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.

Honors registration re-opened August 10!

Aug 14, 2017

The annual freshmen-only restriction on course registration begun late spring Q is ended as of 8/10/17. Upperclassmen who missed the initial registration window may now register. Note, the following courses were recently added and still have spaces remaining:

  • ARCH 350 B: Architecture of the Ancient World
  • HONORS 220 C: Medical Ethics
  • HONORS 398 C: Experimental Music Making
  • ESS 472 AC: Rockets and Instrumentation

Please see the Honors courses page for descriptions of all of our courses along with information about the type of credit each course will award.

Advice for New Students from Anna Mikkelborg '17 (Law, Societies & Justice w/College Honors)

Aug 2, 2017

 

Recent UW Honors grad Anna Mikkelborg is preparing to move to Oxford this fall to pursue her Master's (and then will go to Berkely for her PhD in political science). We asked Anna if she had any advice for incoming freshmen as she is contemplating the start of her own big transition. 

"I've been thinking a lot about my freshman self lately, since starting at Oxford is giving me a new round of first-day-of-school jitters. As I recall, accepting and offering social invitations generously during the first few weeks of school served me really well — some people I never talked to again, but my roommates senior year were my dorm-mates in Haggett Hall, and my most recent hiking buddy is someone I met my very first day on campus." 

Anna continued: "Academics-wise, I'd tell incoming freshmen not to take a class because they feel like they should take it — prerequisites aside — but to take charge of building their education. They should look into ad-hocing for Honors credits, work with their eventual major departments to arrange outside credit or independent studies, and, as upperclassmen, maybe take a graduate seminar or two from professors they know and admire. These strategies take some hustle, but they made my time at UW more challenging, exciting, and reflective of who I am than if I'd followed a path of lesser resistance."

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.

UW Professors Lawson & Gillespe Examine Narratives that Inspire Compassion

Jun 19, 2017
People without housing love their pets, too. mydogismyhome.org

In a recent article, published by the journal Gender, Place, and Culture, Honors Program director Vicky Lawson (geography professor, co-director of the Relational Poverty Network) and Kathryn Gillespie (geography professor, CHID professor) bring relational poverty studies into conversation with critical animal studies to examine what the bond between homeless people and their pets demonstrates about compassion. "My Dog is My Home": multispecies care and poverty politics in Los Angeles, California and Austin, Texas, considers the notion that, when it comes to solving big social problems, love really is the answer. In this case, love of our animal companions.

Researchers across multiple disciplines agree that empathy can motivate us to change our habits and make sacrifices, but without it, there can be no change. By featuring stories of homeless pet owners "My Dog is My Home" shrinks the imagined distance between those with stable and those without — drawing us into stories of human/animal friendship. using "love as a basis for building a collective politics of anti-violence."*

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

 

Love what you read! Summer reading suggestions from Honors students and alumni

Jun 2, 2017

Worried the end of spring quarter will leave you with nothing to think about? Fall face first into one of these literary gems, recommended by students in Honors  as worthy of your precious love. 

from Jeannette Bushnell
lovework: an unfinished syllabus
summer reading June 2017

Khaled Hosseini – A Thousand Splendid Suns – historical fiction, two women in Kabul, Afghanistan

Khaled Hosseini – The Kite Runner – fiction, family, Afghanistan

Eknath Easwaran – The Bhagavad Gita – Indian Spirituality

Agatha Christie – All, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd – mystery novels, England

Mitch Albom – Tuesdays with Morrie – student caregiver talks to teacher with Lou Gehrig ’s disease

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!

Honors Excellence in Teaching Award Goes to Jon Herron, Biology

May 9, 2017

After reviewing many wonderful nominations, we are thrilled to announce that the winner of the 2017 Honors Excellence in Teaching Award goes to Biology's Jon Herron!

When asked about his experience teaching for Honors, this is just one of the many stories, Dr. Herron shares: 

"After listening to Honors students discuss genetic drift in my class several years ago, I designed a virtual laboratory exercise on the topic that is now published by SimBio software. Last year Rebecca Price (UW Bothell) and colleagues published a pre-test/post-test study showing that students who use the virtual lab show considerably higher learning gains than students who get traditional instruction. I consider this one of my biggest professional successes, and I owe it to those Honors students in DNA & Evolution."

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.

Honors student Lauren Mittelman's Vulnerability Collective tears down walls

Apr 19, 2017

Honors senior Lauren Mittelman wants you to risk talking about stuff you don't think you're supposed to share. 

Earlier this spring, KUOW's Deborah Wang interviewed Lauren about her fascinating HON499 project to promote authenticity and resilience at UW. Before it was an independent study, it was an idea Lauren had while she was far from home. Lauren explains her inspiration for the project in The Vulnerability Collective (excerpted here): 

"This role model of mine had bumps along the way and feelings that seemed to mirror mine of the past four months. She wasn't a professor with major professional successes that helped her feel confident about sharing these. She was a regular twenty-something, figuring it out day by day and month by month. I was inspired. Up until then no one had been so open about their undergraduate experiences. On that day in Barcelona, the idea came to me to build a collection of student stories and vulnerabilities. What if we all shared the stories that are otherwise not told? Why can’t we all be more honest and save everyone the trouble? So, seven countries and five months later, I was back in Seattle in January of 2016 switching around my academic schedule to pursue 5 credits of independent study which would eventually become this project. Researching university stories that are 'otherwise not told,' thus began The Vulnerability Collective."

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.