Welcome to the Arts & Sciences Honors Program!

The Arts and Sciences Honors Program is an enrichment program for undergraduate students who want to add something extra to their experience at CU Boulder. Everything our program offers is optional, which means that each student can make the Arts and Sciences Honors Program work for their individual needs.

Honors-qualified students can choose to:

First-year fall students: if you received an invitation from us, you will be eligible to register for an Arts and Sciences Honors Program course in the fall and spring semester of your first year at CU Boulder. After that, as long as you maintain a CU Boulder GPA of 3.3 or higher, you can continue taking our courses whenever you like. You do not have to take Honors Program courses to remain honors-qualified.

If you've received an invitation, you will find it in your portal in your new messages.

Transfer students: Transfer students are automatically considered for the Arts and Sciences Honors Program at the time of Admission to the University of Colorado Boulder, and will receive an electronic invitation to our program with the Admissions packet if Honors-qualified. Transfer students who would like to live in the Honors Residential Academic Program should contact the Honors RAP office for information on how to apply.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Arts and Sciences Honors Program?

The Arts and Sciences Honors Program is an enrichment program for undergraduate students who would like to add something extra to their experience at CU Boulder. Everything our program offers is optional, which means that each student can make the Arts and Sciences Honors Program work for their individual needs.

Honors-qualified students can choose to:

How do I join the program? Do I apply?

You do not have to apply to the Arts and Sciences Honors Program. The Office of Admissions automatically evaluates and invites qualified first-year and transfer students who have been admitted into the College of Arts and Sciences to the Honors Program. Generally, students in the top 10% of the incoming class receive an invitation.

For information about prospective, transfer, and continuing students, visit our Admission page.

Do I have to respond to the invitation?

Not at all! If you confirm that you'll be attending CU Boulder, you'll automatically be added to our list of students to contact about registering for honors courses and attending events.

I didn't apply for the Honors Program. Why did I get an invitation?

Receiving an invitation into the Honors Program means that you were automatically selected by the Office of Admissions as an honors-qualified student. There is no separate application process, and participation is optional, although we encourage you to participate as much as you wish!  If you do not want to participate, there is no need to withdraw from the program.  You are also welcome to unsubscribe to our emails by clicking on the "unsubscribe" link at any time.

The Office of Admissions automatically evaluates all students who are admitted into the College of Arts and Sciences. Generally, students in the top 10% of the incoming class are invited to participate in the Arts and Sciences Honors Program. 

I received an invitation to participate in the Honors Program but my counselor/advisor says there is no indication I am in honors. Am I still invited?

If you received an invitation to participate in the Honors Program when you received your acceptance to CU, you are eligible to participate for your first year here.  Advisors and counselors will not be able to see any indication in your Buff Portal that notifies them of the invitation; they need to look in a different system to find your eligibility status.  Rest assured that your invitation allows you to sign up for Honors Program classes and participate in our other offerings, even if there is no indication in your portal except for the invitation message.

Do I have to take honors courses?

You do not have to take Honors Program courses; it's completely optional. But, we're a great option! Our courses are limited to 17 honors-qualified students, which means that every student is essential to how the class functions. You'll get to know your peers as well as your professors, and it's a great way to start building friendships here at CU Boulder.  Many of the classes you need to take to meet your general education requirements are offered through the Honors Program, as well as some that satisfy requirements for your major.  Click here for more details on classes offered and how to enroll.

After your first year at CU, as long as you maintain a 3.3 GPA or higher, you are considered honors-qualified, which means you can continue to sign up for Honors courses and/or participate in our events and programs.

If you are participating in the Honors Residential Academic Program (HRAP), thus staying in the Honors dorm, taking an HRAP class is part of the contract.

Are Honors Program courses harder?

Our courses aren't necessarily harder - they're just different. Our classes, most of which fulfill some part of the Arts and Sciences General Education & Core Requirements, are limited to 17 students. Students in our courses discuss, debate, and exchange ideas in ways that students in large lecture courses cannot. In most of our classes, students can expect to undertake more individual research, have some influence on the direction and topics of the course, and be counted on by the rest of the class for input. Arts and Sciences Honors courses are intellectual preparation not only for honors thesis research, but also for intellectual inquiry of any kind.

For more details and for information on how to enroll, please visit our Courses page.

If I'm in the Honors RAP, why does it say I can't sign up for an Honors class?

The reason Honors RAP students are excluded from taking regular Honors courses is because RAP students have access to a set of Honors classes that other students do not, so to be fair to the Honors students who did not get into the RAP, we save spaces in our regular Honors courses for non-RAP students only.  After your first year at CU, if you have maintained a 3.3 GPA or higher, you are still eligible to participate in the Honors Program. If you are no longer living in the Honors dorm, you are welcome to enroll in an Honors course each semester.

What kinds of courses does the Honors Program offer?

We offer a variety of courses that change every semester. Some of them are honors versions of courses you can take elsewhere on campus and some are uniquely ours. In addition, the majority of our courses fulfill some part of the Arts and Sciences Core Curriculum/Gen Ed requirements. While you won't be able to take most of your major-specific courses with us, our courses are a great way to help you fulfill other requirements.

To see our current course offerings and their descriptions, check out our Courses page.

How do I register for an Honors Program course?

Students have multiple opportunities to register for our courses!

  • Enrollment date windows:  Every honors-qualified student (and their academic advisor) can drop or add open Arts and Sciences Honors Program courses during a student's enrollment date window.
  • Open enrollment period: In mid-August, students will be able to make schedule adjustments before classes begin.
  • After classes begin: Students can adjust their schedules, and drop/add Honors classes as necessary, subject to availability.

For more details on our classes and how to enroll, please visit our Courses page.

What will my schedule look like if I take honors courses?

Students typically take one honors class per semester. This lets students balance classes for their major(s), classes to fulfill other educational requirements, and of course, electives. The majority of our courses fulfill some part of the Arts and Sciences Core Curriculum/Gen Ed requirements. While you won't be able to take most of your major-specific courses with us, our courses are a great way to help you fulfill other requirements.

You do not have to take Honors Program courses; it's completely optional. But, we're a great option! Our courses are limited to 17 honors-qualified students, which means that every student is essential to how the class functions. You'll get to know your peers as well as your professors, and it's a great way to start building friendships here at CU Boulder.  Many of the classes you need to take to meet your general education requirements are offered through the Honors Program, as well as some that satisfy requirements for your major.  Click here for more details on classes offered and how to enroll.

After your first year at CU, as long as you maintain a 3.3 GPA or higher, you are considered honors-qualified, which means you can continue to sign up for Honors courses and/or participate in our events and programs.

If you are participating in the Honors Residential Academic Program (HRAP), thus staying in the Honors dorm, taking an HRAP class is part of the contract.

Are Honors Program courses right for me?

If you thrive in a small group environment, want to dig deeper into topics, and/or enjoy conversations with other talented students, then you may be a great fit for an Arts and Sciences honors course. Talk to your academic advisor about what courses may be right for you.

I am deferring my admission. Can I still be in the Honors Program when I come back?

Absolutely. Your invitation should carry over from the previous year.

How many students are in the Honors Program?

Because any College of Arts & Sciences student who's been at CU longer than a year with a GPA of 3.3 or higher is considered honors-qualified, there is no set number.  Since our program is designed to be buffet-style, where you can select which aspects work for you, there are no restrictions on the number of honors-qualified students.

Is there an honors dorm? Do I have to live there?

Yes, we do have an honors dorm. The Honors Residential Academic Program (also known as Honors RAP or HRAP) is a subset of the Arts and Sciences Honors Program. Receiving an invitation into the Honors Program qualifies you to choose to apply to live in Smith Hall, home of the Honors RAP. 

You are not required to live in the Honors RAP to participate in the Arts and Sciences Honors Program; however, if you would like to be a part of the HRAP experience, please be aware that you must apply separately.  Details on the Honors RAP and application instructions can be found on their website.

What is the difference between the Honors Program and the Honors Residential Academic Program?

All honors-qualified undergraduates at CU Boulder are eligible to participate in the Honors Program offerings, as they choose.  There is no application process to become honors-qualified.  First-year students go through an automatic qualification process through the Admissions Office, and students who have been at CU longer than a year must maintain a 3.3 GPA or higher to participate. 

The Honors Residential Academic Program is a Residential Academic Program (RAP) for honors-qualified students that have also chosen to live in the Honors dorm.  Honors RAP students, in addition to participating in the residential honors experience, are also required to take one class per semester through the Honors RAP.  It is necessary to apply to the Honors RAP program in order to participate.

Will I get an honors advisor?

There is no honors-specific advising for the Honors Program. Because we are an enrichment program and our courses aren't required or tied to any major requirements, there's no need for specialized advising. If you're interested in taking an honors course, your academic advisor will be able to help you integrate it into your schedule.

Do I have to take Honors Program courses to graduate with honors?

Generally speaking, taking Honors courses has no bearing on whether or not you graduate with Latin honors (cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude).  Graduating with Latin honors in the College of Arts and Sciences is only possible by writing and successfully defending an honors thesis, usually in your senior year

There are two types of Honors theses - departmental and general honors.  If you choose to write a departmental thesis you will not be required to take any honors classes, although some departments do require taking certain classes offered through them.  If you choose to write a general honors thesis, which is more interdisciplinary, you will need to take at least 4 honors classes, one from each of the core areas - Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, and a Senior Seminar - and pass with an A or B. 

The vast majority of students who choose to write an Honors thesis will write a departmental one.  However, if you might be interested in writing a general honors thesis, please review the requirements so that you understand what classes you would need to take.

Does the Honors Program offer scholarships?

While the Honors Program is currently unable to offer funding to incoming students, students who qualify for the Honors Program are often qualified for scholarships; visit colorado.edu/scholarships for more information.  We do offer a scholarship to upperclassmen who are writing an Honors thesis; please visit our Scholarships page for more details

How can I start getting involved with the Honors Program right now?

We're so excited that you're interested in the Honors Program! You can start getting to know us at the Honors Program blog, run by our Student Advisory Board, and by liking us on Facebook.

What are Honors Program students like?

Our students come from all majors in the College of Arts and Sciences, so we are made up of actors, scientists, economists, linguists, and more. Any Arts and Sciences discipline you name, there are honors-qualified students who are a part of it.

I want to graduate with honors. When do I start planning that?

To graduate with Latin honors (cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude), a student in the College of Arts and Sciences must write and defend an honors thesis, usually in their senior year. While it’s never too early to think about an honors thesis, if you are a freshman, you may want to take some time to get settled into being a college student before you take on that particular challenge.  If you are a transfer student coming in as a junior or senior, you may want to check in with the Honors Program Coordinator or visit our Honors Thesis page soon to learn more details.

Are there other honors options at CU Boulder?

Yes, and they're usually based out of a particular school or college on our campus. Popular options include the Engineering Honors Program, the Leeds Honors Program, and the CMCI Honors Program. If your college or school isn't listed here, ask them about any options they may offer.