Arts and Sciences Honors Program
College of Arts and Sciences students from any major who have an overall GPA of 3.3 or higher are also welcome to participate in the Arts and Sciences Honors Program.

About the IAFS Honors Program

Majors in the International Affairs Program have the opportunity to graduate with departmental honors with three grades: cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude. Honors are awarded by the University Honors Council on the basis of: overall academic record, performance in the writing of an honors thesis, and performance in an oral exam. Please refer to our IAFS honors standards for specific information.

Candidates for honors in International Affairs must have achieved:

  • at least a 3.3 overall grade point average,
  • at least a 3.4 grade point average in International Affairs courses,
  • and must have 90 or more credits and should apply one academic year before they will be graduating.
    • For example, students graduating in Spring 2024 should apply in March 2023 to be part of the Fall 23-Sp24 cohort. 

Candidates for honors in International Affairs must also complete: 

  • the International Affairs seminar IAFS 4800 in the Fall semester and thesis writing class IAFS 4810 in the Spring semester.
    • To review IAFS 4800 syllabi for examples of what the course entails, visit the IAFS Syllabi page
    • IAFS 4810 may count towards your geographic concentration or functional area if the thesis topic is relevant. 
  • an honors thesis written in close consultation with a faculty member whose serves as the primary thesis advisor.
    • More information about Thesis Advisors and Committees in is the "Resources for Honors Students" section below.
  • a one-hour oral exam administered by a three member faculty committee consisting of: 1) IAFS Honors Program Director; 2) primary thesis advisor; 3) at least one other CU professor.

    The Honors Program Director is Dr. Robert Wyrod, please email Dr. Wyrod or with any questions about the IAFS Honors Program. 

    The deadline to submit your application for the Fall 2024 Honors Program is Monday, March 11, 2024 at 5:00pm MST.  

    Steps to Apply for the Fall IAFS 4800 Honors Class:

    • The Honors Program Office is located in Norlin M400, phone: 303-492-6617.
    • Research Requirements and Opportunities
      • Human Research Committee (HRC) - All research involving human participants that is conducted by UCB faculty, staff or students must receive some level of review by the Human Research Committee. Information, instructions, and downloadable forms needed to complete the review process can be found on their site.
      • Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) - UROP funds undergraduate research, scholarly and creative work with several types of grants. Apply early! More information and application process can be found on their site.
      • Studio Lab - Studio gives undergraduate students the opportunity to be matched with a research mentor and be paid as research assistants, along with planned social events and profesisonal training sessions. 
    • Determining an Advisor: It is never too early to start speaking with professors about your proposed topic. However, before you formally ask someone to be your thesis primary faculty advisor, you must have a very concrete understanding of the topic. You should have a specific question in mind instead of telling a professor that you want to write something on "Europe," for example. Ideally, the honors director would want all students to have an advisor in place by early October of the fall semester they are enrolled in IAFS 4800.
    • Thesis Faculty Committee: Your thesis faculty committee may be made up of professors from any department at CU Boulder. It is up to an individual faculty member how many advisees s/he will take. Graduate students may not serve on honors thesis committees. The committee will include the IAFS Honors Director, a primary faculty advisor, and one more faculty member. It is strongly recommended student refer to the International Affairs Committee for a primary faculty advisor. If a member of the International Affairs Committee is not your primary advisor, you should select a member to be the other faculty on your committee. If you click on the faculty's name, you will see their area of expertise and interest.

    Graduating with Honors and writing a thesis can help you stand out from other job applicants, can get you published, is incredibly beneficial if you are considering graduate school, and the research can be practical and life changing.

    Elle (Schlageter) Haley (IAFS ’22) completed the research for her Honors Thesis on a boat in the Mediterranean Sea as she helped rescue refugee migrants with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF – also known as Doctors Without Borders). You can read her paper here. After Elle graduated from CU Boulder, she returned to the Mediterranean Sea with MSF where she continued to assist in refugee rescues.

    IAFS Honors Thesis Defense

    When you are approaching the time when you will be presenting and defending your IAFS Honors Thesis, generally during the Spring semester, you must complete the IAFS Thesis Defense Worksheet at least 48 hours before your schdeduled defense. The worksheet is a DocuSign PowerForm which you will fill in the requested information and submit. Once submitted, the form will be sent to the IAFS Honors Program Director. *The PowerForm must be completed in one sitting. 

    To complete the IAFS Thesis Defense Worksheet, the following information must be provided:

    IAFS Honors Thesis Database

    IAFS is proud of all the Honors Thesis submitted and defended. To see the wide range of topics and research completed by all IAFS honors students, you can visit the CU Library database of IAFS Honors Thesis

    Outstanding IAFS Honors Theses

    Every year, IAFS honors program undergraduate students present phenomenal, high-level research theses. Below, we have some of our most outstanding IAFS honors theses. You are welcome to browse through and read one, and be in touch if you'd like more information on these topics or their authors.