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What exactly is the Honors College?

The Honors College at UMass Lowell is a 24-credit (8 course) experience for high achieving undergraduate students of all majors. The Honors College is designed to offer an enriching experience that focuses on honing a student’s research, critical thinking, critical analysis, and critical writing skills through our requirements and encouraging excellence through their student years and into their future.

What are the benefits of being an Honors student?

There are several benefits to being an Honors Student at UMass Lowell, including:
-Smaller class sizes in dedicated Honors courses
-The opportunity to live in dedicated Honors Housing
-Preferential class registration for current students
-Fellowship opportunities
-Honors Study Abroad opportunities
-Working one-on-one with faculty members on independent research
-Dedicated study space in the Honors Office

What are the benefits of graduating as an Honors Scholar?

The skills developed by Honors students help them as they advance through their education or as they enter the workforce. In applying and attending grad school, the independent research Honors students conduct as part of their Honors Thesis or Project is in line with the level of research or creative work experience that graduate schools love to see, as well as preparing them for the level of work expected of graduate students, giving Honors students a leg-up against the competition. The critical thinking, analysis, writing, and organizational skills emphasized by our College will prepare Honors students looking to find a job or internships after college. Honors students will also have honed their public speaking and confidence skills, ideal for the working world, through the presentations that will be required of them through their courses and research.

How many students at UMass Lowell are in the Honors College?

Over 10% of the UMass Lowell full-time undergraduate students are enrolled in the Honors College. 

Is there an extra cost to enroll in the Honors College?

No, there is no extra cost or fee associated with joining or being a member in the Honors College.

Is there dedicated housing for Honors students?

Yes, there is optional Honors housing for Honors students. Starting in Fall 2017, the Commonwealth Honors Living-Learning Community will be located in the Honors House at University Suites. Please note, however, that Honors Housing is on a first come, first served basis. Please be aware that the pricing for University Suites is different than traditional ResHall prices. Any questions about Honors Housing or Housing in general can be directed to the Office of ResLife. 

Are there study abroad opportunities for Honors students?

Yes. Currently, the Honors College hosts two Honors faculty-led study abroad opportunities. In the summer intersession, Honors offers a study abroad experience in San Sebastian, Span. In the winter intersession, Honors offers a study abroad experience in Havana, Cuba. Students will receive honors course credit for participation in these Honors College study abroad experiences. For more information on Study Abroad opportunities, students can refer to the Study Abroad office. 

Are there scholarships/fellowships available for Honors students?

We currently provide a wide range of fellowships for students. Honors Fellowships provide students with $1,000 in exchange for focused reading, research, or creative work conducted alongside a faculty member. However, we do not have scholarships available for incoming students. 

What are the requirements to join Honors?

Incoming freshman are invited to join the Honors College based on a sliding scale of their high school GPA (weighted) and their SAT or ACT scores. Incoming freshmen who are not invited to join Honors in their Admissions Packet are also welcome to apply to the Honors College separately by filling out our membership, found at Non-invited freshmen will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Incoming Transfer must have earned at least a 3.25 cumulative GPA from their previous college or university to join Honors.
Current students at UMass Lowell must have at least a 3.25 cumulative GPA to join the Honors College. 

I am an incoming student but do not meet the invitation criteria. Can I still join/apply?

Students who are interested in the Honors College but do not meet the invitation criteria are still encouraged to apply. They can fill out our Membership Form and send that to our office along with an unofficial transcript of their previous institution. Our staff will review your application and inform you of our decision.

What is the GPA requirement to stay in Honors?

Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.25 to remain in good standing with the Honors College. 

What if my GPA falls below the 3.25?

If an Honors student’s cumulative GPA falls below 3.25 but is still above a 3.0, they will be placed on probation. Honors students on probation are still active in Honors, but we will monitor your GPA and semester performance. If the student’s GPA is not at least a 3.25 after a semester of probation, they will be removed from the Honors College. If an Honors student’s cumulative GPA falls below a 3.0, they will automatically be removed from Honors. Students who are concerned about their GPA or have questions about their probation status or removal are encouraged to speak with their Honors advisor.

What if I want to leave the Honors College?

Students can leave the Honors College at any time. Just inform our staff that you wish to be removed from the Honors College.

Do I have to join Honors before I start classes at UML / Can I join as a current student?

Current students may still join Honors. As long as they have earned at least a cumulative 3.25 GPA, they are eligible to join. We encourage interested students to join before their junior year, as it becomes difficult to complete the Honors requirements the further a student progresses in their undergraduate career. Current students can speak with an Honors Advisor before joining to see what Honors courses they will need to take, and whether or not it will mean adding extra courses to their schedule.

Can I join Honors if I am a part-time student/online student/graduate student?

No, the Honors College is only for full-time, day-school undergraduate students.

How many Honors Courses do I need to take?

To graduate out of the Honors College, students need to complete 8 required courses outlined as H1 – H8. These courses consist as a mix of a student’s required core curriculum courses, as well as courses in a student’s major. For more information on the specifics of Honors courses, please refer to the “Course Requirements.”

What is “FYSH”?

FYSH stands for the First-Year Seminar in Honors (HONR.1100). Incoming first-year students will take FYSH during their first semester. Starting in Fall 2017, FYSH will satisfy the College Writing I requirement for Honors students. However, should a student place out of College Writing I or otherwise have credit for College Writing I through means such as AP credit, CLEP scores, or dual enrollment, FYSH will satisfy an Arts and Humanities core curriculum requirement, instead.

What if I have transfer credit?

Depending on how much transfer credit a student has, we will waive certain Honors requirements. If a student transfers in with at least 30 credits, we will waive the H1 requirement. If a student transfers in with at least 60 credits or an Associate’s Degree, we will waive the H1 and
the H2 requirements.

What if I am a transfer student and took Honors courses through another college’s Honors Program or College?

If you took Honors courses at your previous college, then those courses may very well transfer into the H1-H8! You can check with your Honors Advisor, and they will let you know how that affects your course requirements for our Honors College.

What if I already have credit for College Writing II (the H2 requirement)?

If a student has credit for College Writing II by the time they join Honors, they will not be required to take it again at the Honors level. Instead, the H2 requirement can be replaced by an Honorslevel Arts & Humanities or Social Science core curriculum course. Please note that this exception is only for students who have received credit for College Writing II prior to joining Honors. This includes having transfer credit for CWII, test credit for CWII, or taking CWII as a current student before joining the Honors College.

What is the difference between Honors courses and Non-Honors courses?

Honors sections of courses are effectively enhanced versions of their non-honors counterparts. Faculty will still cover all of the material the non-Honors version does, but honors sections shift the way in which the material is approached in class. Honors courses are not quantity-based, i.e. not necessarily more work. They are not designed to focus on more work for the sake of work, but rather the quality of the type of work done. Instead, they are more focused on the material to dive deeper into the topics and explore the significance of the information students are studying. Honors sections are smaller, so there can be a greater focus on enriching discussions. Additionally, honors courses aim to hone a student’s critical thinking, analysis, research, and oral and written communication skills through their studies. 

What is an Honors-by-Contract?

An Honors-by-Contract (HbC) is a vehicle that takes a non-Honors course to the Honors level by adding a “contract” piece to the existing syllabus. Students must work with the instructor to modify the course syllabus, establish extra meeting times, and ultimately make a presentation on their independent work. Honors Students are only allowed to use one HbC to count toward their Honors requirements to be use on a 3xxx/4xxx level course. The HbC can only be used toward the H5 requirement.

Will all my classes be Honors classes?

No. Honors students are required to take 8 Honors courses (the H1 – H8), so only 24 of the minimum 120 credits a student needs to graduate will be at the Honors level. However, students are welcome to take more than the eight required honors courses if they are so inclined.

Do I have to take extra classes to fulfill my Honors course requirements?

For the majority of students, Honors does not mean extra courses, but rather enhanced, honorsversions of their normal required courses. However, if a student joins Honors after their matriculation and has a substantial amount of test credit and/or transfer credit, a student may need an extra class or classes to satisfy the H1 – H8 course requirements. The Honors Advisors will develop a Program of Study with new Honors students when they meet initially, which will outline how a student may satisfy the Honors course requirements, and whether or not they will have to take extra courses. If you have questions, please contact the Honors Office/your Honors Advisor.

How big are the Honors classes?/How many students are allowed to enroll in an Honors Course?

On average, Honors courses are capped at 19 students per section.

What is the difference between an Honors Thesis and an Honors Project?

The Honors Thesis or Honors Project satisfy same graduation requirement for Honors, but the difference is just the type of work the student is doing. An Honors Thesis is more in line with a traditional research paper, where a student addresses a question with the thesis through extensive, independent research that culminates into a long-form, written document. An Honors Project, on the other hand, seeks to create something new, and may consist of things like A student may choose to do an Honors Thesis or Project depending on their preference or major, and may very well do something that is in-between a thesis and project. 

What is an E1?

The E1 is an enrichment requirement students must complete once a semester. Honors students must attend an event or function on campus that is outside of their major that is academically, socially, or culturally enriching in some manner, and then submit a corresponding response paper. Honors students must complete and submit one E1 a semester. Students will be notified about upcoming events, but are also encouraged to seek out their own events. Questions about the E1 requirement or what qualifies as an E1 can be directed to the Honors Office or the E1 Coordinator.