Upper Division Honors

Students in the Upper Division Honors Program have an opportunity to earn the Honors Degree, which is available to any major at the UHM.   Candidates for the Honors Degree are acknowledged at Commencement, both in the formal ceremony and in the program, and the Degree is annotated on the transcript and on a special diploma.


Students in upper-division Honors follow a course of study that leads to independent research and creative work supervised by a member of faculty.  To be eligible to graduate with an Honors degree students must normally earn a total of 12 credits, six of which are in preparatory seminar classes, and six of which are credit for independent research and creative work.   Usually, these credits are earned in the following sequence:

Ideally, this sequence takes four semesters, but it is possible to take as few as three, including one summer semester.  HON 495 is a pre-requisite for HON 496, and cannot be taken concurrently, and HON 496 (Sec. 2) must be taken after HON 496 (Sec. 1),  and cannot be taken concurrently.  HON 491 is not part of the sequence and may be taken in any Fall or Spring semester.  Students in Selected Studies who have earned Sophomore Honors are waived from HON 491. Please note that only one 3-credit section of HON 496 can be taken during summer sessions. 

Waiver Policy

Please note that in some cases, a Study Abroad semester or another "breadth" experience (such as National Student Exchange, Western Undergraduate Exchange, a multi-disciplinary seminar, or internship), may  substitute for HON 491.  Also an upper division research design or methods courses may substitute for HON 495 and senior thesis courses may substitute for part or all of the HON 496.

All Honors students must present a research proposal in both oral and poster form at the Fall Forum or Spring Symposium.  They must also present the final version of their thesis at the Fall Forum or Spring Symposium and engage in a "conversation" with their committee about their project.

In addition to the presentation, students completing a Senior Honors Project will engage in a conversation with their committee.

Students must submit some additional materials to the Honors Program to become a candidate for Graduation with Honors.  Please see the following document:

All Honors students, starting in Fall 2009, must also complete the "Engagement Requirement" as detailed on this website:

Services and Privileges

Honors students in the upper division enjoy the following special services and privileges:


The Director of the Honors Program is available for personal advising throughout the calendar year.  At the start of each semester, students working on their Senior Honors Projects must meet with the Director.

Library privileges

While taking HON 495 and working on their Senior Honors Project, students are able to check out books from Hamilton Library for an entire semester, the same extended-loan privileges that are given to graduate students.

Honors Courses

Students in the Upper Division Honors Program may also take additional courses offered by the Honors Program if they desire. In particular, highly motivated students may want to take our course that prepares them for major scholarship applications (HON 498) or one of the capstone courses for Selected Studies that provides training in opportunities for engagement.

Graduate seminars

Seniors in the Honors Program may enroll for up to two three credit graduate courses per semester, provided that they meet the minimum requirements and obtain permission of the instructor.

Exemptions from Honors Program Requirements

We encourage students to pursue their own individual interests and to aim for excellence in all that they do.  To assist you to reach your goals and your full potential we try to be as flexible and accommodating as we can.  If you have good reasons to substitute a course or experience for one of our requirements, especially if you have the support of an advisor or faculty mentor, we encourage you to make a request using our petition form. 

Withdrawing from Honors

Students in the Honors Program make an extra commitment to academic study and extra-curricular activities, and we realize that even for the most talented and motivated students circumstances can sometimes change enough to prevent such a commitment. You may withdraw any time from Selected Studies or the Honors Program without any penalty or prejudice.  We hope that you will come to see an advisor to talk about your situation and how we might help you to stay in the program.  If you still decide that Honors is really not for you, you must complete a withdrawal form to avoid receiving annoying emails and threatening letters!  It is also helpful to us if you can provide us with some explanation of your decision so that we can better understand and meet the needs of our students.