The Honors College is open to qualified undergraduates pursuing a UWM bachelor's degree. The college offers seminars and individualized instruction in the humanities, arts, social sciences, and natural sciences. It is particularly appropriate for students who want more engaged and writing-intensive studies or who are preparing for graduate, law, medical, or professional school.

Students who complete the Honors curriculum receive the degree designations "Honors Degree" or "Honors with Distinction" on their diplomas and transcripts.


Peter Sands, Director
Laura Blaska, Associate Director
Jill Budny, Assistant Director


Students pursuing their first bachelor's degree can join the Honors College as freshmen, continuing, or transfer students. Freshmen are admitted based upon a holistic review of their UWM application and high school record. Freshmen are automatically considered once they have been admitted to UWM. Selected students are notified by mail.

Continuing UWM and transfer students should have a cumulative GPA equivalent to their academic standing (see Requirements) and have met the University English requirement by testing out of, or receiving a B- or better, in ENGLISH 102. Interested continuing and transfer students should contact the Honors College to schedule an appointment with an Honors advisor to discuss how the curriculum can be integrated into their academic plans.

Continuing in the Honors College

Honors College students must meet the following cumulative GPA/enrollment criteria:

  1. ​To continue in the Honors College, students must maintain the following minimum grade point averages for work done at UWM by the beginning of their year in school:
        Freshman (after first semester)                         3.0
        Sophomore                                                        3.3
        Junior                                                                 3.4
        Senior/to graduate with an Honors degree        3.5
  2. Students admitted as new freshmen who need to complete the University English Requirement must complete Honors 200 in the first semester following their completion of the English Requirement.
  3. Students who do not take Honors courses for two consecutive semesters will be considered "inactive" and dropped from the Honors College.

Students are encouraged to review the Honors College Handbook for additional information.

Notification of Ineligible Students

At the end of each semester, the Honors College will review students’ academic records to determine whether they meet the criteria for continuation in the program. The Honors College will notify by mail all students who fail to meet these criteria, stating that they no longer are eligible to enroll in Honors classes. If these students already are enrolled in Honors classes for the next semester, they will be dropped administratively.

Regaining Honors College Eligibility

  1. Students who become ineligible by failing to maintain the minimum grade point average may apply for reinstatement if they subsequently raise their grade point average to the required level.
  2. Students who become ineligible after two consecutive semesters with no Honors courses may apply for reinstatement.
  3. In either case, students applying for reinstatement must indicate in writing how they propose to complete Honors requirements before graduation. 

Course of Study

Freshmen and sophomores entering the Honors College must complete HONORS 200, earning a grade of B- or better, before taking other honors courses (except for honors calculus, which can be taken concurrently). Following HONORS 200, which may be repeated once with a change in topic, students with sophomore standing or above may take departmental Honors seminars at 3 credits each.

HONORS 200Honors Seminar: The Shaping of the Modern Mind:3
MATH 221Honors Calculus I5
MATH 222Honors Calculus II5
AFRIC 381Honors Seminar:3
ANTHRO 381Honors Seminar:3
ARTHIST 381Honors Seminar:3
ATM SCI 381Honors Seminar:3
BIO SCI 380Honors Seminar:3
CHEM 381Honors Seminar:3
COMMUN 380Honors Seminar:3
COMPLIT 381Honors Seminar:3
ECON 381Honors Seminar:3
ENGLISH 685Honors Seminar:3
FRENCH 383Honors Seminar:3
GEOG 381Honors Seminar:3
GEO SCI 381Honors Seminar:3
HIST 398Honors Seminar:3
HIST 399Honors Seminar:3
HONORS 350Honors Seminar in the Humanities:3
HONORS 351University Honors Seminar in the Social Sciences:3
HONORS 352Honors Seminar in the Natural Sciences:3
HONORS 380Honors Seminar in the Arts:3
ITALIAN 383Honors Seminar:3
MATH 381Honors Seminar:3
PHILOS 381Honors Seminar:3
PHYSICS 381Honors Seminar:3
POL SCI 380Honors Seminar:3
PSYCH 380Honors Seminar:3
SOCIOL 380Honors Seminar:3
URB STD 381Honors Seminar:3

With the exception of HONORS 200 and HONORS 380, Honors seminars are retakable with a change in topic to a maximum of 9 credits. HONORS 200 and HONORS 380 are retakable once.

Advanced Independent Study 

Independent study courses are offered through the Honors College and through academic departments across campus. Course numbers and prerequisites vary by department. 

HONORS 685 Honors Tuorial

HONORS 686 Research in Honors

*HONORS 687 Senior Honors Project

*HONORS 689 Senior Honors Thesis

*Students may not do both a Senior Thesis and a Senior Project.

Graduate Courses

Graduate level courses completed with a B- or better may be counted toward the Honors College graduation requirements. This option normally is open only to seniors in the program who meet the necessary prerequisites. Permission for an Honors student to take a graduate course must be obtained from the instructor of the course, the chairperson of the department or school/college designee in which the course is taught, and the Honors College director. 

Other Options

A maximum of 9 Honors credits earned at other universities may be applied to the Honors College graduation requirements with the director’s approval. Honors credits also may be earned through approved Study Abroad Programs.

Graduation Requirements

An Honors College Degree requires 21 Honors credits and at least a 3.5 cumulative grade point average at graduation. All Honors credits count toward the total credits required for graduation. Students must earn a grade of B- or better to receive Honors credit for a course. At least 12 of the 21 Honors credits must be earned at UWM, with at least 9 credits in upper-level Honors seminars at UWM. 

Students who plan to graduate "Honors College Degree with Distinction" need to successfully complete one of the following courses for two consecutive semesters, to a total of six credits: HONORS 686 Research in Honors, HONORS 687 Senior Honors Project, or HONORS 689 Senior Honors Thesis.

Graduating with an Honors College Degree provides convincing evidence of outstanding academic achievement, a valuable accomplishment students can note on resumes and graduate school applications. The designation of Honors College Degree or Honors College Degree with Distinction will be listed on both the diploma and final transcript.

Graduation Ceremony

The Honors College hosts a graduation ceremony each May at the Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts. This event celebrates all Honors College graduates from December, May, and August. Family and friends are welcome to attend. Additional details are available on the Honors College website.