Lower-division Honors Requirements

General guidelines for first- and second-year Honors student to remain in good standing in the Honors Program are based on standards developed during the Program's nearly fifty-year history. They are designed to provide a sound base for the undergraduate experience and to allow students to acquire knowledge, develop analytic skills, and exercise creative abilities and critical faculties of mind. If you have a legitimate reason not to follow guidelines, you should discuss it with an Honors advisor and have the advisor note it in your file.

The basic four requirements for a lower-division Honors student are:

  • an average of two Honors courses per term for the first four full terms of Honors,
  • a course load of 14-18 credit hours,
  • an overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.4 or better,
  • three courses in the Honors Core curriculum, one in each division (HU, NS, SS).

There are two main sections: Honors Courses and the Honors Core Curriculum.

Honors Courses

Honors courses are offered by nearly every department in the college. The Honors Core requirement will shape three of your eight required honors courses; the subject matter of the other five are entirely up to you. We encourage you to use Honors courses for concentration prerequisites, distribution requirements, or simply to explore a topic in which you have developed an interest.

Several types of Honors courses are offered for lower-division students:

  • courses offered by various departments intended only for Honors students (for example, Honors Intro to Philosophy, Phil 297, or Honors mathematics courses).
  • sections of regular courses for Honors students (e.g. Honors sections of Intro to Anthropology and Intro to Comparative Politics).
  • courses sponsored by the Honors Program (e.g. Honors Core, Honors Seminars and Honors Independent Research).
  • additional enrichment experiences related to courses (e.g. Introductory Microeconomics Workshop taken with Intro Microeconomics, or the structured study group taken along with Chemistry, Physics for the Life Sciences and other courses).

Some upper level courses also count as Honors courses for first- and second-year students and many courses may be converted to Honors courses with the agreement of the professor and the Honors Program. You advisor can give you more details on these options.

Honors Core Curriculum

The Honors Core forms the foundation for an Honors education at U-M. Designed specifically for Honors students by innovative faculty the Honors Core Curriculum provides rigorous, wide-reaching introductory courses across the three academic divisions in LSA: the Natural Sciences (NS), the Social Sciences (SS), and the Humanities (HU).  The Honors Core builds on the fine tradition of our historic Great Books course, which remains a Core Humanities course.  The Core extends, to other areas, the many strengths of Great Books: foundational content, critical analysis, excellent instruction in writing, and social bonding. 

Successful completion of the first and second-year Honors Program requirements with an above-average GPA (3.7) will entitle you to receive the Sophomore Honors Award.