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The Honors Program

Honors Program Curriculum

The Honors Program at UK has a long and proud history, dating back to 1961, and thousands of students have passed through our program, exploring themselves and the boundaries of thought with outstanding faculty.


An Honors education at UK opens up an exciting world of inquiry, including research, education abroad, and service that will challenge students intellectually, provide access to the most creative minds at UK, and prepare participants for advanced study and to make a difference in the world upon graduation. The Honors curriculum requires Honors coursework in UK Core Inquiry, participation in at least two for-credit Honors Experiences, a Senior Capstone, and a choice of coursework campus-wide to fulfill the educational goals of the Honors student.

  • HONORS SEMINAR COURSES are taught by Honors professors, have a maximum of 20 students, and class discussions are an important feature.  Many Honors courses are created specifically for UK Honors students, and the course topics vary tremendously every fall and spring term.  HON 151 courses satisfy the Inquiry in the Humanities UK Core requirement; HON 152 courses satisfy the Inquiry in the Natural, Physical and mathematical Sciences UK Core requirement, HON 251 courses satisfy the Inquiry in the Social Sciences UK Core requirement, and HON 252 courses satisfy the Inquiry in the Arts and Creativity UK Core requirement. HON 301 courses are upper division seminars designed to be more challenging.
  • HONORS DEPARTMENT SECTIONS are taught by professors in their own academic departments who have made their course more challenging in order to be approved to teach to Honors students.  Examples of Honors Department Sections include CHE 107 Honors General Chemistry II, HIS 121 Honors War and Society, PHI 343 Honors Asian Philosophy, STA 210 Honors Statistics, and many more.
  • HONORS COURSE CONVERSIONS allow a student to take a non-Honors course then add a more in-depth and rigorous component to the course to make it more challenging and provide more depth of study.  The Honors Course Conversion process requires that a student submit a proposal indicating what they plan to do to make the course more rigorous and in depth, and how that additional work makes the course Honors-worthy.  Students must request approval for an Honors Course Conversion by the end of the 3rd week of the semester.
  • GRADUATE-LEVEL COURSES numbered 500-level and 400-level G suffix course allow the professor to teach the course to both undergraduate and graduate students. Courses taught at the 500-level or 400-level courses with a G suffix can count for Honors, provided that the student completes the graduate-level work assigned in the course, as defined by the syllabus.  The syllabus must indicate that there are additional requirements for graduate students, and the Honors student must complete the graduate student course requirements with the professors approval.  A copy of the syllabus and the professors acknowledgement that the Honors student will complete the graduate-level course requirements are needed for the course to count for Honors credit.  Students must request approval for a graduate-level course to count for Honors by the end of the 3rd week of the semester.
  • HONORS EXPERIENCES include undergraduate research, education abroad, experiential learning, and service learning opportunities.  Honors Experiences provide unique ways for Honors students to expand their horizons by conducting academic research, learning from professionals in their field, working with community service agencies, or by immersing themselves in other cultures around the world.  Six credit hours of Honors Experience credit is required, and many majors have required or optional courses that can count.  Please consult our list of pre-approved Honors Experience courses to see if your major has any coursework required that can already satisfy some or part of this requirement.  A 395 or 495 course from any department can be used for completing faculty mentored independent research projects.  If your major department does not have a 395 or 495 course students can use an HON 395 course (proposal form below). Students must request approval for an HON 395 course by the Add Class deadline of the semester.
  • HONORS SENIOR CAPSTONE is a formal thesis or creative project of the student’s choosing, to be directed by a professor in the student’s major department.  The Honors Senior Capstone is designed to round-out a student's educational experience in Honors.  An Honors Senior Capstone requires completion of a lengthy research paper, a unique project, or an artistic performance.  Students must submit a capstone proposal form prior to taking the course.  Students may take HON 398 to fulfill this requirement, but many majors at UK require completion of a similar capstone or thesis course.  Please consult our list of pre-approved Capstone courses to see if your major has a required or optional course that can be used to satisfy the Honors Senior Capstone requirement.