Honors Program

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Honors Program

The University Honors Program brings together some of Iowa State University's brightest and most motivated students to take advantage of both intellectual and social opportunities.  Honors scholars gain early exposure to research and leadership as well as benefit from creating an individualized educational path adding breadth and depth to their academic experience.

Students in the First-Year Honors Program typically enroll in five Honors credits in their first term (ENGL 2500H, LIB 1600, Honors 121) and may opt to participate in the First-Year Mentor Program, a two-credit research experience during their second term. In the University Honors Program, students receive a variety of academic opportunities to help them optimize their undergraduate experience. They create individualized programs of study with opportunities to incorporate independent study and research. Grants are available to support Honors student research. Students who complete their work in the University Honors Program receive a notation on their transcript.

All Honors students take at least two Honors courses and two Honors seminars (listed as HON 321-324), complete an independent research or creative project, and maintain an overall GPA of 3.5 or higher. Most Honors requirements also fulfill requirements for graduation. Depending on the college of their primary major, students may need to fulfill additional requirements

Honors credit for a course is denoted by an "H" on the transcript and can be earned in the following ways: enrollment in an Honors section of a class, contracting an Honors Component within a class, enrollment in a 500-level graduate course.

Honors seminars are one- or two-credit special topic classes offered only to Honors students. With enrollment generally limited to 17 students, these seminars promote a crucial atmosphere of intellectual exchange and a high level of student involvement in learning.

Oversight of Honors students’ progress is carried out by the Honors Program staff in coordination with the undergraduate colleges. Each college’s Honors committee approves its students’ programs of study and project proposals. The University Honors Program Committee is responsible for the program's curricular oversight. The Honors Program Office is located at 2130 Jischke Honors Building. For additional information, visit www.honors.iastate.edu or contact honors@iastate.edu.


The Iowa State University Honors Program is designed for students who have demonstrated the ability and motivation to assume more than the usual responsibility for their undergraduate education. The program enables honors students to gain the maximum benefit from their undergraduate education. Students who graduate in the Honors Program receive the honors designation on their transcripts and diplomas.

Special educational opportunities. Students in the Honors Program determine their educational objectives and devise an individualized program of study to meet them. An honors program may include substitutions for required courses, a combination of courses from several departments to form a new major or minor, Honors courses or seminars, independent study and research, and other forms of innovation.

Other benefits. Members of the Honors Program have 24-hour access to the Jischke Honors Building as a quiet place to study and visit with other honors students. Students also have off-campus opportunities such as attending honors semesters and conferences. Members receive extended loan privileges at the Library, priority scheduling, and the opportunity to apply for research funds.

ISU students who have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.5 become eligible to apply for admission to the Honors Program during their second semester in residence and continue to be eligible as long as they have at least 48 semester credits remaining before graduation. Transfer students with a G.P.A. of 3.5 or higher and more than 60 credits remaining are also eligible to apply.


Entering first-year students with outstanding high school records and academic ability may be eligible to participate in the First-Year Honors Program (FHP). The FHP, which introduces students to an honors education, consists of honors sections of English 250 and Library 160, an FHP seminar, and honors advisors. Students may also choose to participate in the Honors Mentor Program, which introduces students to scholarship and research. Participants are matched with faculty members conducting research in an areas of mutual interest. Admission to the FHP is limited, and is based on past academic achievement, potential, and interest in an honors education.

Further information concerning the University Honors Program and the First-Year Honors Program can be obtained from the Honors Program Office, 2130 Jischke Honors Building or www.honors.iastate.edu.