Information for Transfer Students

Welcome to the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Letters and Science Honors Program! Below you will information for UW-Madison transfer students who are interested in the Honors Program.

L&S Honors Degree Tracks

The College of Letters and Science Honors Program has three separate degree tracks, giving UW-Madison honors students a variety of ways to engage with their education more deeply, challenge themselves to interact with our world-renown faculty, and participate in original research. Our three degree options allow our students to meet a wide variety of personal needs and goals; as a transfer student, one of these programs might fit with your own educational goals better than the others.

How do honors degrees work for transfer students?

The Honors Program accepts applications for the Honors in the Liberal Arts (HLA) degree track on an ongoing basis. Individual departments facilitate the application process for Honors in the Major, and the procedures vary accordingly. As a transfer student, you must earn all of your honors credits here on the UW-Madison campus; advisors in the honors program and your department will work with you to evaluate which credits and degree requirements you have yet to fulfill before they recommend an honors track. The questions below can help you get a sense of what an advisor will ask you — and what you may want to consider — as you think about an honors degree.

Is an honors degree right for me, and if so, which one? 

Exploring Honors in the Liberal Arts …

  • Do you have a love for learning and enjoy exploring disciplines and areas outside your own concentration or major?
  • Do you want to be challenged to participate in small courses or discussion sections led by faculty members, not teaching assistants?
  • Are you interested in delving deeply into courses and departments you have never heard of before?
  • Do you still have roughly half of your breadth requirements to fulfill after you consider AP, IB and transfer credits from other non-UW-Madison institutions?
  • Will you have fewer than 54 credits when you matriculate at UW-Madison? 

If you answered yes to most of these questions, Honors in the Liberal Arts (HLA) might be a good fit for you. Please consult with an honors advisor as soon as possible and explore the HLA application procedure for continuing and transfer students.

Exploring Honors in the Major …

  • Are you interested in simply focusing on your major(s) or area(s) of concentration while you are here at UW-Madison?
  • Have you completed all of your breadth requirements for the College of Letters and Science with AP, IB and/or transfer credits?
  • Do you have more than 54 credits?
  • Are you coming into UW-Madison as a junior, and are you interested in connecting with a faculty member in your new department right away?
  • Are you interested in working on a Senior Honors Thesis, a year-long commitment to work independently on research in your department?

If you have answered yes to most of these questions, Honors in the Major might be a good fit for you. Please see the undergraduate advisor in your academic department as soon as possible to discuss this option.

Interested in both? 

  • Discuss your options with an honors advisor and your departmental advisor to see if a Comprehensive Honors degree is right for you.

Earning Honors Credits

Learn how to obtain honors credits and fulfill program requirements by clicking here.

Transferring Honors Credits from Other Institutions

The L&S Honors Program is unable to award honors credit for coursework completed at any institution other than the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Although honors credits earned at another institution will transfer as general credits, they will not count towards any of UW-Madison’s three honors degrees (HLA, HM or CH). If you have participated in other university honors programs before arriving at UW-Madison, we hope you will continue to draw on your previous honors experiences as you engage with honors on the Madison campus, especially when writing cover letters, seeking internships or applying for jobs. We will also consider your previous honors work when you apply to our program. 

Applying to the Honors Program

The Honors Program application process varies depending on which program (HLA, HM or CH) you wish to apply to or which department you are choosing to major in. For information on the HLA application process, please click here. To apply for an HM track, please consult with your department.

Questions? Contact Us 

To find out more about the Honors Program, we hope you will explore the resources available For Current Students, including information on the Benefits of a Liberal Arts Education and How to Get Involved in Honors. If you have additional questions, we invite you to contact us in any of the following ways:

Phone: (608) 262-2984


In Person: Washburn Observatory, 1401 Observatory Drive, Madison WI, 53706