Graduation with Latin honors

The Honors Program, in coordination with departments within the College of Arts and Sciences, gives qualified undergraduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences the opportunity to write and defend an honors thesis in an attempt to graduate with Latin honors: cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude. The vast majority of students undertake a thesis project within their major (Departmental Honors), but we also offer an interdisciplinary option (General Honors).

Students typically begin working on an honors thesis project in the junior year and defend their thesis in the senior year. Our thesis process is one of the most rigorous in the nation, which means that students who graduate with honors (between four to seven percent of each graduating class) have successfully gone above and beyond their peers not only at CU Boulder but nationwide. Students who successfully complete the thesis process and are awarded Latin honors by the Honors Council are recognized at the Honors Convocation.

For answers to commonly asked questions, read our FAQ. To see previous honors theses, visit the Undergraduate Honors Theses Repository on CU Scholar.

Departmental Honors

Interested in writing a thesis in your College of Arts and Sciences major? You'll start the process by contacting your department.
Learn your department's requirements.

General Honors

Have you taken at least four Honors Program courses? Is your Arts and Sciences thesis idea interdisciplinary? Consider General Honors.
Read the General Honors requirements.

Registration and Deadlines

Once you've worked with your department to begin the thesis project, you'll need to register with our office.

Our registration form is not an application; your Honors Council representative's signature is the approval for your project. We will not contact you regarding your registration form.

Along with the registration form, we also require a prospectus, planned timeline of your work, and a preliminary bibliography containing a few initial sources. The formats of these are set by your department.

Registration paperwork must be turned in to the Honors Program Office in Norlin Library M400M. We do not accept late registrations.

Fall 2017 Registration and Deadlines. This registration period closes on May 3, 2017.

Thesis Committee Policy
Thesis committees require at least three members of the CU Boulder faculty. To be eligible to serve on a thesis committee one must be a regular full-time faculty member or a multi-year contract instructor involved in an instructional program at the University of Colorado Boulder. In terms of rank, this means Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Senior Instructor, or Instructor. Graduate students are not eligible to serve on thesis committees.

Looking for members of the CU Boulder faculty whose research is related to your thesis idea? Visit

The Thesis Defense

Because we work with over 40 departments within the College of Arts and Sciences, your Honors Council representative is the best source of information when it comes to your defense. That said, we have some notes:

  • You don't need to tell us when you're defending - that's between you and your committee.
  • Bring a current copy of your unofficial transcript to your defense.
  • Don't wait too long to schedule your defense, and try not to schedule your defense on the very last day to defend.
  • If you decide not to defend your thesis, or want to defer your defense to another semester, please let us know. There are no penalties, and you'll get fewer emails from us.

The Defense Copy

Bring your printed and unbound defense copy to the Honors Program Office by our defense copy deadline. Please make sure that your title page meets our requirements.

The Final Copy

Upload the final copy of your thesis to CU Scholar by our final copy deadline.

Latin Honors Designations

The Honors Council, a body of faculty within the College of Arts and Sciences, meets in April and November to confer honors designations.

The Honors Convocation

Students who successfully complete the thesis process and earn Latin honors are recognized at the Honors Convocation.