University of Washington Honors Program

Honors at a Glance

3
Paths to Honors

$1.2M+
in Scholarships & Awards

100+
Majors represented

Our Mission

The University Honors Program engages a diverse population of students through a rigorous interdisciplinary curriculum that promotes expansive, innovative thinking and conscious global citizenship. We ask students to take intellectual risks; to seek an understanding of the interdependence of all branches of knowledge; to engage with the complexities of difference and diversity; to take leadership roles in navigating global change; and to value a life of continuous learning and personal growth.

Our Mission & Values

Overview

Operating as a service unit within the office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs, the Honors Program brings students and faculty from every corner of campus together for original learning opportunities focused on cross-disciplinary curriculum, experiential learning, research, and critical reflection. Our Program runs a comprehensive Interdisciplinary/College track and oversees Departmental Honors tracks to annually enroll approximately 1300 undergraduates, with about two-thirds of the students in Interdisciplinary/College Honors and the remaining one-third in Departmental Honors.

Our Benefits
Who are we?

Why Honors

What is Honors?

Honors is a dynamic space for interdisciplinary thinking on campus. We prepare our students to ask and answer bold questions about the challenges facing our ever-changing world. Our students participate in small classes with faculty from all across campus and are involved across the university, sharing their enthusiastic engagement with their communities – local, national, and international. Honors is a great example of the university’s mission, blending the benefits of interdisciplinary thinking and self-discovery. Ultimately, our mission is to create engaged citizens and leaders who serve their communities.

“In UW Honors, you think about big questions and learn how to actually do something about them – and that’s so much more exciting. You meet people with different ways of thinking who inspire and challenge each other in ways you didn’t even know were possible. I don’t know what I’d do without the people and connections I’ve made in the Honors Program.” – Reem Sabha, ‘17

Who should apply?

The Honors Program isn’t just a collection of smart students who look great on paper. It’s a community of curious people who think about college as more than a place to earn a degree but as a place to explore and grow. We seek students who are eager to think in complex ways about big global challenges, challenge themselves to take risks along the way, and act in the world through the lens of their own diverse experiences. Don’t let test scores and GPA hold you back from discovering your full potential at the University of Washington. We won’t.

How do we evaluate applications?

We evaluate applications holistically, looking to understand the entirety of the student’s experiences, and we are eager to ensure our community represents and includes complex and dynamic perspectives necessary to true scholarship. So when we review your application we are reading your essays looking for interest in interdisciplinary thinking and learning, for self awareness and engagement with your community, and for a deep commitment to learning outside your comfort zone.

Read More About Applying to Honors

Read our Application FAQs

“I love the Honors Program because it keeps pushing me to become more of a risk-taker while deepening my thought process. It doesn’t matter if I’m approaching something as a student, a leader, or a servant to my community: I am a more inspired and courageous world citizen because this program demands full critical engagement.” – Dashni Amin ‘15

Honors Options

Students apply for different Honors tracks at different times in their undergraduate career, depending on their goals. Upon fulfilling the combined requirements of both Honors and their major programs, these students add the distinction of Interdisciplinary, Departmental, or College Honors to their UW degree at graduation.

Honors students assembling a puzzle together

Interdisciplinary Honors

The distinction of Interdisciplinary Honors indicates an undergraduate career engaged in critical thinking beyond silos — noticing how and why ideas connect across all areas of knowledge. Students join this track beginning early in their academic careers (mostly as incoming freshmen) and practice learning and leading as adaptive global citizens until the time of graduation.

The Interdisciplinary Honors curriculum merges sciences and humanities to fulfill UW general education requirements; primarily through small, seminar-style classes. Experiential learning requirements guarantee development outside of the classroom while Honors’ portfolio practice strengthens writing, reflection, and synthesis across disciplines.

Departmental Honors

Students who delve more deeply into their majors through upper-level electives, research, or an extended thesis conducted in close working relationships with faculty mentors can earn the distinction of Departmental Honors.

Departmental Honors is an excellent track for those who have been admitted to an undergraduate degree program and wish to forge close ties with faculty, distinguish themself in their field, and advance knowledge in an area of interest. Requirements and application procedures differ across all majors and interested students should consult an academic adviser within their department for full details.

College Honors

Students earn the distinction of College Honors when they integrate many areas of knowledge and ways of learning with deeper, generative experience in their chosen field(s) by completing requirements for both Interdisciplinary and Departmental Honors.

This is the highest Honors distinction possible, combining all of the benefits of our Interdisciplinary Track with the benefits of Departmental Honors.