A student smiles with his faculty supervisor at the Medallion Ceremony.

University Honors is the highest academic distinction a student may earn as an undergraduate at UNCW. This course of study involves specific required classwork in enriched seminar experiences in University Studies, co-curricular activities, honors enrichment seminars and independent scholarly research. This vibrant experience may be integrated into any major for the student and provide an opportunity for close scholarly interaction between student and faculty, more in-depth involvement within the student's academic discipline.

University Honors includes Departmental Honors, but Departmental Honors does not include University Honors. A student who completes the four-year curriculum of University Honors will receive a diploma with the notation, "University Honors with Honors in [MAJOR]". A student who completes only the Departmental Honors project will receive a diploma with the notation, "Honors in [MAJOR]."

The Honors College at the University of North Carolina Wilmington attracts and retains academically talented students, offering a powerful learning experience by encouraging curiosity, critical thinking, and independent work skills, and by developing a community of honors scholars on campus. The College is committed to offering opportunities to students as they pursue their academic passions in college. The vision of the program is to encourage and support life-long learning, including a global perspective.

Honors College Requirements for Graduation with University Honors

Please note: since the Honors Program became an Honors College, requirements have changed. Curricular updates were most recently made in Summer 2021.

You can visit the Fall 2021 Curricular Updates webpage for more information.

To graduate with University Honors, all students enrolled in the program must take a combination of the following:

The exact number of credits and courses required varies by student category and catalogue year.

  • Honors Interdisciplinary Seminars, 3-credit courses which include HON 110 (First-Year Seminar) and HON 210, 211, or 212
  • Honors Enrichment Seminars, 1-credit courses which include HON 191, 121, 120, and 399
  • Honors University Studies courses, which are general education courses taught as honors sections (for example, honors BIO 201)
  • Honors electives, which can include a contract course, additional Honors University Studies, a semester of study abroad, a graduate class, etc.
  • Departmental Honors, or the honors thesis, which is a 6-credit, year-long project

Learn more about types of honors courses in the student handbook.

To maintain academic eligibility, students must:

  • Achieve an overall GPA of 3.30 at the completion of 27 credit hours at UNCW, and an overall GPA of 3.50 at the completion of 58 credit hours at UNCW.
  • Earn a minimum of a "C" (2.00) in all honors work ("B" (3.00) in 499 and honors contract courses) and have a 3.00 overall GPA in all honors curriculum coursework.
    • If a student earns a grade below a "C" in an honors university studies course, the grade may count toward that student's basic studies requirements but not toward his or her honors requirements. If that student wishes to complete the honors requirements for University Honors, he or she must take an additional honors university (basic) studies course and earn no lower than a "C."
    • Students earning below a "C" in HON 210/211/212 or HON 120/121 must take additional seminars, respectively, and earn no lower than a "C."
  • Avoid completing more than 2 consecutive fall or spring semesters without taking an honors course (unless you have completed honors requirements). 
  • University Honors Requirements for Catalogue Year Fall 2021 and Later

    For students who entered as first-semester, first-year students in Fall 2021 or later

    Required courses:

    • HON 110 (3 credits)
    • 3 courses (9 credit hours) of Honors University Studies courses
      • **Early college students need only take 2 courses (6 hours) of Honors University Studies
    • 1 course (1 credit hour) of HON 120, 121, or 191 ("Interdisciplinary Honors Seminars")
    • 1 course (1 credit hour) of HON 399: A Thesis Preparation Course
    • 1 course (3 credit hours) of HON 210, 211, or 212
    • 3 credits of honors electives, which can include a contract course, additional Honors University Studies, a semester of study abroad, a graduate class, etc.
    • Departmental Honors, AKA honors thesis (6 credit hours)

    Total credits: 26 hours

    For students who entered as transfer students OR who applied to Honors after their first semester at UNCW, Fall 2021 or later

    Required courses:

    • 2 courses (6 credit hours) of Honors University Studies courses
    • 1 course (1 credit hour) of HON 120, 121, or 191 ("Interdisciplinary Honors Seminars")
    • 1 course (1 credit hour) of HON 399: A Thesis Preparation Course
    • 1 course (3 credit hours) of HON 210, 211, or 212
    • 3 credits of honors electives, which can include a contract course, additional Honors University Studies, a semester of study abroad, a graduate class, etc.
    • Departmental Honors, AKA honors thesis (6 credit hours)

    Total credits: 20 hours

  • University Honors Requirements for Catalogue Year Before Fall 2021

    For students who entered as first-semester, first-year students before Fall 2021

    Required courses:

    • HON 110 (3 credits)
    • 3 courses (9 credit hours) of Honors University Studies courses
      • **Early college students need only take 2 courses (6 hours) of Honors University Studies
    • 2 courses (2 credit hours) of HON 120, 121, or 191
    • 1 course (3 credit hours) of HON 210, 211, or 212
    • 3 credits of honors electives, which can include a contract course, additional Honors University Studies, a semester of study abroad, a graduate class, etc.
    • Departmental Honors, AKA honors thesis (6 credit hours)

    Total credits: 26 hours

    For students who entered as transfer students OR who applied to Honors after their first semester at UNCW, before Fall 2021

    Required courses:

    • 2 courses (6 credit hours) of Honors University Studies courses
    • 2 courses (2 credit hours) of HON 120, 121, or 191 ("Interdisciplinary Honors Seminars")
    • 1 course (3 credit hours) of HON 210, 211, or 212
    • 3 credits of honors electives, which can include a contract course, additional Honors University Studies, a semester of study abroad, a graduate class, etc.
    • Departmental Honors, AKA honors thesis (6 credit hours)

    Total credits: 20 hours

  • Bridge Honors for Transfer Students

    In Fall 2021 we are launching the Bridge Honors Program, specifically designed for transfer students. University Honors will still be an option for transfer students for whom it is a better fit.

    >> Learn more about the Bridge Honors vs. University Honors

    For transfer students who enroll in the new Honors Bridge Program in Fall 2021 or later

    • 1 course (1 credit hour) of HON 399: A Thesis Preparation Course OR HON 191: Intro to Research and Discovery
    • Departmental Honors, AKA Honors thesis (6 credit hours)
    • 5-6 credit hours of Honors seminars, from these options:
      • Option 1: Two courses of HON 210/211/212 (6 credit hours)
      • Option 2: One course of HON 210/211/212 (3 credit hours) AND two courses of HON 120/121 (2 credit hours)
      • Option 3: One approved high-impact practice (contract class, graduate course, approved internship, study abroad, etc.)
      • AND one of the following:
        • One course of HON 210/211/212 (3 credits)
        • Two courses of HON 120/121 (2 credits)

    Total credits: 12-13 hours

  • Honors Requirements Worksheets and Tracking

How to Apply

Students may apply to the Honors College at several different times. Most students apply to enter as first semester freshmen as applications for first-year students are tied to the general UNCW application and are reviewed on a rolling basis once the Admissions Office has rendered a decision.

We encourage students to apply by UNCW's Early Action deadline for the best chance of admission and scholarships. We will also keep a waiting list in case spots open during the summer.

Students may also apply after completing one or two semesters at UNCW, and grades earned at UNCW are weighted highly. Transfer students are also urged to apply.

Any current UNCW student or transfer student may apply for departmental honors in the junior or senior year as long as they meet the criteria.

Submit an Application to the Honors College