The Difference Between University Honors & Honors in the Major

The University Honors designation requires the completion of a curriculum established by the University of Iowa Honors Program. Honors in the major requirements are established by the department or college conferring the degree. Earning Honors in the major satisfies the experiential learning requirement to earn University Honors.

While the honors program facilitates the approval process for honors in the major at graduation it is the department's responsibility to:

  • identify and enforce the requirements to earn honors in the major,
  • advise students pursuing honors in the major,
  • and assist with verifying/processing honors in the major graduates.

Each department must identify a faculty or staff member to serve as the Honors Advisor who oversees honors within the department. This person is the main contact for both students and the honors program for all things related to honors in that major.


Important Dates for Honors Advisors

Graduation Analysis requires a two-step process to confirm honors in the major during the student's last semester at Iowa. Students must apply for their degree on MyUI before they can be awarded honors in their major. 

The following dates only apply during the student's last semester at Iowa:

  • Graduation Applications and Honors in the Major Graduation Applications are always due by the last business day of the month following the start of the semester.
  • The Honors Thesis Submission Agreement and Honors Thesis/Project are always due by 11:59pm on the Wednesday of finals week.
  • After grades post you will receive an email asking you to verify if all applicants have completed the requirements to earn honors in the major within 2-3 business days; typically on the Thursday following the end of the semester.
Engineering, Nursing, and Tippie Honors Advisors

For colleges administering their own application process for honors in the major:

  1. After the degree application deadline has passed send a list of students eligible to graduate with honors in the major to Sara Sullivan (sara-c-sullivan@uiowa.edu), Registrar Services Coordinator.
  2. After grades post you will receive an email asking you to verify if all applicants have completed the requirements to earn honors in the major within 2-3 business days; typically on the Thursday following the end of the semester.

New Honors Advisors

Welcome to the Honors at Iowa community and thank you for supporting honors education! A few tips to get started in your new role:

  1. Learn how students become members of the University Honors Program. Note that membership is not required to graduate with honors in the major.*
  2. Know the requirements to earn honors in the major you're assigned to; we recommend making them available on your department's website. Your students will have a lot of questions!
  3. Know how students apply to graduate with honors in the major.
  4. If your major requires a thesis or capstone project, familiarize yourself with the Honors Thesis Submission Agreement is and the Honors Thesis Repository.
  5. Help us keep our Honors Advisor Directory up-to-date and let us know who you are by emailing honors-program@uiowa.edu.

Questions? Contact the Honors Advising Director Holly Yoder (holly-yoder@uiowa.edu) with questions related to advising honors students. Contact the Honors Director Dr. Art Spisak (art-spisak@uiowa.edu) regarding honors in the major requirements and teaching honors.

*University Honors Program membership is not a given requirement for students to earn honors in their major. Individual departments or colleges may determine membership should be required for students who wish to earn honors in their major.


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