Jun 15, 2024  
2022-2023 General Catalog 
2022-2023 General Catalog ARCHIVED CATALOG: To search archives, MUST use search box to left. Current catalog: catalog.usu.edu.

University Honors Program

Location: LLC, Building A, Room 112
Phone: (435) 797-2715
E-mail: honors@usu.edu
Website: honors.usu.edu

Honors Program Executive Director: Dr. Kristine Miller
Honors Program Coordinator: Andreas Leidolf
Honors Program Assistant: Jennifer Cortez
Honors Academic Advisor: Amanda Adison


The Honors Program is charged with placing a diverse group of USU’s most ambitious students at the heart of a dynamic intellectual community. The program serves USU’s land-grant mission “by fostering the principle that academics come first, by cultivating diversity of thought and culture, and by serving the public through learning, discovery, and engagement.” Built upon four key pillars of learning – critical thinking, independent research, interdisciplinary learning, and civic engagement – Honors trains its students to think deeply about how to make the world a better place.

Program Structure

Honors students earn a combination of credits and points (28 total tracked through a University Honors Program (UHP) Canvas course) that reward their engagement both in and beyond the classroom. Honors students who enter the program as first-year students begin college by exploring various academic disciplines and creating connections within an intellectual community of peers, faculty, and local leaders. First-year Honors students take one of the following Introductory Honors Seminars, which meet USU’s General Education Breadth requirements:

These courses investigate big questions about cultural, socio-economic, scientific, and technological issues facing our global community and thus introduce students to shared concerns across academic disciplines. In addition to their coursework, Honors students participate in campus co-curricular academic events that extend learning beyond the classroom. Both course credits and co-curricular engagement earn Honors points in the UHP Canvas course.

Second-year students may continue to take Honors seminars for additional USU Breadth credit. They may also enroll in a team-taught, cross-disciplinary “Think Tank” that satisfies one of USU’s General Education Depth requirements (HONR 3010, HONR 3020, or HONR 3030). These courses unite scholars and community leaders in seeking creative solutions to specific local challenges. Sophomores also begin to engage in Honors in Practice (contract) work, which connects them with top professors on topics of mutual interest and allows them to earn Honors points as they document and reflect upon the value of their educational experiences. They continue to attend co-curricular events and enjoy special Honors opportunities to interact with faculty and visitors on campus and virtually.

If the first two years in the Honors program allow students to ask big academic questions and to join a scholarly community, junior year allows them to put Honors into practice by applying the skills learned in their majors. Attending co-curricular activities takes on new meaning as students declare majors: they now represent their respective disciplines at interdisciplinary events. Students can complete research, study abroad, serve internships, design academic projects outside the classroom, write grants, work in laboratories, or develop service projects – all earning Honors points when documented and submitted in the UHP Canvas course. Transfer students and new applicants may join the program as juniors and still graduate with Honors, providing they complete all required Honors milestones (typically four semesters). This work, along with HONR 3900 (the capstone preparation course), helps to prepare Honors students for their capstone projects in their final year at USU.

Senior Honors students must complete capstone or thesis projects in their majors, typically by registering for HONR 4900. These projects vary according to discipline, but all involve focused research or creative reflection in the major and yield a final product with professional and intellectual value for the student. These products may take many forms, including a traditional thesis; a single- or co-authored paper based on sustained research; a performance, fieldwork experience, or exhibition with reflective writing; or a detailed professional portfolio that goes well beyond the normal requirements of the major. Seniors have the opportunity to join interdisciplinary discussion groups exclusively for senior capstone writers and to share their work with other interested Honors students, alumni, and faculty. As the most experienced members of the Honors community, seniors also take on leadership roles in the Honors Program and clubs and organizations within their departments and colleges. Once again, they earn Honors points in the UHP Canvas course by documenting the work of putting Honors into practice. Their attendance and reporting in Canvas on co-curricular activities by senior year should be driven, at least in part, by their involvement in shaping those activities for the USU community.

Showcasing the brilliant work that these undergraduate students can do, the University Honors Program is central to USU’s land-grant educational mission.


The Honors Program admits incoming, transfer, and current USU students based on application. The application includes two brief essays, transcripts, and an extracurricular resume. High-achieving students with at least two years remaining at USU are encouraged to apply (see honors.usu.edu for more information).

Transcript Designations

Honors students may graduate with any combination of the following transcript designations, each of which indicates a particular kind of outstanding achievement at USU:

University Honors

Undergraduate Research

Community-Engaged Scholar

Global Engagement Scholar

For more information, please see the University Honors website (honors.usu.edu) or contact the University Honors office at honors@usu.edu or (435) 797-2715.