UW Honors Program Spring 2020 COVID-19 FAQ

UW Honors Program Spring 2020 FAQ

Messages to students from UW Honors

Honors Courses offered remotely throughout spring quarter

Dear Students,

Welcome back to this uniquely challenging spring quarter. We are happy to be working and adapting with you! 

Our staff, faculty and student leaders care deeply about your learning and we are here for you— to provide academic guidance, to offer our spring courses, to support your learning and to create community with you.

The University has compiled many resources as you return for spring quarter, including  information on UW’s spring quarter operations and information on the corona virus and how UW is responding to this unprecedented moment. In addition to email updates we will continue to send, our Honors website also has a set of spring quarter FAQs to serve as a resource that can answer questions you may have. 

This is a challenging time for everyone. We will get through this together. Please know that you may always reach out to us and to each other for inspiration and support. 


Victoria Lawson (Director) and Juliana Villegas (Associate Director), on behalf of the staff of the University of Washington Honors Program

Note: There is a lot of important information to absorb and plenty of change underway this quarter. As we consider the overarching purpose of our community, we’d like to share a few recent reflections from graduating seniors who completed their portfolio requirements last quarter:

“Understand that everything you do has an impact on others. Sometimes you can see it. Most of the time you can’t. Sometimes it’s good, other times it’s hurtful, no matter what your intentions are. Mostly though, understand that though we live in a hyper-individualistic society that tells you to follow your dreams and do what’s best for you. You MUST remember that you are nothing without everyone else. You cannot do what you are doing here without people around the globe doing what they do. We all support and depend on each other, and it’s easy to forget that, but we have to act with this at the forefront of our mind. You can do you, but you can’t do you without everyone else. Do your part.”

“Although it is important to have a plan, it is also so important to be open and willing for that plan to evolve and change over time. There is no shame in taking your time to figure things out!”

“Don’t stress out too much about the exact path you’ll take – planning is always helpful, especially for strictly academic things, but when it comes to the more general aspects of being alive do not allow yourself to be caught up in what you expect. Life has a way of leading you where you have to go, so clinging to expectations just limits yourself while also causing a lot of disappointment when things just don’t work out. Have faith that you’ll find your way, and move forward with optimism and determination!”

Q: Will the Honors Suite and Mary Gates Hall be open during Spring Quarter 2020?

A: Mary Gates Hall is closed and accessible via Husky Card to UW students, staff and faculty who have been given access to the building (for example, people who work in the building during normal operations). The building will remain secured until further notice. The Honors Suite is also closed and our services and staff are available online and by phone. For updates on the University’s response to COVID-19 as well as information for students, please visit uw.edu/coronavirus.


Q: I need to change my spring 2020 schedule, and am looking for an Honors class. What is available?

A: As of the start of spring quarter, there are still several open Honors Courses for spring 2020 to consider enrolling in and full course descriptions can be found HERE. Be sure to consult the UW Academic Calendar for the deadlines to add and drop courses.

Q: How do I make an appointment to meet with an Honors adviser in spring 2020?

A: Student academic support services remain our top priority. In spring 2020, advisers will not hold in-person meetings but will be available to assist students with advising questions over email or arrange to have individually scheduled meetings via phone or the Zoom online communication platform. If you believe your questions can be answered via email, please send your email to uwhonors@uw.edu, or fill out the appointment request form and note “email conversation only” under the preferred conversation format option. If you would like to arrange a meeting with an adviser, please continue to use our online advising scheduling tool to make an individual advising appointment, and an adviser will respond and arrange the best way in which to talk.

Q: How will drop in advising happen this quarter?

A: Drop in advising hours in spring 2020 will be held by individual advisers via Zoom. The drop in schedule, as well as information how to access drop in advising, is posted on our advising website. We will have a waiting room function set up and an adviser will be available for quick questions.  If you believe your questions can be answered via email, please send your email to uwhonors@uw.edu. If you need a longer, individualized meeting, please continue to use our online advising scheduling tool to schedule an appointment.

Q: Will there be group advising sessions?

A: Yes, Honors advisers are creating new group advising sessions for spring quarter, in light of our new remote working situation. We will create topics of interest and importance to students that bring us together as a collaborative community in these times of social distancing. Please read emails that we will send regarding these sessions as well as looking at the advising website for the most up to date information regarding group advising dates and times.

Q: How has the experiential learning requirement been impacted in spring 2020?

A: It is currently essential that experiential learning be completed remotely. Due to the nature of experiential learning, we expect some activities to be impacted by social distancing practices. If this applies to your planned project, please review the scenarios below. If your situation does not fall under these circumstances or your graduation may be impacted by changes to the activity you had planned, please reach out to the Honors advisers as soon as possible.

  • If you were supposed to wrap up your experiential learning activity in winter quarter and the COVID-19 outbreak has prevented you from being able to finish:
  • If you started and applied for an experiential learning activity during fall 2019/winter 2020 and set your end date for this spring, AND already completed the minimum of 20 hours but are no longer able to continue the activity as planned (view all active applications via your Honors Portal):
    • You are still encouraged to submit your final reflection in line with the spring quarter experiential learning deadlines.
    • If you would like to submit a reflection and get your supervisor’s final evaluation sooner (highly encouraged for those graduating spring 2020) please send an email to uwhonors@uw.edu and include your student number, your request to receive the final reflection link asap, and the title of your experiential learning activity.
  • For those who were planning on starting an activity spring or summer quarter:
    • If you anticipate being able to complete your activity at a later time, we encourage you to do so. However, if one of the opportunities we suggest below interests you, or the activity you’re interested in allows you to practice social distancing we encourage you to submit an application.
    • If you were depending on the next 2-3 quarters to complete your experiential learning activity, we strongly suggest you check out the following resources for generating ideas for experiential learning. You may always email the advisers or schedule an appointment to discuss your ideas.

Opportunities compatible with social distancing:


Q: How has the Honors GPA/Probation policy been impacted by remote learning in spring 2020?

A: We have decided not to activate our Winter GPA review process. This means if you were on GPA probation in Honors during winter 2020, and your cumulative GPA after winter quarter was still lower than a 3.3, you will not be transferred out of Honors at the end of winter 2020, and will have an additional quarter on probation status.

If your GPA has fallen below a 3.3 cumulative at the end of winter 2020, you will not go on GPA probation for spring. We will still communicate with you regarding resources and support and encourage you to discuss your individual situation with an adviser.

We currently plan to resume our standard GPA status process at the end of spring 2020. You may review the Honors GPA policy here.

Q: How have the ad hoc process/requirement and other credit by contract options (HONORS 499 / graduate level courses) been impacted in spring 2020?

A: While many planned ad hoc projects, Honors 499 studies, and graduate level coursework will continue without too much adjustment, there will likely be some whose projects will need larger adjustments in order to move to the online platform. Please take the time necessary to think about how to adapt your projects proactively and begin strategizing with your ad hoc faculty supervisor now. We also want to remind you that the Honors advisers are here to help you brainstorm tools and strategies to adapt.


  • Honors 499 independent study applications are due on Monday, March 30, by 5pm.


Q: Can I participate as an HCA this quarter, are there still HCA events happening?

A: Following the guidance of the CDC, state, and university, all planned, in-person, spring HCA events are canceled or postponed until a later quarter. We will be holding meetings over Zoom on the first Thursday of the month from 6-7pm. For more meeting details and to RSVP for the first HCA meeting of spring quarter please visit the HCA page.


UW Summer Study Abroad Programs for 2020

All UW Summer Study Abroad Programs are canceled for 2020. Please check back for more information regarding summer 2021. Most of our Summer 2020 programs will move to summer 2021. Students who applied and were accepted for summer 2020 will have priority consideration in 2021. The Study Abroad Office will continue to update information regarding international travel. Stay informed here.

For those students who have been impacted by an Honors Study Abroad cancellation, the Honors staff is available to support you as you work to adjust your academic plans for the future. To our students who were enrolled in an Honors study abroad program in the summer of 2020, we are offering the following flexibility in response to these unusual circumstances:

We will waive 5 credits of your Honors core curriculum. We hope that you have plenty of time to finish your Honors core curriculum, and you are most certainly welcome to take full advantage of Honors course offerings in the future. However, if upon review of your plan, you find this to be impossible and would like to activate this waiver, please fill out this Course Waiver Request Form and indicate which Honors core requirement you are interested in having waived (only the core curriculum options from your planned study abroad). Once we have a completed form from you, we will make the appropriate exception for you in DARS.

We are also increasing enrollment in many closed spring Honors courses. We have worked with our spring quarter instructors to increase enrollment in several classes that were formerly closed. Please review the Spring Honors Course Descriptions to see a full range of our spring quarter offerings.

You may want to consider Honors summer courses or pursuing ad-hoc projects for either spring or summer UW courses. Contact an adviser if you have questions.