Undergraduate Honors Program

The University College Honors program provides students with multiple opportunities to deepen and extend their knowledge, earn scholarships and academic awards, and join a community of intellectually and socially engaged adults.

The most prestigious distinction is Latin Honors: students do research in their field of study and graduate summa cum laude, manga cum laude, or cum laude. Students should speak with an academic advisor about tailoring an honors experience that meets their learning goals. Learn more about Latin Honors below.

Research and Advanced Study

Take your studies to a higher level after you have completed at least a semester at University College.

  • Internships for credit.
  • Work-study positions assisting with faculty research.
  • Combined bachelor’s/master’s degree programs.
  • Funded research for students working on a Latin Honors thesis.

Graduate with Distinction

Your additional work will be reflected in your academic records. Among the recognitions are:

  • Alpha Sigma Lambda and/or Phi Beta Kappa honor societies.
  • Dean’s Honors awarded at graduation to students with top grade point averages.
  • Latin Honors, in which your degree is awarded cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude, are available to students who complete a Latin Honors thesis and achieve certain grade point averages.

Dedicated Events

Take advantage of the many lectures, performances, and symposium opportunities on campus.

  • Research night, honor society ceremony, and other University College events.
  • Attend campus-wide events as a group with other honors students.

Latin Honors

Latin Honors is a designation offered to only a few students. At University College, Latin Honors indicates that you have earned top grades and completed a substantial research project. Students admitted to Latin Honors receive a scholarship covering their thesis units and funding for research.

Submit a Preliminary Authorization Form to start the application process. Before applying, you should have completed U11 English Composition 203, Critical and Researched Writing, and at least 9 units of upper-level work at Washington University with a GPA of 3.65 or higher.

On approval, you will gain permission to take one day class per semester at evening rates and begin working with your department to identify a faculty research advisor. You will also be invited to participate in any honors activities sponsored by University College.

Complete a two-semester research and writing project working with your major department and a faculty advisor to earn your degree with Latin Honors.

Latin Honors GPA minimums are:

  • 3.65 for cum laude
  • 3.75 for magna cum laude
  • 3.85 for summa cum laude

What are the steps and timeline to complete Latin Honors?

Semester 1 - Fall

  • Step 1: Prepare request for preliminary authorization and submit to University College. We recommend Argumentation (U11 3120) as your upper-level English Composition course.
  • Step 2: Take a day course (authorized by your academic advisor) in your major, if you wish.
  • Step 3: Familiarize yourself with the major requirements for honors.
  • Step 4: Contact major department faculty coordinator to begin discussing research options.

Semester 2 - Spring

  • Step 1: Prior to spring break, apply to your major program department.
  • Step 2: Check in with faculty coordinator in major department by mid-semester.
  • Step 3: Find a research advisor approved by the department to supervise your research.
  • Step 4: Begin preliminary research.

Semester 3 - Fall

  • Step 1: Register and complete the honors research methods course offered by your department.
  • Step 2: If your department does not offer a research methods class, work with University College and faculty coordinator in your major to obtain research training.
  • Step 3: Apply for research funding. Up to $200 is available for students who apply to participate in the WUSTL undergraduate research program.
  • Step 4: Your research project should be well underway.

Semester 4 - Spring

  • Step 1: Complete research and write findings. Deliver thesis to research advisor and University College at least two weeks before the end of the semester.
  • Step 2: Defend your honors thesis – the defense is a brief oral presentation and question and answer session.Complete your defense at least ten days before commencement.