Encouragement for future Honors Huskies

March 28, 2024

Encouragement for future Honors Huskies

Dear aspiring college students,

I am Stephanie Smallwood, director of the University of Washington Honors Program. I’m grateful and excited that you are considering applying to earn your undergraduate degree at the UW with Honors. The UW is a tremendous institution, packed with passionate teachers, researchers and learners. Our community is a nexus where some of the University’s most enthusiastic people to share ideas, questions and knowledge across majors, colleges, and beyond. I hope the information here will help you decide if we are a good fit for your educational goals.

As you consider your college options, you should know that the University of Washington Honors Program offers an exciting opportunity for students from all backgrounds who seek an academic program that is innovative, collaborative and experiential. 

You may not have taken Honors classes before, but if you’re excited about finding connections between and across subjects, passionate about getting out of your comfort zone and learning from and with students whose perspectives differ from your own and eager to apply your learning to some of the biggest questions and challenges that shape our world today, then Honors may well be an ideal program for you. 

As an Honors Husky, you should expect to be challenged, but I want you to know that the hard work you will do in Honors is less about how you compare to others and more about helping you use your UW education to grow into the person we hope you want to be…the engaged, fearless and intellectually curious you the world needs. 

There are three ways to pursue Honors at UW: as an intentionally interdisciplinary approach to your required general education courses; as an in-depth program within your major; or as a combination of the two. There are also several ways you can apply to be an Honors Husky: as an incoming first-year studentafter completing two quarters at UW, as a transfer student, or once you’ve selected a major.

Read on to learn more about what all of these UW Honors experiences can offer you!


Our rigorous curriculum provides small, seminar-style courses that challenge you to think creatively and navigate knowledge in new ways. Taught by enthusiastic instructors representing the breadth of disciplines and major programs, Honors courses allow you to dive into fascinating topics like artificial intelligence, ethnomusicology and population health while completing UW’s general education requirements; and build in-depth research and other experiential learning opportunities into your major. 


Do local and global challenges like climate change, racial disparities in policing and criminal justice, epidemic disease, or housing insecurity matter to you enough that you’d like to consider them deeply as part of your college career? Honors students grow into leaders by learning to ask questions directed towards the big and multifaceted challenges facing our communities. From once-in-a-lifetime study abroad experiences to grassroots-led public service projects or specialized research within your major, you’ll connect your education to the larger world and practice civic engagement. 


Honors is more than just an academic program. We are a vibrant community where you can make new friends in the Honors Living Learning Community on campus, find a mentor through our student-led peer mentoring program, network with alumni and professors at events, develop career plans with an Honors adviser and much more. 

I hope this gives you a better idea of what it means to be an Honors Husky. You can take greatest advantage of all UW Honors has to offer by joining our Interdisciplinary Honors community as you begin your undergraduate career. So please apply by writing heartfelt responses to the prompt that make up the Honors portion of your application to the University of Washington. In our evaluation process, our team will learn as much as we can about how you might thrive in this community of lifelong learners across all areas of knowledge.

If you prefer to wait until after you’ve gotten a few quarters under your belt or have declared a major, then please reach out to us to learn more about Interdisciplinary Honors’ second-year admission or how and why to pursue Departmental Honors. Whatever path you choose, we’re so excited to welcome you to the UW Honors community!

Portrait of Stephanie Smallwood

Sincerely yours,

Stephanie E. Smallwood (she/her)
Director, UW Honors Program
Associate Professor of History and Comparative History of Ideas (CHID)
Dio Richardson Endowed Professor in History

Ready to start?

Check out Honors’ admissions deadlines, processes and pathways on our student admissions page.