Honors Curriculum

The Honors Program at UK has a long and proud history, dating back to 1958, 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. 

  • Lower Level Honors Seminars – Typically intended for first-year students, lower level seminars meet Intellectual Inquiry requirements in UK Core.
    • HON 151: Honors in Humanities. These courses satisfy the Inquiry in the Humanities UK Core requirement. Whatever the topic, the Honors Humanities courses reflect on the human condition through works of art and literature (including folklore and film), philosophical and religious contemplation and argumentation, and historical narrative. They undertake interdisciplinary investigations of significant intellectual and cultural issues of our past and present (and thus of our future) and are designed to stimulate individual thought as well as develop writing, critical thinking, and small-group discussion skills.
    • HON 152: Honors in Natural, Physical, and Mathematical Sciences. These courses satisfy the Inquiry in the Natural, Physical and Mathematical Sciences UK Core requirement. A hands-on, science course for Honors students in which they ask a question requiring scientific analysis, develop a related experimentation regimen, collect data, do the experimentation, analyze the results, draw conclusions and appropriately disseminate the results. Students will directly experience the scientific process to learn how scientists work.
    • HON 251: Honors in Social Sciences. These courses satisfy the Inquiry in the Social Sciences UK Core requirement. Courses in this category promote the understanding of individuals in the context of social interactions, groups, and societies. The courses will focus on the subjective, intersubjective, and structural aspects of society, with the goal of helping students to enhance their understanding of the phenomenon that is human society.
    • HON 252: Honors in Arts and Creativity. These courses satisfy the Inquiry in the Arts and Creativity UK Core requirement. The creative process and its products are the focus of these Honors courses, and include but are not limited to, visual, verbal, musical, spatial, or kinesthetic forms of expression.
  • Upper Level Honors Seminars - HON 301 courses are upper division seminars designed to be more challenging. An interdisciplinary seminar in the history of culture; topics will vary from semester to semester, but a substantial research essay is always required.

HONORS DEPARTMENTAL SECTIONS are taught by professors in their own academic departments who have enhanced their courses for Honors students through increased interdisciplinary content, use of primary materials, writing and discussion intensity, incorporation of independent research, or other elements that aim to deeply develop critical and analytical skills.  Examples of Honors Department Sections include CHE 107 Honors General Chemistry II, HIS 121 Honors War and Society, PHI 343 Honors Asian Philosophy, CS 315 Honors Algorithm Design and Analysis, and many more. These courses are typically available to Honors students at any level, unless there is an established prerequisite for the course.

HONORS COURSE CONVERSIONS (approval required) allow a student to take a non-Honors course for Honors course credit by enhancing the experience with components to provide additional rigor and more depth of study.  The Honors Course Conversion process requires, with the approval and oversight from the faculty of record for the course, a student submit a proposal outlining these additional components and articulating how that additional work makes the course Honors-worthy and relevant to the student’s interests and/or course of study.  Students seeking permission for a conversion must request approval for an Honors Course Conversion by the end of the 3rd week of the semester by submitting a Course Conversion Proposal Form.

GRADUATE-LEVEL COURSES (approval required) numbered 600-level and above are graduate-level courses.  500-level courses and 400-level G suffix courses can also count as Honors courses by following our approval process. 500-level courses and 400-level G suffix courses 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 towards Honors course requirements, 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 (assignments/papers/projects) for graduate students, and the Honors student must complete the graduate student course requirements with the professor’s prior approval and oversight.  Students must request Honors Program approval for a graduate-level course to count for Honors by the end of the 3rd week of the semester.  A copy of the syllabus is required as well as an acknowledgement from your professor that you will be graded as a graduate student.


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. If you plan to go abroad, please complete the Education Abroad submission form so we can award Honors Experience credit for the courses you take while abroad.  Courses completed while participating in National Student Exchange (NSE), up to a maximum of 6cr, can be used to satisfy Honors Experience credit.

Credit-bearing Honors Experience options in Honors (v. departmental courses) are:

  • HON 395: Honors Research and Creativity. Independent research or creative projects supervised by a faculty member in the field. Work must result in a report or publication evaluated by the supervising faculty member.  A completed/signed HON 395 Research Proposal form is required and must be submitted to Honors within the first week of the semester.  Please follow the HON 395 approval process.
  • HON 352: Study and Travel Abroad. An experiential, travel-abroad course that requires pre-travel class preparation followed by travel abroad that will provide students with multi-cultural exposure, leadership, and a new frame of reference for understanding the world and their role in it.
  • HON 399: Honors Service Learning and Community Engagement. A service- or community-based learning experience in the field under the supervision of a faculty member.


HONORS 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 Capstone is designed to round out a student's educational experience in Honors.  An Honors Capstone requires completion of a significant 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 Capstone requirement. Pre-approved capstone courses do not require submission of a capstone proposal. 


Requirements - Lewis Honors College

Fall 2017 Honors Course Descriptions

Pre-Approved Capstone Courses by Major

Pre-Approved Honors Experience Courses by Major

Spring 2018 Honors Course Descriptions