Expand your experience 

The UW Honors Program invites students to deepen their undergraduate education within an enriching academic community. We welcome a diverse population of students to explore diverse perspectives through a rigorous interdisciplinary curriculum that promotes innovative thinking, critical reflection, and conscious global citizenship. Students become expansive critical thinkers by drawing from the sciences, arts, and humanities to develop their own identity as leaders who bridge disciplines. Bringing selected faculty into close contact with dedicated students in small general education classes allows the Honors Program to combine the intimacy of an interdisciplinary liberal arts college with the strengths of a top public research university.

Quick facts:

  • Honors offers three options: Interdisciplinary, College, and Departmental Honors.
  • Honors courses fulfill the UW general education requirements and the curriculum integrates research, leadership, community service and reflection to create the college experience that fits YOU.
  • Interdisciplinary Honors students keep a reflective portfolio showcasing their learning inside and outside of the classroom.
  • $1.2 million in resident and non resident scholarships are awarded through the Honors Program annually.
  • There are designated Honors floors in Lander Hall to experience community outside of the classroom.
  • Students take approximately one Honors class per quarter with an average class size of 18-35.
  • Honors annually offers a wide selection of international programs around the world.
  • Students in Honors represent over 100 majors ranging from English to computer science, psychology to biochemistry, engineering to music, dance to public health, with many combining majors to earn double degrees and minors.
  • Honors students come from 26 states in the U.S. and international locations across the globe
  • Approximately 70% of Honors students come from public high schools, 25% from private high schools and 5% from homeschooling or other educational systems.

Honors application process

Freshman application. If you are applying to the UW as a freshman, you will find the Honors application within the UW questions of the Coalition application, after the writing section. Answer “yes” to the question that asks whether you “would you like to apply for admission to Interdisciplinary Honors?” This will open the Honors application, where you will respond to additional essay prompts. If at any point you no longer wish to apply to Honors, you must uncheck the button to proceed.

The 2020 Honors application essay prompts are:

  1. What is your understanding of the UW Interdisciplinary Honors Program and why do you want to be a part of it?
  2. Consider at least two very different subjects you’ve studied in school; tell us how you imagine bringing those together in your first year at the UW to engage with a pressing global concern.

Notification of Honors admission. The Honors Program reviews applications and sends decision letters in a separate evaluation process after you are officially admitted to the UW. If you are admitted to the UW, you should expect to receive a decision letter from Honors between March 20 and April 13.

Competitiveness. The Honors application process is competitive. In 2019, over 5,200 applications were received for 225 spaces. The admissions committee reviews all applicants holistically to admit diverse thinkers from a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives.

Honors scholarships. The Honors Program offers a number of resident and non-resident merit-based scholarships to incoming Honors freshmen. Every student who applies and is admitted to Interdisciplinary Honors will be evaluated for our scholarships; no additional application is necessary and no additional materials will be accepted.

Plan your academic track. If you expect to earn a substantial number of incoming college credits (30 or more), you should carefully review which Honors option fits best in your academic plans. Both Interdisciplinary and College Honors degrees require the completion of an Honors general education curriculum, and college credit completed elsewhere do not satisfy these requirements. Students with many incoming credits may choose to pursue Departmental Honors instead. Please visit the Honors website or contact Honors advising if you have questions regarding Honors degree options.

Second year admission. Students who are already enrolled at the UW may apply for Second Year Admission into the Interdisciplinary Honors Program during spring quarter of their freshman year. Applications are accepted from current UW freshmen and invitations are issued to those who have demonstrated academic excellence during their first two quarters at the UW.

Departmental Honors. Departmental Honors allows students the opportunity to explore their chosen major in greater depth, usually with guidance from a faculty member. Students typically apply for departmental admission in their junior year of college, although some majors have earlier entrance options.

Transfer students. Transfer students who have been admitted to the UW and have either participated in honors programs at their previous institution or who have strong college academic records are eligible to apply to Interdisciplinary Honors. Because Interdisciplinary Honors requires student to complete 47 credits of general education, some transfer students may find Departmental Honors a better option.

Find more details on the Honors website, including how to apply, information sessions, and how to set up a prospective student appointment with an Honors adviser.

Watch an Honors freshman information session.