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 (Honors RAP) is the optional residential component of the program. Honors RAP, open to a limited number of qualified freshmen and continuing students, consists of small classes offered in Smith Hall as well as opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities. (There is an additional charge for the Honors Residential Academic Program.)

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 3.30 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 3.30, 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 outstanding student acheivement and academic excellence. MASP accepts highly motivated students with strong academic records interested in any of the academic disciplines in the College of Arts and Sciences. It supports these students through mentoring, advising, scholarships, instruction, and community activities. Students are typically from traditionally underrepresented groups or are first-generation college students.

For most members of MASP, support begins the summer before freshman year with the Program for Excellence in Academics and Community, a six-week summer bridge program that facilitates the often difficult transition from achieving academic excellence in high school to achieving excellence in the college learning environment. Continuing students interested in MASP can also apply during any year through out MASP affiliate program.

Throughout the academic year MASP students are offered both co-seminars and seminars to strenghen and broaden their understanding of topics they encounter in their courses. Students are encouraged to participate in undergraduate research and/or other scholarly activities such as internships and study abroad programs. MASP students are also required to be involved with our commuity space and to participte in community activities to help develop a strong sense of group cohesiveness and spirit.

For more information, call MASP 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.