

How to apply: You may begin your path toward Comprehensive Honors by completing the application for Honors in the Liberal Arts. Then, once on campus, consider pursuing Honors in the Major, too!

More Information About Honors Degree Tracks

  • Incoming students will learn about L&S degree requirements during Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR).
  • For full details of requirements and policies for Honors degree tracks, you can visit our Honors degree tracks page and use the Guide.
  • We encourage current UW students to schedule an appointment with an Honors advisor.

If you are interested in Honors but unsure which path is the best fit for you, consider applying to join the Honors Program through Honors in the Liberal Arts. This helps you get connected with the Honors Program as soon as possible, and you can consider incorporating Honors experiences in different subjects. Honors advisors can support you in the process of defining your educational path and selecting courses that reflect your interests and goals.

Additional Program Opportunities

The L&S Honors Program offers students access to:

  • small, discussion-driven courses and discussion sections led by faculty members and reserved for Honors Program students
  • grants to financially support research experiences, study abroad, and community leadership projects
  • a dedicated academic advising team that supports students throughout their undergraduate education
  • informal dinners, workshops, and presentations for Honors students with faculty and staff from a variety of disciplines
  • social and service events with other Honors Program students

Want to see examples of how students engage in the Honors Program? Check out recent issues of our annual newsletter.

2022 Newsletter

2021 Newsletter