Honors in the Major

Honors in the Major: CLAS

Undergraduate students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences have the opportunity to graduate with Honors in the Major, with related honors projects ranging from research in a UI lab to a theatrical or musical performance or from a thesis on a theme, topic, or special interest of the student to the completion of a volume of poetry, for example. 

CLAS undergraduates earning Honors in the Major must maintain a minimum cumulative University of Iowa GPA of at least 3.33.

Other requirements for earning Honors in the Major are set by the department or program offering the major, with most also requiring a minimum major GPA, honors related courses, and a special project.  Specific requirements may be found in the General Catalog under the chapter related to the particular major and its requirements (see the Honors tab). Most departments and programs also have these requirements on the departmental or program website; links to these websites by major are included on the contact page for the Faculty Honors in the Major Advisor.

Undergraduates should meet with the Faculty Honors in the Major Advisor as soon as possible about requirements, experiences, and projects of interest to the undergraduate student.

Students who have earned Honors in the Major will see this achievement added to the Commencement Program and announced at the graduation ceremony; the designation is also noted on the transcript and diploma.

Honors in the Major and the University of Iowa Honors Program

CLAS students earning Honors in the Major are not required to be members of the University Honors Program; however, some students earn both University Honors and Honors in the Major. This dual accomplishment is encouraged by the UI Honors Program, which allows students to complete Honors in the Major for the 12 s.h experiential learning requirement for UI Honors.

Students involved in multiple activities and with a wide range of interests often find Honors in the Major as the "best fit" plan of study. Each student's needs are unique and all students are strongly encouraged to talk with advisors and mentors who can help support the student's individual choices about how to pursue honors opportunities at the University of Iowa.

Honors Contract Courses

An honors contract allows an undergraduate to earn honors credit for a course that can be applied to honors requirements even if the course is not formally designated as an Honors offering.

The student works directly with the instructor of the course, with the student proposing an additional project to be completed during the student's enrollment in the course. Before requesting an honors contract for a non-honors course, the student must meet with the Honors Advisor for major to see if the course will count toward the Honors in the Major requirements. If the honors contract course will be used for UI Honors requirements, that program must also approve the contract.

Please see this page for more specific information on honors contract courses.

Application for Graduation 

Students graduating with Honors in the Major must apply for the degree during the semester in which all requirements will be met. 

  • Students must meet with their advisors before completing a degree application to ensure appropriate timing for earning Honors in the Major.
  • At the end of the semester before graduation or at the beginning of the semester of graduation, students must meet with the professional advisor for the related CLAS major to review the student's progress of the Honors in the Major before the student applies for the degree.

Students must also make sure that any related thesis or project is submitted as soon as possible in the semester of graduation to the instructor grading the project. Verification of this project or thesis and its grading must be completed before Honors in the Major can be awarded.

  • The student is responsible for making sure the project or thesis is completed in ample time to be graded and verified for Honors in the Major.

Students should discuss these procedures with their professional advisor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and with the faculty member overseeing the final Honors in the Major project or thesis.

Students apply for degree via the MyUI student portal during the semester of completion of all requirements for the degree and for Honors in the Major. A Degree Application must be filed for a student to be considered eligible for degree. The University of Iowa does not confer degrees without a complete application. Visit the Registrar's page for more information on the application for graduation and related questions.

Submission of the Honors Thesis

Students who are completing Honors in the Major as a component for the University Honors experiential learning requirement must use the UI Honors thesis submission form and follow its submission instructions.

Most departments use a similar or the same form for the submission of a thesis for Honors in the Major even if the student is not completing University Honors. Please check with with the Faculty Honors Advisor or with the professional advisor in the major for related procedures about submission of the thesis. All completed theses, after approval from the related faculty member, are submitted to the University of Iowa library archive unless an exception is requested.