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 overlap with the UW general education requirements.
  • The Honors 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 Terry 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 the UW Honors Program (Interdisciplinary Honors)?” This will open the Honors application, where you will respond to two additional essay prompts. If at any point you no longer wish to apply to Honors, you must uncheck the button to proceed.

The 2021 Honors application essay prompts are:

Instructions: Respond to the essay prompts using no more than 300 words each.

1. What is your understanding of the UW Interdisciplinary Honors Program and why do you want to be a part of it?

2. Consider two very different subjects you have previously studied; tell us how you imagine bringing those together at UW to engage with a pressing societal concern. This could be a local, national, or global concern.

Notification of Honors admission. The Honors Program reviews applications separately from UW Admission – you must be admitted to UW to be admitted to the Honors Program, but your Honors admission decision has no bearing on the UW decision. Honors sends a separate decision email after you are officially admitted to the UW. If you are admitted to the UW, you should expect to receive a decision email from Honors between March 22 and April 16.

Competitiveness. The Honors application process is competitive. In 2020, over 4,100 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. Applicants will be notified if they were selected for one of these scholarships when they receive their offer of admission to the Honors Program

Plan your academic track. If you expect to earn a substantial number of incoming college credits (30 or more) before coming to UW, 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 to learn more.

Second year admission. Students already enrolled at the UW may apply for Second Year Admission into the Interdisciplinary Honors Program during spring quarter of their freshman year.

Departmental Honors. Departmental Honors allows students 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 students to complete 47 credits of general education, some transfer students find Departmental Honors a better option.

See more details on the Honors website, including information on how to learn more and how to apply.