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 all requiring a minimum major GPA of at least 3.33 (with this GPA decided by the department or program), honors related courses, and a special project.  Specific requirements may be found in the General Catalog under the chapter related to the major and its requirements. (See the Honors tab on the program of study page.) 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 wishing to learn more about Honors in CLAS should first meet with the faculty member acting as the coordinator for Honors in the Major in that department or program as soon as possible to discuss requirements, experiences, and projects of interest to the student. A list of those faculty advisors is at this link

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, many students earn both University Honors and Honors in the Major. The UI Honors Program allows undergraduates to complete Honors in the Major for the 12 s.h experiential learning requirement for UI Honors. It is not necessary for the student to submit the thesis or project to the UI Honors program since they receive information about the Honors in the Major through the student record system.

Each student's goals and needs are unique and all students are strongly encouraged to talk with advisors and mentors who can support the student's individual choice 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 an honor requirement 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 faculty member advising for the department's Honors in the Major program 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 must apply for the degree during the semester in which all requirements will be met. A Degree Application must be filed for a student to be considered eligible for the degree. The University of Iowa does not confer degrees without a completed application. Please note the important deadline for this application. Students are urged to apply as soon as possible.

  • Students should meet with their professional academic advisor before completing a degree application to ensure appropriate timing for completing all needed requirements for graduation. The professional advisor, the faculty mentor overseeing the thesis or project, and the departmental Honors in the Major faculty coordinator all must be kept aware of your progress as you complete the requirements for Honors in the Major.

Students must also make sure that any related thesis or project is submitted to the instructor grading the project as soon as possible in the semester of graduation. Verification for this project or for the thesis as well as final courses must be completed and graded 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 the award of Honors in the Major. 

Students should discuss these procedures with their professional advisor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, with the faculty mentor overseeing the final Honors in the Major project or thesis, and with the department's faculty coordinator for Honors in the Major.

Students apply for the degree via the MyUI student portal during the semester of completion of all requirements for the degree and for Honors in the Major. The student must be in Pursuing Honors status before the application for the degree occurs. The professional academic advisor in most departments ensures the student's academic record has been updated to this Pursuing status.

Visit the Registrar's page for more information on the application for graduation and the deadline.

Submission of the Honors Thesis

For information about the submission of a thesis or project to UI Iowa Research Online, a service provided by UI libraries, please see this page. All students are encouraged to participate in sharing their work through the UI IRO repository but students are not required to submit a thesis to this site. Likewise, students are not required to submit the thesis to a central CLAS location nor to University Honors.