The University of Washington Honors Program adds rich dimension to one of the world’s top research universities for undergraduates who are up to the challenge. Students have three options to benefit from our Program: as an interdisciplinary education track, as an in-depth program within their majors, or as a combination of the two. Our core interdisciplinary curriculum promotes expansive critical thinking, engaged global citizenship, and comprehensive learning that builds resilience and collaborative practice. Students may apply to the Honors Program as new freshmen, at the end of their first year, or once they've selected a major.

What's next? Stay engaged in Global Challenges through UW Honors

Nov 20, 2017
Students talking before GCIA 2017
Why do more than 300 UW Honors students show up for Global Challenges each year? Because it is their event.* 

Students in last year's incoming Honors class asked us to build a program investigating the rise of nationalism around the world, political polarization, and fear of "fake news" spread mainly through social media. Those concerns prompted us to invite speakers Kate Starbird (Human-Centered Design and Engineering), Randy Engstrom (Seattle Office of Arts & Culture), and Resat Kasaba (Jackson School of International Studies) into a series of conversations about civic discord, culminating in our large Global Challenges event.

The big event is hardly your last chance to engage in thinking together about complex problems. Honors students come from every discipline on campus and think critically together about issues extending far beyond the boundaries of their individual majors. The Program's adaptive interdisciplinary curriculum engages multiple perspectives while fulfilling undergraduate General Education requirements. Experiential learning, research, and reflective writing requirements present valuable opportunities to get off campus and beyond your comfort zone. 

If you're a student, here are just a few ways to work global challenges into your undergraduate planning:


Ask your Honors advisor about Ad Hoc options to expand your options even further, as Lauren Mittleman did last year using HON 499 to help her create The Vulerability Collective


Study abroad with Honors! This summer, explore different cultures through interdisciplinary partnerships in Amsterdam, Rome, Tokyo, Ecuador, or Peru! We've also got a series of excellent Field Studies courses (aka domestic programs similar to study abroad) lined up for spring and summer quarters. 

Check out last week's Global Challenges conversation about civic discord!

Nov 20, 2017

Global Challenges speakers on stage - Nov 15 2017

The Honors Program proudly presents an audio recording of our November 15 Global Challenges discussion about civic discord. 

While on UW Honors' YouTube channel you can also find last year's event on Climate Change, featuring anthropologist and citizen of the Osage Nation Jeanne Dennison; communications visionary Hanson Hossein; and atmospheric scientist David Batisti.

Subscribe to our channel for updates whenever we post a new video!

For more details about Global Challenges—Interdisciplinary Answers, click here


Information Sessions for Prospective Freshmen

Aug 28, 2017

Are you considering applying to the UW Honors Program as an incoming freshman? If so, you're invited to join the University Honors Program to learn how Honors enhances the UW experience.

We have several upcoming opportunities to learn more about the UW Honors Program.  These include:

Autumn 2017 information sessions

The Honors admissions information sessions will give you insight into the Honors Program, community, and application process. At this event, you'll:

  • Get an overview of Honors education at UW from the Honors staff;
  • Hear about the Honors Program admissions process and timeline;
  • Learn about a variety of community and experiential learning opportunities; and
  • Ask all of your questions about what it's like to be a UW Honors student!

RSVP to join us at one of these weekly on-campus sessions, September 22 - November 13, 2017:

  • Every Friday, 11:15 - 12:15 PM
  • Monday, 11/13, 11:15 - 12:15 PM

Please be aware that there is limited space available in these sessions and that interested parties must RSVP at least one day in advance of their desired session date.

If you absolutely cannot make it at these designated times, we recommend you watch this online presentation, which is a version of what we present at the in-person sessions. You may also request an alternate time by filling out this form, but please know that we have limited availabilities outside of these scheduled times and may not be able to accommodate your request.

We look forward to seeing you soon and helping you learn more about the UW Honors Program!

UW Honors students at La Universidad Tecnológica Equinoccial in Quito, Ecuador

Jul 27, 2017
Honors study abroad students and faculty with their hosts in Ecuador
Students and faculty collaborate in pilot program. Credit: La Universidad Tecnológica Equinoccial

Honors students and faculty were featured this week in a front-page story by La Universidad Tecnológica Equinoccial (UTE) in Quito, Ecuador. The article announces the start of a collaborative educational pilot between Michelle Habell-Pallán, (UW, Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies), Jaime Cardenas Jr. (Seattle Central College, History), and UTE, who will host the first two weeks of this immersive four-week program. 

Ecuador is one of two countries on Earth that has constitutionally redefined itself as a "plurinational state." Responding to Indigenous and Afro-descendant social movements for justice and dignity, and propelled by gender equity activists, Ecuador has helped to re-think cultural and national identities by centering the demands of communities most vulnerable to neoliberal policies. This international studies pilot: "Sumak Kawsay: Well-Being, 'Race', and Gender in Ecuador" investigates the 'good living" concept.

Hearts on our sleeves at this year's Celebration of Distinction

Jun 16, 2017

Every year the staff of the UW Honors Program gets to share THE MOST BEAUTIFUL MOMENT EVER with graduating students and their glowing friends and families. We never think it will be as heartwarming as it was last year and we are always wrong.

Speeches by Honors Student Speaker Reem Sabha and Distinguished Honors Alumnus Noah Purcell 

Event Photos by Peter Wirkkala of Grad Images and our own Ryan Luk


2016-17 Honors Grad Profiles

May 23, 2017
2017 grad collage

Please join us in celebrating University of Washington's Honors graduates! On our Honors Grads page you'll find some of the Interdisciplinary, Departmental, and College Honors students who are completing their degrees in the 2016-17 academic year.  Find out more about these remarkable individuals and their exciting plans for the future. Congratulations to all!

Distinguished UW Honors Alumnus Noah Purcell uses his philosophy education to defend civil liberties

Apr 21, 2017
Photo of Noah Pucell

In recognition of his consistent defense of liberty and proven public impact, the UW Honors Program is delighted to announce Noah Purcell ('02 philosophy with Honors, economics) as our 2017 Distinguished Honors Alumnus at the University of Washington.

As Washington state solicitor general, Purcell recently argued Washington's challenge to the controversial Trump administration travel and immigration ban, winning both in District Court and the 9th Circuit, and earning a temporary restraining order of the ban. He did this with the backing of several major tech companies based in Washington state, collaborating effectively with the private sector to protect constitutional rights, specifically the right to religious freedom. The White House has since issued a revised ban that also has been halted as discriminatory against Muslims — a finding the U.S. Department of Justice is attempting to appeal.

New International Access Scholarships Get You Far Beyond Your Comfort Zone

Feb 16, 2017

Maybe you CAN afford to study abroad during college.

The Honors Program is passionate about study abroad and the incredible impact it can have on a student’s life. An education grounded in a global context provides life long skills and lifelong memories. Studying abroad deepens study at home and provides a foundation for expanded reflection and self-growth, all core tenets of the Honors Program. We want everyone to experience study abroad.

Thanks largely to gifts raised by beloved Bay-Area alumnus Paul Vronsky ('03), more students can say YES to this once-in a lifetime experience by earning one of these Honors scholarship awards.

Rome Program Postcard - Summer A Term 2017

Rome is where the heart is!

Honors International Access Scholarship

The International Access Scholarship is awarded to an Interdisciplinary, Departmental or College Honors student demonstrating the values of the Honors Program, which includes international engagement.

UW Honors' Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Feb 4, 2017

We in UW Honors are aware that the recent executive order concerning immigration has raised many concerns in our community and beyond. During this time of rapid change and turbulence in our country, we are guided by our mission and our commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion, and we continue to welcome students regardless of their immigration status or country of origin.

We would like to share this compilation of additional support and resources from the UW and elsewhere:


Honors Hosts Global Challenges- Interdisciplinary Answers Event on Climate Change

Nov 21, 2016

Great thanks to the hundreds of students, faculty, alumni, staff, and friends of UW who attended our second Global Challenges—Interdisciplinary Anwers event on November 15. All told, there were nearly 500 of us convened that night for a broad public conversation about climate change and and its entangled politics.

Photo of audience and speakers at 2016 Global Challenges event

This topic was identified by last year's freshman class. Our Interdisciplinary Honors Program encourages students to engage with complex issues of global importance during their time at UW and beyond. The Global Challenges event series invites three distinguished scholars into conversation across disciplines to address a complex problem that keeps our students up at night.