Programs of Special Interest

Honors Program

The Honors Program is designed to provide special educational opportunities for highly motivated students. It is open to well-prepared freshmen, as well as to sophomores and upper-division students in all schools and colleges. The Honors Program offers thoughtful advising, close contact with faculty and with other honors students, and an opportunity to write an honors thesis. Honors offers over 70 courses per year in a wide variety of areas. In any academic year about one-fourth of all Honors courses are offered under the HONR designation; the remainder are offered as seminars under departmental designations (CHEM, ENGL, HIST, IPHY, and so on). Course offerings for each semester are listed, with detailed descriptions, on the Honors Program web page at Honors courses are limited to an enrollment of approximately 15 students.

Faculty members teaching honors seminars are carefully selected for special interests and enthusiasm, for teaching excellence in small discussion classes, and for insistence on high academic standards. Honors seminars are designed for the student who welcomes challenge, knows that the mind expands only with effort, and actively seeks academic and intellectual challenges. Honors courses encourage students to think creatively. Many honors courses are interdisciplinary; all encourage students to read widely and critically.

The Honors Council, consisting of faculty from all participating academic departments, is responsible for deciding which students merit the award of the bachelor’s degree with the Latin honors designations: cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude. These awards are made on the basis of special honors work and not simply on the basis of grades earned in courses.

Students may graduate with departmental honors or general honors, or both. Departmental honors may require a junior or senior honors seminar, an independent research project, and/or directed readings. All departments require an honors thesis. Each department has information pertaining to its own particular program. General honors, supervised and administered directly by the Honors Program and its core faculty, permits students to pursue interests and ultimately to write theses that cross disciplinary and departmental boundaries. To graduate with general honors, students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or higher, have completed 12 credit hours of required honors courses, and have written a thesis on an interdisciplinary topic.

The Honors Residential Academic Program (HRAP) is the optional residential component of the program. HRAP, open to a limited number of qualified freshmen and sophomores, consists of small classes offered in the Arnett  and Smith residence halls as well as opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities. (There is an additional charge for the Honors Residential Academic Program. See below for more information.)

Detailed information concerning the Honors Program may be obtained in the Honors office in Norlin Library. Qualified students may register for courses. Course offerings and call numbers can be found on the Honors Program website.

Freshmen are invited to join the Honors Program based on their high school GPA and test scores. Transfer students must have a 3.300 GPA from their previous school. Students currently enrolled are accepted on the basis of academic achievement at CU-Boulder. While honors students are expected to have a GPA of at least 3.300, it should be emphasized that no student who shows ability and promise is excluded from consideration. This is a program of excellence and commitment in which the best teaching faculty is committed to serve the most highly motivated
students for the benefit of those students, the university, and the larger society.

Miramontes Arts and Sciences Program

The Miramontes Arts and Sciences Program (formerly the Minority Arts and Sciences Program) is a community of diverse scholars dedicated to academic excellence. MASP provides assistance to members in their successful matriculation, retention, and graduation from the College of Arts and Sciences at CU-Boulder. For students interested in science and mathematics, MASP emphasizes study leading to the BA degree in selected fields including biology, chemistry/biochemistry, integrative physiology, mathematics, physics, and applied mathematics. MASP also supports underrepresented students interested in pursuing humanities and social sciences degrees, including history, theatre, fine arts, and other disciplines within the College of Arts and Sciences.

MASP facilitates the often-difficult transition from achieving excellence in high school to achieving excellence in the college learning environment. It provides a personally supportive community and intense academic instruction, and helps develop a strong sense of group cohesiveness and spirit. 

MASP provides scholarships to its promising students. Grade point average (GPA), financial need, and other academic indicators assist in determining scholarship eligibility and amounts. MASP also provides mentoring, academic advising and clustering, academic co-seminars and seminars, the Summer Program for Excellence in Academics and Community (PEAC) for incoming CU freshmen, self-management and leadership workshops, and a MASP networking and study center. 

For more information, call the MASP office at 303-492-8229

Norlin Scholars Program

Norlin Scholars is an interdisciplinary intellectual community in which students receive an education personally tailored to fit their interests and goals in any of CU-Boulder's undergraduate colleges or schools. Geared toward students seeking a liberal education or preparing for graduate or professional schools, the program offers academic challenge, breadth of experience, and close work with faculty. Each Norlin Scholar receives a merit-based award of $4,000 per year. Students who enter the program as freshmen receive a four-year award, contingent upon academic progress; students who enter as rising juniors receive a two-year award, contingent upon academic progress. Applicants should demonstrate excellent academic and/or creative ability. More information and application details can be found at or call 303-735-6802.