Certificate cover beside flower arrangement

General Honors research is designed to demonstrate a College of Arts and Sciences student's ability to conduct creative or scholarly research of a broad interdisciplinary nature. The Honors Program recommends that you begin the planning process for General Honors during your Junior year in order to fulfill all requirements, but it's never too early to start thinking about your project.  If you are writing a thesis within a major (Departmental Honors), the information on this page is not relevant.

Students who choose to pursue General Honors generally combine topics that include two or more Arts and Sciences disciplines. In the case of a student taking classes across colleges, it is possible to combine an Arts and Sciences discipline with one outside the College, although Honors will only be awarded for the Arts and Sciences degree.  

Examples of previous General Honors projects include:

  • a novel (English) about parasitology (MCDB).

  • a discussion of graffiti (Art History) and how it affects democracy (PSCI).

  • nutrition (IPHY) and social good (SOCY).

  • Asperger’s syndrome (NRSC) and education (EDUC).

To see more examples of interdisciplinary General Honors theses, visit the Undergraduate Honors Theses Repository on CU Scholar and do a keyword search for “General Honors”.  If you are considering a thesis topic spanning similar fields (for example, Integrative Physiology and Psychology) and you are majoring in one or both, you may want to propose your thesis idea to the major department(s) before applying to write a General Honors thesis.  If your topic is approved in one of the departments, it is very unlikely that it would be considered interdisciplinary enough to be approved for General Honors.  For more information on departmental theses, please click here.

Eligibility Criteria

Please note: New policies and procedures for the General Honors thesis process have been implemented as of March 17, 2023, effective immediately.

To be eligible to pursue General Honors, you must fulfill all the following criteria:

  1. Be an undergraduate student in the College of Arts and Sciences.
  2. Have a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or above.
  3. Have completed (or be able to complete) at least two classes in each discipline you wish to use for your thesis with a grade of B or above (for example, two classes in EBIO and two in SOCY), for a total of four classes.  Some tips:
    • Classes may be in progress during the semester you defend. 
    • If your topic spans more than two disciplines, please contact us for guidance. 
    • The department code may be less important than the content of the class.  For example, if the topic involves art sculptures, a related course might be ARTS 2384: Ephemeral Sculpture or CLAS 4099: Ancient Greek Sculpture.  You may be asked to provide syllabi for the listed courses.
    • You do not need to major or minor in a discipline in order to be able to write a general honors thesis about that discipline.
  4. Have completed (or be able to complete) ONE of the following with a grade of B or above:
    • The Honors Diversity Seminar (HONR 1810).
    • The Honors Writing Workshop (HONR 3220-880).  This class is designed to support students who are writing theses; be sure to select section 880.
    • Any 3000 to 4000-level Honors course ending in section 880 or 881.
  5. Have an interdisciplinary thesis idea and arrange for an Honors Program faculty member to serve as your Honors Council Representative.  A current list of General Honors representatives can be found at the bottom of this linked page.
  6. Secure two committee members in addition to the Honors Council Representative. Generally, these committee members are in each of the two disciplines, but this is not required.  You must arrange for a Thesis Advisor and Honors Council Representative to serve prior to submitting the General Honors application.  The additional committee member can be added once the application has been approved.  The additional committee member(s) may also be a member of the Honors Program faculty.  To learn more about building your thesis committee, including descriptions on each of the committee roles, please click here.

Projects are subject to approval and may require a follow-up discussion to review the interdisciplinary aspect of the proposed topic and/or the applicability of the listed classes in each discipline.  There is a two-step process: 

  1. You must submit your application to the General Honors committee for approval prior to registering your thesis.  Once the application is submitted, the committee will review the request and make a decision in consultation with the Honors Program Director.  
  2. If the application is approved, you must then register your thesis project with the Honors Program.  For more information on the registration process, please click here.

Please save your completed application as a PDF and submit it via an email attachment to honors@colorado.edu for consideration.  We may request syllabi for listed classes as part of the reviewing process; you are welcome to attach them as part of your initial submission if you like.  The General Honors reviewing committee will evaluate your application and you will be notified of their decision via email.  The review process can take some time, so please submit your application well before the deadline to register your thesis project; preferably at least two weeks prior or longer.  For information on registration deadlines, please click here.

Students pursuing a Distributed Studies degree may choose to apply to complete an interdisciplinary General Honors thesis project OR select an appropriate topic in one of their participating departments (contingent on departmental approval). The Latin honors designation would be attached to the Distributed Studies degree.

Download the General Honors Info Sheet and Application