Jul 07, 2020  
2014-2015 General Catalog (Spring, Summer 2015) 
2014-2015 General Catalog (Spring, Summer 2015) [ARCHIVED CATALOG Please see current catalog]

University Honors Program

Location: LLC, Building A, Room 112
Phone: (435) 797-2715 (FAX: (435) 797-3941)
E-mail: honors@usu.edu
Website: honors.usu.edu/

Honors Program Director: Dr. Kristine Miller
Honors Program Coordinator: Amber Summers-Graham
Honors Staff Assistant: Sara Mitchell


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 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 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.

Second-year students may continue to take Honors seminars for additional USU Breadth credit. Beginning in Spring 2016, they may also enroll in a "Think Tank" seminar that satisfies one of USU's General Education Depth requirements.  These courses unite scholars and community leaders in seeking creative solutions to specific local challenges.  Sophomores also begin to work closely with top professors on topics of mutual interest, both in and outside of the classroom.  They continue to attend co-curricular events on campus and enjoy special Honors opportunities to interact with faculty and visitors on campus.

If the first two years in the Honors program allow students to ask big academic questions and to join a scholarly community on campus, junior year allows them to discover practical applications for the skills learned in their majors. Attending co-curricular activities on campus 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 design service projects – all for Honors credit.  Transfer students and new applicants may join the program as juniors and still graduate with Honors, providing they complete all junior- and senior-year requirements.  This work 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. 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 thesis writers and to share their work with other interested Honors students, alumni, and faculty.  As the most experienced members of the Honors intellectual community, seniors also take on leadership roles in Honors Student Council, the Honors Advisory Board, and clubs and organizations within their departments and colleges. Their attendance at co-curricular activities by senior year should be driven, at least in part, by their involvement in shaping those activities for the campus 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 existing USU students based on application.  The application includes an essay, transcripts, and resume.  High achieving students with at least one year 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
  • Service-Learning 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.