University Honors Program

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The University Honors Program is a university-wide undergraduate program that models the intellectual excitement and individualized attention of a small liberal arts and sciences college within a comprehensive research university. Each student is mentored individually, through our curricular and co-curricular offerings and in our designated Honors Living Learning Community. Our students graduate with combinations of majors and minors that are unique to each individual, ready to embark on avenues of learning and careers most true to who they are. Academic enhancement opportunities include:

  • Honors seminars, especially designed by faculty, experimental in concept and design that fulfill core curriculum requirements
  • Early introduction to faculty research
  • Meeting leading scholars, artists, and practitioners through our distinguished speaker series
  • Advising on major scholarships, fellowships, graduate school
  • Honors sponsored opportunities for civic engagement
  • Study Abroad opportunities
  • Early registration each semester
  • Extended library privileges

The Honors Certificate

The University Honors Program (UHP) offers the Honors Certificate, a distinction which appears on official transcripts. To earn an Honors Certificate, undergraduate students must:  

  • Complete 18 hours of UHP-approved course work, including 3 credit hours taken through a UHON seminar. The total number of hours are completed through UHON seminars, contracted courses, independent studies, Honors-recognized courses, and a senior project or thesis 1 under the direction of a faculty member.
  • Have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.3 on all SIU course work at graduation.
  • Complete 20 hours of civic engagement and/or campus service per year. Exceptions are made when a student is studying abroad and/or engaged off campus in pursuit of credit bearing professional or internship experience.

 Students can petition to waive up to 6 credit hours provided:

  • Students have AP credit certified by the appropriate examinations for college credit
  • Transfer students with Associates degrees
  • Transfer students with Honors Courses

The University allows UHP students to substitute UHON seminars for any or all of their 29 semester hours of University Core Curriculum requirements.

UHP students may be exempted from all University Core Curriculum requirements if they (1) pass all five CLEP General Examinations before completing 12 semester hours of college credit (minimum accepted scores are: natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities, 52; English composition with essay, 61; and mathematics, 58); and (2) complete the UHP Graduation Option. No retroactive extension of the CLEP privilege will be allowed.

Membership Requirements

  • Continuous enrollment in Honors courses, subject to exceptions as determined by the program director.
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.3 on all SIU course work. If the SIU cumulative average drops below 3.3, students will be placed on probation for one semester; if it remains below 3.3 for two consecutive semesters, students will be suspended from the program for at least one semester and forfeit all Honors benefits. Thereafter, students may reapply to the program when their cumulative average rises to 3.3 or higher.
  • Students must earn a grade of C or above in Honors courses for the courses to be counted towards the Honors certificate.

Admission Requirements

Honors is an open-enrollment program and students can apply until their junior year. Admission is by application, only after the student has been admitted to the university.

Applications are reviewed holistically. Academic achievement is considered in combination with curricular activities, personal experiences and circumstance, and civic engagement. Requirements vary depending upon the applicant’s status as an entering, continuing, or transfer student.

  • Entering freshmen qualify with a high school rank in the top 10 percent of their graduating class or a minimum high school grade point average of 3.3 on a four-point scale.
  • Continuing SIU students qualify with a minimum cumulative SIU grade point average of 3.3.
  • Transfer students qualify with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.3 on all non-SIU college-level work.

For more information, including applications, please consult the UHP website:

1All UHP projects and theses must be approved in advance by a faculty member, with notification to the program director