University of Washington Honors Program

Honors Huskies show up for the world’s biggest challenges

Let’s magnify their impact

What keeps you up at night? From ongoing social injustices to the climate crisis, today’s urgent problems don’t come with singular solutions. That’s why UW Honors exists — to foster collective brilliance. 

UW Honors has been evolving for six decades as the home of a learning community primed to meet the world’s most pressing needs. Students jump into the work in their first quarter with our annual Global Challenges events and continue to rise to new challenges through evolving interdisciplinary and experiential curriculum, encouraged by individualized advising and support

Courtney Hooks on UW campus

Want a real-life example? Click here to learn how Courtney Hooks influenced the understanding of her classmates while transforming her own notions of poverty, responsibility and identity in an Interdisciplinary Honors seminar.

Support the Honors Leadership Fund

A vibrant future relies on interdisciplinary leaders who know how to collaborate with humility. They go beyond simple conflicts and become skillful in addressing the issues of rights, values, and power that are inherent in our world’s most intractable problems. We also nurture the courage needed to openly learn from our differences. Right now, there are far more students who want to join Honors than we have seats available. You can help us fix that.

As humans on this journey together, we must continually be in conversation, evolve and resource the change we want. Education —  and especially UW Honors — facilitates that vital process. Our new Honors Leadership Fund will sustain the program’s ongoing evolution into the future by allowing us to expand access, increase inclusion and advance educational innovation.

We invite you to help us reach this ambitious $3 million goal.

Build pathways to innovation

Honors Huskies come mostly from Washington (82% from public schools) and reflect a broad range of experiences and passions, with more than 95% of UW majors represented by Honors students. They touch every aspect of our University’s undergraduate life and often participate in graduate-level learning and research.

What do students do with this experiential and interdisciplinary education? Honors alumni tell the story. From a defender of liberties who studied philosophy and economics (Noah Purcell) to an aspiring physician with a background in law and disability studies (Sam Fredman) to a fine arts and biochemistry major investing in potential cures for cancer and other diseases (Roman Camarda), the pathways of former students reach beyond any set boundaries or expectations. 

Photo of Roman Camarda
Roman Camarda, 2020

Camarda, who earned his PhD as a cancer researcher at the University of California after graduating from the UW with College Honors, now works at a biotech investment firm. Camarda regularly describes Honors as “deeply important” to his own proclivity for taking risks and thinking beyond silos, saying: “Honors levels the playing field between students, professors, the administration and everyone in between by creating an open and honest dialogue where people can express themselves and see what comes out of it without preconceived notions of what needs to come out of it.”

UW faculty from colleges and departments across campus agree. Professor Jon Heron, for instance, has credited Honors students with innovations in his research and teaching that would never have happened had taught only in his home department of Biology.

Vicky retirement part with Ed Tina 2022
Lawson (center) with Vice Provost and UAA Dean Ed Taylor (left) and Honors Advisory Board chair Tina Ragen (right) in May, 2022

Recently retired Honors Director and Professor of Geography, Vicky Lawson, believes Honors to be among the most transformative centers on campus. “Honors students are brave, humble thinkers who rise to meet the unfolding challenges of their lifetimes through authentic engagement. These are people who think of problems that cannot be reduced to a single discipline. They lean into an Honors education that brings multiple tools to bear, forms of action, thoughts and theories, alongside experiential learning. I will do anything within my power to invite more of these students into the UW and to support their learning. The world is depending on them. I want them to know that they can depend on us, too.”

Pay it forward. Invest in Honors Huskies.

Former Washington Supreme Court Justice Bobbe Bridge and her husband, Jon, are founding supporters of Honors Leadership Fund and invite you to join them: “These students have so much potential and the world is in so much need of that potential. We need to be there to nurture that.”