Honors FAQs

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We are here to answer your questions!

Applying for college can be a daunting process. We've put together some information on how you can apply to the UAF Honors College and what you can expect once you are here.

If you would like to ask us questions directly, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Honors staff.

Honors College Application​

The easiest way to join the UAF Honors College is through an opt-in process on the general UAF application. When completing the application, students will be offered the opportunity to opt-in to both the Honors College and the Climate Scholars Program. If a student wishes to opt-in to Honors after completing the application and meets eligibility requirements, an opt-in link on the Honors website is available here: UAF Honors College Opt-in Form.

If a student does not meet opt-in criteria, an Honors petition form can be located here: UAF Honors College Petition. Petitions will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

To be eligible for the Honors opt-in process students must meet one of the following criteria:

  1. 3.70 or higher GPA
  2. RAHI graduate
  3. ANSEP participant
  4. Emerging Scholar Academy student
  5. UA Scholars
  6. BLaST awardee
  7. Highest tier Alaska Performance Scholarship awardee
  8. Students who have completed 30 or more Advantage Program credits

We encourage all students who do not meet these requirements, but are still interested in Honors, to apply through our Honors College petition. Students will need to submit the following items to be eligible for honors acceptance:

  1. Cumulative high school GPA (or college GPA if current UAF or transfer student)
  2. Three letters of recommendation
  3. Personal statement 
  4. Interview with Honors staff

We assess petitions to join Honors on a rolling basis. However, we encourage all incoming UAF Freshman to apply prior to June 1st.

All Honors students are automatically eligible for the Climate Scholars Program. Students who wish to be a Climate Scholar can opt in on the UAF general application or on our website: UAF Climate Scholars Opt-in Form.

Yes. We encourage students in any stage of their undergraduate career to apply to Honors. Our three tiers of Honors accomplishment are designed to provide flexible opportunities to transfer students and UAF students who did not have the opportunity to apply in their Freshman year.

Honors College Requirements

Students who fulfill their Honors graduation requirements graduate as University Honors Scholars. The three tiers of Honors accomplishment and their corresponding requirements follow:

Honors Scholar

12 Honors Credits

No Service Hours

Capstone Required

3.25 GPA

Honors Scholar, Distinction

18 Honors Credits

40 Service Hours

Capstone Required

3.50 GPA

Honors Scholar, Highest Distinction

24 Honors Credits

80 Service Hours

Capstone Required

3.50 GPA

Yes, all Honors students must take Honors-approved courses to achieve one of three levels of Honors designation at graduation (see graduation requirements). All first-year students are required to take Honors 101 and a corresponding reading seminar in fall. From this point, students earn credit through Honors courses, sections, contracts, and study away programming.

The Honors College offers exclusive interdisciplinary and innovative courses each semester. Students may also elect to take an Honors section of a general education requirement in their degree path. Honors sections are offered in Math, English, Biology, Chemistry, Statistics, Art, and countless other programs on campus.

In addition to Honors courses and Honors sections, students may contract courses 200-level and above for honors credit. This process allows students to take a deeper dive into material that captures their interest while building connections with faculty across campus.

The Honors College highly encourages every Honors student to study abroad in their undergraduate career. As international exchange has been proven to lead to individual growth and academic success, the Honors College strongly incentivizes study away by offering up to 6 Honors credits for semester-long exchanges.

No. There is no minimum GPA required to remain an Honors student. The Honors College will intervene to offer strong support if a student drops below a 3.00 GPA. 

Students must achieve a cumulative 3.25 GPA or higher to graduate as an Honors Scholar and a 3.5 GPA or higher to graduate with Honors Distinction.

The honors capstone project is the culmination of the honors experience for each student in the Honors College. It is intended to provide the student with a scholarly endeavor that incorporates the range of knowledge and skills the student has gained during their tenure at the University. It should challenge the student to synthesize knowledge, think critically, and develop a novel perspective on a topic of deep interest to the student. The honors capstone project is more in depth and demanding than a typical undergraduate term paper; at the same time, it is less than a Master’s thesis. It should involve the creation of new knowledge or insight, rather than simply summarizing information already generally known.

One of the major roles of your faculty mentor will be to challenge you to do more while preventing you from going overboard and trying to do Master’s level work. You will meet regularly with your mentor, and the Honors College Director will also communicate with your mentor about your progress. There are three substantial benefits derived from successfully completing a capstone project:

1) Involvement in independent, self-directed scholarship;

2) Preparation for graduate and/or professional level critical thinking and analytical writing;

3) Meaningful experience with project management, from inception through public presentation.

Each of these benefits is something you can point to with pride and a tremendous sense of accomplishment when you are applying for your first career position, graduate school, or professional school.


There is no application or entrance fee for joining the Honors College.

Yes, the Honors College is proud to offer its students a generous scholarship program, exceeding $100,000 in support each year. Honors students are eligible for several endowed scholarships, all of which we distribute annually. We also offer additional annual scholarship support to Honors students on both need and merit bases.

Honors students interested in biomedical research are also eligible to apply for the URISE program, covering two thirds of annual tuition and including a travel and research materials budget for rising sophomores.

General Honors Information

Since 1983, the Honors College has been serving high-achieving students at UAF. Students who fulfill our requirements graduate as University Honors Scholars, a proud designation that is added to the student’s diploma and resume for life.

Community: Boasting one of the strongest and most inclusive communities on campus, Honors students are bolstered by a dynamic and interdisciplinary group of mutually supporting students who are informed, responsible, and civically engaged.

Opportunity: While at UAF, University Honors Scholars are supported by robust and generous scholarship programs, innovative research and educational opportunities, and individualized academic and career support. Upon graduation, our students go on to pursue graduate education at the nation’s top medical and law schools, PhD programs, public health and public administration master’s programs, and more.

Experience: The Honors College is also a hub for service learning and experiential learning. All students who graduate within highest tiers engage in service to the community, preparing students for a life of leadership and service to humanity.

Programs: Signature programs within the Honors College include the Climate Scholars Program and the Pre Health Scholars Program. Offering highly interdisciplinary, climate-related experiential learning opportunities, the Climate Scholars Program allows students to interface regularly with top climate scientists and experts leading cutting-edge research in the Arctic. Pre Health Scholars have access to exclusive health-centered courses on campus, participate in unique medical study away programming, and act as peer-mentors and wellness counselors for our incoming cohorts of Honors students.

Courses: The Honors College features some of the most innovative and exciting transdisciplinary elective courses on campus, including Physics of Music, Ethics of Belief, Medical Humanities, and more. In addition to a diverse set of electives, the Honors College partners with every department on campus to provide Honors sections of general education requirements, allowing students to dive deeper into their degree paths, connect with instructors, and engage in independent research.

Our Honors students are distinguished by their talent and their ambition, but perhaps above all else our students are distinguished by their grit. Honors students arrive early to class, and stay after to ask their instructors probing questions. They are UAF ambassadors, club leaders, and student government presidents. Honors students found organizations, spearhead community initiatives, and win awards all over the world. Our University Honors Scholars are UAF’s force multipliers; and they are Alaska’s future leaders.

Traditionally, high achieving students are defined according to the GPA they received in high school. While the Honors College recognizes this metric as an important determinant of high achievement at UAF, we also seek to acknowledge students who exhibit  great resilience and grit, and possess a growth mindset.

The Honors College looks for the following characteristics in our students: (1) curiosity to discover the unknown, (2) enjoyment of problem solving, (3) the desire to help others directly and indirectly through research, service, and advocacy, and (4) an open and flexible approach to the future.

Our students come from every major across campus, from Biology and Engineering, to Music, Physics, Anthropology, Film, and more.

Yes. All Honors students have the option to live in the Honors College Living Learning Community (LLC) currently housed in Skarland Hall. The Honors LLC allows students to live in a supportive environment, plan and participate in Honors events with students who share similar interests, and gain a deeper connection to the Honors College as a whole.

Honors students also have access to the Honors House. Set in the heart of campus, the house serves as a home away from home for our Honors community, offering private study rooms, a game room, kitchen, washer and dryer, showers, and many other amenities.

Yes. The Honors College offers several distance education courses per semester to allow online students to meet Honors requirements. Distance Honors students are also encouraged to participate in course contracting in the absence of virtual Honors options. Honors 101 will be offered online in fall starting 2023.

Yes. Our Honors staff work hard to connect our current students with volunteer, internship, and job opportunities throughout their undergraduate experience and after graduation. In Honors, our students also have access to an ever-expanding network of alumni across the country and around the globe.

Yes. Although enrolled Honors students have priority registration, anyone interested in enrolling in an Honors course may contact Honors staff.

Yes. Honors is home to students in all stages of education and life. The Honors College welcomes all full-time, part-time, continuing, returning, and new students.

To learn more about honors, schedule an appointment with our Director, Alex Hirsch and/or Student Success Coordinator, Sophia May.

Honors courses challenge students to think critically, tackle real-world problems, and explore areas of knowledge outside of traditional degree paths. Often interdisciplinary (Medical Humanities, Physics of Music, and Arctic Innovation), Honors courses provide students access and connection to different departments, instructors, and communities across campus.

Honors sections offer students an opportunity to earn honors credit while taking a deeper dive into general education requirement courses. Taught side-by-side with standard course sections, Honors sections allow students to investigate additional course material, expand on theoretical course knowledge, and interface with course instructors. The Honors College offers a variety of Honors sections (Elementary Statistics, Writing in the Sciences, Calc 1, Beginning Drawing, etc.) each semester, both in-person and online.