Honors College Overview



The mission of the University Honors College is to be a catalyst for scholarly excellence in undergraduate education. The college advances, coordinates and administers active learning and undergraduate research opportunities for students across the campus. Through its multidisciplinary academic and student support programs, the college serves as a locus for inquiry, discovery, leadership and engagement.

The college houses the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship and three university honors programs: the University Honors Core Program, the Natural and Complex Systems (NCS) Program, and the Forty-Ninth State Fellows Program. Students enrolled in these programs are also enrolled in the disciplinary school or college in which they complete their degree programs. University honors students may pursue any major or minor they wish at the university, and foundation University Honors College courses will satisfy General Education Requirements (GERs) in humanities and social science.

Students who complete the requirements of their disciplinary school or college and the program requirements of the University Honors College in good standing will graduate as honors graduates. Students who complete these requirements with a GPA of 3.50 or above will earn the designation of University Honors Scholar on their transcripts and diplomas.

The University Honors College offers smaller classes with excellent faculty, guided individual and team-based research, personalized academic advising and mentoring, special leadership and internship opportunities, community involvement, and enhanced scholarship prospects. Honors courses will approach the course subject matter with more intensity and rigor than is demanded of typical courses. Students will also participate together in a range of honors activities that are designed to enhance intellectual and personal opportunities. Intensive advising by college faculty and staff is an important element of the University Honors College, and honors students are required to meet regularly with advisors.

Academic Programs

There are various options that students can select within the University Honors College: the Honors Core Program, the Natural and Complex Systems (NCS) Program, and the Forty-Ninth State Fellows Program.

The Honors Core Program requirements, taken by all honors students, include courses in humanities, social sciences and community service. All honors courses have an emphasis on critical thinking and analytical reading, taking on challenging activities through interdisciplinary projects, and preparing students for participating in independent research in their disciplines.

The NCS Program includes additional courses that focus on scientific, research-based projects that integrate student work across the natural, physical, engineering, mathematical and computer sciences. This option is open to honors students in all disciplines but is targeted particularly toward students in science-oriented degrees. Honors students may take courses in the NCS Program if they meet the course prerequisites.

The Forty-Ninth State Fellows Program includes additional curriculum in democratic institutions and leadership. Focusing on politics, history and Alaska, it consists of selected courses, weekly tutorials and extracurricular activities. Spaces are limited in this intensive program and students typically apply prior to their freshman year to begin the program as they start their studies at UAA.

A limited number of students are admitted to the Honors Core Program, the NCS Program and the Forty-Ninth State Fellows Program each year. All baccalaureate degree-seeking students who are motivated to pursue honors-level work are encouraged to apply.

In addition to the University Honors College, many departments at UAA offer departmental honors options. Students may complete both university and departmental honors requirements with dual designations upon graduation, and in some cases departmental honors courses may be substituted for one or more University Honors College requirements. In addition, students pursuing departmental honors and non-honors students may enroll in some University Honors College courses with permission of the University Honors College and on a space-available basis.

Admission to the University Honors College

  1. Admission to the University Honors College is limited to baccalaureate degree-seeking students. Admission is separate from and in addition to general UAA admission requirements.
  2. Students must submit a completed University Honors College application, including supporting documents, to the University Honors College Office (RH 115). Supporting documents include:
    1. high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores for incoming freshmen.
    2. university transcripts and GPA for transfer students.
    3. an essay on personal goals.
    4. a completed reference form from two previous teachers (either high school or college). Application packets may be obtained from the University Honors College office.
  3. In general, students applying to the University Honors College from high school or transferring into the program with previous college-level work must have at least a 3.00 GPA, and show strong evidence of ability to reach and maintain a 3.50 GPA level at UAA within a reasonable time. However, the initial GPA entrance requirement should be interpreted as a general guideline, and not as an absolute criterion; all students who believe that they can succeed and benefit in an honors program are encouraged to apply.
  4. Admission to the University Honors College will be determined by the Honors College Admission Committee. Admission is based on an overall evaluation of the student’s probability of success in the college, and not on any single criterion or formula. The committee may ask the applicant for additional information and/or suggest an interview. Applicants will be ranked and are admitted on a space-available basis. In some cases the committee may initially grant conditional admission, which will be changed to formal admission if the student demonstrates ability to do honors work.


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