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University Honors Program

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Honors Courses

Honors courses are open to qualified undergraduates in any school of the university.

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University Honors Program

The University Honors Program provides opportunities for outstanding and creative undergraduate students in all schools at KU to develop their full potential during their undergraduate years. The Honors Program brings talented students together in honors classes and seminars to benefit from mutual interests and association. It brings students and faculty members together in a teaching and research environment that ensures high academic achievement and standards. The program also coordinates merit-based scholarship opportunities for qualified students, including KU awards such as the University Scholars Program, and Undergraduate Research Awards. The Honors Student Association and the Honors Ambassador Program provide opportunities for student leadership.

In general, honors classes are small, oriented to discussion, and taught by full-time members of the faculty. Most honors courses fulfill requirements and deal with introductory fundamentals and principles, but they are likely to do so in more depth than their non-honors equivalents. Honors courses are distinguished by the energetic atmosphere and critical thinking generated by the students in them and the faculty members who teach them.

Honors students are interested in expanding their knowledge and take a broad range of liberal arts and sciences courses. This is true of students in the professional schools (architecture, engineering, business, etc.) as well as students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Honors program advisers typically recommend that students explore their interests through the broad curriculum choices KU has to offer.

A first-year, semester-long tutorial experience provides an introduction to an academic area of study in an informal setting that allows students to get to know one another and the instructor. The tutorial explores the research methods of a discipline and acquaints the student with the research resources at KU. Honors advising is personalized in meetings with honors staff, faculty fellows, and specially selected advisers from across the university. The program’s advising committee facilitates early and frequent contact with academic advisers in the students’ areas of interest. Honors students benefit from priority enrollment, which provides flexibility in planning one’s academic curriculum.

The program does not require a minimum number of honors courses a semester. However, students in the program quickly discover that honors courses engage the intellect, hold the interest, and create the enthusiasm for learning they seek at a university. Students in the professional schools are particularly encouraged to seek out honors course opportunities early, while their curricula still have breadth and flexibility.

Honors students are strongly encouraged to include research, study abroad experiences, internships, and community service in their academic programs. Consult Honors Program staff about applying these activities toward completion of honors requirements.

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Students with strong high school curricula and excellent academic records are encouraged to apply to the University Honors Program. Students with composite ACT scores of 30 or above and unweighted high school grade-point averages of 3.75 or above are more likely to be admitted. Applications are evaluated on the basis of high school curriculum, grades, an essay, activities, and standardized test scores. Applications from first- and second-year students currently attending KU, as well as incoming transfer students, are evaluated on the basis of college course work, an essay, and college activities. Review of applications begins in October and continues through April. Send inquiries to the University Honors Program, 1506 Engel Road, Lawrence, KS 66045-3845. View further information and the online application.

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Completion of the Program

Students graduate from the program by completing 8 honors units and the first-year, semester-long tutorial. The 8 units must be completed as follows:

  1. 6 honors courses (may include graduate-level courses numbered 700 and above).
  2. 1 out-of-classroom experience such as study abroad, departmental honors, documented research experience, approved and documented internship experience, or approved and documented community service.
  3. The eighth unit may be from either category 1 or category 2. Students also must maintain a minimum 3.25 grade-point average.
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Nunemaker Center

This unique building, with its modern architectural design, is the home of the Honors Program, near the Daisy Hill residence halls at 15th Street and Engel Road. The Honors Program is home to several faculty fellows who serve the program and bring additional resources to the program to complement the full-time staff. Faculty fellows are available for advising, consultation about majors and careers, guiding research projects, and work with the Honors Council to develop programmatic initiatives.

Students are encouraged to take advantage of the spaces available at Nunemaker, including several classrooms and study areas, a kitchen, comfortable lounges that include 2 fireplaces, and wireless Internet access. Nunemaker also serves as a gallery for undergraduate art. The center is open days and evenings.

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The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression and genetic information in the University’s programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access,, 1246 W. Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS, 66045, (785)864-6414, 711 TTY.