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Graduating from the Honors Program

graduating student

University Honors Program students may graduate with either an Honors Degree or Honors Distinction.

Honors Degree

Honors students who complete 32 credits of Honors coursework earn Idaho's only Honors Degree, and therefore a unique diploma.  The Honors Degree cannot be obtained with an Associate's Degree.

  • The Honors Degree is noted on the transcript, diploma, and at commencement.
  • The Honors Degree requires:
    • 18 credits of Honors coursework achieved through the Honors Distinction
    • additional Honors course credits,
    • 2 Honors seminars (1 credit each),
    • at least 6 credits of upper division Honors contract courses (3 of which may be thesis credits),
    • and an Honors project or thesis (between 1-6 credits)

Honors Distinction

Honors students who complete 19 credits of Honors coursework, including a 1 credit Honors seminar, graduate with an Honors Distinction. This is noted on the transcript and at commencement.  The Honors Distinction cannot be obtained with an Associate's Degree.

Degree Checklist

Student Progress

Students admitted to the Honors Program must show evidence of continuous progress toward their degrees. Honors students are expected to complete 12 Honors credits during their first year, and six Honors credits during their second year.

Minimum Credit Requirements for Honors Degree and Honors Distinction

Honors Distinction and Degree
Honors courses should include Honors Objective Courses or lower division courses within major/minor.  18 credits
HONS 3391 Honors Seminar 1 credit
Honors DISTINCTION Total Credits  19 credits 
May include six additional lower division Honors credits  Up to 6 credits
Upper division Honors courses and contract courses (3300/4400 level courses)  Up to 6 credits 
HONS 3391 Honors Seminar 1 credit
HONS 4493 Honors Senior Thesis or Project  1-6 credits 
Honors DEGREE Total Credits  32 credits 

*up to 3 credits of Honors thesis or departmental independent studies credit can count towards the 6 Upper Division Contract Course credits.

Map to Honors Degree

Year 1 and 2:

University Honors Program students are expected to complete 12 Honors credits during their first year in the program.

  • HONS 1101 - Honors Humanities I (3 cr.) - Fall
  • HONS 1102 - Honors Humanities II (3 cr.) - Spring
  • Objective fulfilling Honors courses - Fall (3 cr.), Spring (3 cr.)

Additional courses commonly taken in years 1 and 2:

  • CHEM 1111 H - Honors General Chemistry (5 cr.) - Fall
  • CHEM 1112 H - Honors General Chemistry (4 cr.) - Spring
    (Above courses meet Objective 5)
  • COMM 1101 H - Honors Introduction to Communication (3 cr.) - Fall and Spring
    (This course meets Objective 2.)
  • ACAD 1111 H - Honors University Inquiry (3 cr.) - Spring

Years 3 and 4:

  • HONS 3391 - Honors Seminar (1 cr. each) - Fall and Spring
  • Honors Contract Courses (6 cr.) - Fall and Spring
  • HONS 3393 - Introduction to Honors Thesis (1 cr.) - Fall
  • HONS 4493 - Honors Senior Project or Honors Thesis or Thesis/ Independent Studies Credit from the major department (1-3 credits) - Fall and Spring

Learn More about Honors Curriculum and Courses

Honors Program and Civic Engagement

We are continually defining what it means to be an Honors student in an ever evolving program.  Part of this definition includes a strong sense of service and involvement, in addition to a commitment to high academic standards. As a means for insuring good standing, Honors students (regardless of their program status) will be expected to participate in at LEAST ONE Honors activity each semester of their undergraduate career at Idaho State University.  Opportunities are available through First Year Seminars, University Honors Program Club, Honors Envoy, Honors Mentors, and various university entities.