Honors in the Major

Honors in the Major offers CALS students an advanced program of study within the students’ major fields and closely related disciplines. In this track students must complete a specified number of honors credits in a designated set of courses. Students must be well prepared in courses leading into the major field of study and be willing to devote time and energy to a rigorous academic experience. Well-prepared students who plan to obtain advanced degrees in the discipline should consider applying to participate in Honors in the Major. This option is not offered by every department in the College. Students should check with the Office of Academic Affairs or the department to see if there is an approved plan for their program.

To earn Honors in the Major, students must first be admitted to the College’s Honors Program, and must maintain an overall GPA  of at least 3.25 and no less than 3.0 in Honors (or equivalent) coursework. Students may apply for admission to the Honors Program for Honors in the Major at any time, but are strongly advised to apply before the junior year. A departmental advisor or advisory committee monitors progress toward Honors in the Major. The Department will certify satisfactory completion to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs prior to graduation.

The Honors in the Major requirements vary by department, but all are approved by the College Honors Committee to include the following requirements:

  1. Students must successfully complete at least 20 credits of courses taken for honors (or equivalent) from a list of courses provided by the department. The list may include honors and advanced non-honors courses that add rigor to the undergraduate program in the major.
  2. Students must prepare a Senior Honors Thesis (including preparing a research proposal, conducting the research and presenting the results orally and in writing). A student’s faculty advisor is responsible for approving the Senior Honors Thesis, in consultation with the student’s research mentor if different from the advisor. The department sets the number of Senior Honors Research credits (681-682) for the thesis. Thesis credits are not included in the 20 credits of honors (or equivalent) course work required to earn Honors in the Major.
  3. Students must present their Senior Honors Thesis at the CALS Spring Research Forum or another public research arena.
  4. The thesis must be approved by both the student’s advisor and mentor (if different from the advisor) and submitted electronically to CALS Academic Affairs Office, before the student can be awarded the designation “graduate with honors”. The following documents must accompany the thesis:
    1. Cover Sheet — Students electing to make their theses public should use the Submitting Your Honors Thesis Cover Sheetwith permission to post on Minds@UW; those choosing not to make their theses public should use the Submitting Your Honors Thesis Cover Sheetwithout permission to post on Minds@UW. If a student opts to make his or her thesis available to the public, Steenbock will upload the thesis to the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Honors and Undergraduate Research Program section of Minds@UW.
    2. Abstract Page — The Abstract Page requires an abstract of not more than 150 words and must be signed by both the student and his/her research mentor.
    3. Presentation Form — The presentation form requires student and mentor signatures with attached documentation of the presentation.

    Upon successful completion of program requirements, students are awarded the Bachelor of Science degree with Honors.

    For more information contact us in CALS Academic Affairs at (608) 262-3003.

    Honors in the Major Checklists