FAQs about the Honors Program

1.  What is the Honors Program?

The Honors Program at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa offers a course of study that prepares talented and motivated students for independent and original research and creative work. It emphasizes intellectual community and encourages mentorship relationships both among students and between students and faculty.

2.  What is Upper Division and who should apply?

Upper Division is the component of the Honors Program designed to allow incoming transfer students and exceptional sophomores/juniors to join Honors. Students who have declared a major and are nearly finished with general education requirements, or who will soon be a junior, may apply to Upper Division Honors.

3.  What are the benefits of the Honors Program?

Honors combines the intimate educational experiences offered by small, liberal arts colleges, with the extensive range of educational opportunities and the excellence of faculty and facilities of a Carnegie “Doctoral/Research-Extensive” university. It offers the best of both worlds!

  • Small class sizes emphasizing in-depth discussion
  • Special inquiry-based curriculum that emphasizes active learning and independent research while also meeting General Education requirements
  • Personalized academic advising and guaranteed registration in Honors courses
  • Opportunity to work closely and be mentored by faculty while undertaking independent research/creative work
  • Honors housing for Incoming First-Years (reserved floors in dorms), organized events/workshops, reading/meeting room for students, student activities club
  • Prestige of an Honors degree in applications for jobs and professional/graduate schools

4.  What are the admission requirements?

For incoming freshmen who are applying for the 4-Year Program, we require a minimum high school GPA of 3.5 and an academic letter of recommendation, usually from a high school counselor or instructor.

UHM or transfer students applying to the Upper Division Program need a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5, one academic letter of recommendation, and a signed Departmental Approval Form.

Read more about our admissions process.

5.  Do I need to be invited to apply to the Honors Program?

The Honors Program does send out pre-invitations to incoming first year students who fulfill its requirements, but anyone who fulfills the Honors Program Requirements may apply during the application period. Please see Admission for application deadlines: First-Year students or Transfer/Continuing Mānoa Student(s).

6.  Do I need to see an Honors Program Academic Advisor?

You are required to see a Honors Program Faculty Specialist for mandatory advising prior to or during your first semester.

Upper Division Honors students are required to see our Honors Program Director for mandatory advising prior to enrolling in Honors coursework.

To schedule an appointment, please visit our website: http://manoa.hawaii.edu/undergrad/honors/advising/

7.  What is Bridge Advising?

Bridge Advising are advising sessions held by the Honors Program to help first and second year students transition to their junior and senior years in Honors. This is required.

8.  What exactly are Honors courses?

Honors provides a range of courses that allow you to satisfy General Education requirements, fulfill major requirements,and explore educational opportunities at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. There are two kinds of Honors courses: “A-section” and Honors “HON” courses.

9.  What’s the difference between an “A-section” and a regular introductory class?

“A Section” courses are special sections of regular classes that are reserved for Honors students. Enrollment is limited to 20 students and generally such courses provide students with a more in-depth and challenging exploration of the course subject matter.

Click here for “A-section” course descriptions.

10.  Why should I take an Honors “HON” class?

Honors “alpha” courses are special seminar courses which are part of an innovative “inquiry-based” curriculum designed to introduce students to research and creative work at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. These intimate seminars build community among Honors students, introduce our students to Honors faculty, and build the foundation to both to conduct research and do creative work.

Incoming freshman can start right away with HON 101: Introduction to Research at Mānoa, a course designed especially for first-year students.

For a list of Honors alpha courses taught each semester, check out Course Availability listing(s).

11.  Do I have to take Honors classes?

Students must take at least one “A-section” or HON class per semester to remain in good standing.

12.  What is required to remain in the Honors Program?

You must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.2 and take at least one Honors course per semester to remain in good standing.

13.  How many Honors students are in the residence halls?

Each year varies depending on how many students request this option. However, The Student Housing Office reserves rooms for the Honors Program at the top two to three connecting floors in the freshman hall, Hale Aloha Lokelani, in the Hale Aloha complex. Each floor accommodates 24-26 students.   The learn more about our housing option, please look at Honors Housing.

14.  What’s the difference between the Honors residence halls and the other halls on campus?

The biggest difference is the stronger sense of community. Because many Honors students in the residence halls are also in classes together, friendships and study groups are started more easily.

15.  Is being in Honors like being in a club like the National Honor Society in high school?

No. UHM Honors Program is not a club or Honors Society but an academic program. It is not affiliated with any other honors societies on campus. It does, however, similarly include co-curricular activities and incorporates service projects.

16.  What’s special about the professors who teach Honors classes?

Faculty who teach Honors courses are selected in a competitive process for which they must provide course proposals. They are selected specifically for their strong commitment to undergraduate teaching.

17.  Can anyone participate in Honors? What about a major in X?

All undergraduate majors are eligible to apply to the Honors Program. The application process to upper-division Honors includes a review by the department’s undergraduate advisor. In some cases, departments have additional entrance or program requirements for their majors.

Some majors have extensive requirements that may cause difficulties for students who wish to participate in Honors. With good planning and some willingness to be flexible most of these difficulties can be overcome. Students in doubt about the feasibility of doing Honors in their chosen major should schedule an appointment to talk with the Honors Program Director.