Graduating with Honors

Good planning, made easy

graduatesIt’s never too early to chart out your path to graduation. Graduating with Honors takes a bit more planning, so we encourage reading through the Honors graduation requirements below.

Before you proceed, bear in mind:

  • Honors candidacy assessment takes place after graduation
  • Students should aim to complete their thesis the same semester they graduate. If a student completes his or her thesis sooner, the assessment must still wait until after the semester of graduation.

Graduation Requirements

1. Complete twelve (12) credits of required courses:

  • HON 491 Junior Seminar (3 credits)
  • HON 495 Introduction to Research (3 credits)
  • HON 496 Senior Honors Project (6 credits)

2. Maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.2 in your major and during junior and senior years.

3. Give two public oral presentations:

  • one of a proposal for Senior Honors Project
  • one of the completed Senior Honors Project

4. Submit to the Honors Program by the last day of exams in the semester of graduation, the following supplementary materials:

  • Completed Senior Honors Project (PDF digital copy)
  • Final oral presentation document at the Fall Forum or Spring Symposium, or approved public event (PDF digital copy)
  • Academic Curriculum Vitae (CV) (PDF digital copy)
  • Personal Statement on “My Experience in Honors” (max. 500 words) (PDF digital copy)
  • Completed online Exit Survey

*Please save all files in the following format, in PDF file format only:

  • LastName_FirstName_Abstract.pdf — e.g. Cruz_Julia_Abstract.pdf
  • LastName_FirstName_Personal_Statement.pdf — e.g. Cruz_Julia_Personal_Statement.pdf

Documents saved in Microsoft Word will not be accepted.

Every semester, we add the student’s honors thesis we have received to ScholarSpace, the University of Hawaii’s open access repository. Theses will be viewable on the ScholarSpace webpage.  Students who do not wish for their written work to be made public must contact for the removal.  For further information, please refer to the following document:

Students should view and follow the Upper Division Graduation Checklist to make sure all requirements are fulfilled in order to graduate with Honors.

Honors Candidacy Evaluation

Candidates are evaluated in the following 4 ways:

1. Written Evaluations of HON 495

HON 495 is taken for CR/NC and instructors submit written evaluations for each student on their written work, presentations and class participation.

2. Written Thesis Evaluations of Senior Honors Project

Emphasis is placed on the thesis (about 2/3).

The Senior Honors Project is assessed by a thesis committee consisting of the project advisor and two committee members. The thesis committee reviews a final draft of the Project and makes its assessment in a written report submitted to the Honors Council. If appropriate, the thesis committee may use the rubrics, “Evaluation of a Senior Honors Project-Research” or “Evaluation of a Senior Honors Project-Creative” provided by the Honors Program. Detailed comments are accompanied by a summary assessment of “No Honors” or “Honors.”

Please note that in the case where the student’s project is also part of the requirement for the degree in a major, such as in Global Environmental Studies and History, the project must satisfy the department before it can be considered for Honors.

3. Evaluation of the of the Senior Honors Project presentation

All presentations are evaluated by faculty judges according to a rubric that is used at the Spring Symposium and Fall Forum. Detailed comments are accompanied by a summary assessment of “No Honors” or “Honors.”

4. Engagement

Students completing the Honors Program and earning an Honors degree should display exemplary qualities in scholarship, be engaged in leadership and service on campus and in the community, and be committed to excellence in their personal development. Students are expected to provide evidence of their engagement in the CV.

Honors Designation

Starting Fall 2015, the Senior Honors thesis will no longer be evaluated through the No Honors/Honors/High Honors/Highest Honors rubric, nor will the Honors Council necessarily review every single thesis that is submitted. To bring us in alignment with our peer and benchmark institutions, the student’s Honors faculty mentor/committee will be tasked with determining whether a submitted thesis will receive Honors or not. Borderline cases with mixed or tepid evaluations and/or poor GPAs will continue to be referred to Honors Council for review. Honors Council will also convene to review exceptional theses endorsed by the faculty mentor/committee and determine Honors Thesis Awards.

New Honors Designation:

  • Honors
  • No Honors

Thesis Prize

The Honors Thesis Committee may recommend a thesis that is of exceptional quality, representing sustained work, originality and technical mastery well above and beyond the expectations for an undergraduate Honors thesis in the field (e.g., approaching Master’s level work) with well-executed writing component for consideration for the Honors Thesis Prize.


The Ceremony

Once we have received the required documents and/or met with the Director of the Honors Program, students will be issued the Honors cord that will be worn at the Commencement ceremony.

Names of our Honors Degree candidates will be listed in the Commencement Program and will be given special acknowledgement during the graduation ceremony.

Honors Alumni Listing

Graduating with an Honors Degree is a special achievement. On our Honors Alumnus Search page, we feature complete listings of students who have successfully graduated with honors. Name, level of honors, major, thesis title, and advisor will all be displayed.

We ask that students who do not wish for their information to be displayed online contact us upon graduation.