University of Iowa

All new members are required to attend an orientation whether they join as a first-year, transfer, or current student. University Honors orientations are held in a variety of formats to accommodate every situation.

Incoming First-Year Orientation & Welcome to Honors

Incoming first-year honors students will receive a letter in May prior to summer orientation that includes information about University Honors orientation, which will be held from 10:45-11:30 a.m. on the first day. Your Hawkeye Guide should remind you of this when you arrive. You'll receive this handout, and here is what you can expect to hear about:

Introduction to Honors Curriculum
  • The honors curriculum is made up of 12 semester hours of honors coursework and 12 semester hours of experiential learning.
  • The goal for orientation is for new honors students to register for their first-semester courses, including an Honors First-Year Seminar and possibly one or two other honors courses. 
    • Honors Courses will be taken over a student's first four semesters. The 12 semester hour requirement usually works out to be three or four courses. These courses can be honors versions of general education courses, honors versions of required department courses, or honors primetime and first-year seminars (see below). Your Hawkeye Guide or academic advisor will help you locate honors course on MyUI during the "Exploring the Curriculum" portion of orientation.
    • There are many ways to earn experiential learning credit, including, but not limited to internships, study abroad, research, and honors in the major. The focus at orientation, however, is on honors coursework. Honors students will be able to meet with Honors Peer Mentors or a member of the honors advising staff once they are living on campus in the fall to explore which experiential opportunities will be the most valuable for them, and when to complete them. 
  • Honors Primetime is a three-and-a-half day workshop exclusively for incoming first-year honors students which earns participating students 1 semester hour of honors coursework credit. See below for more information on this unique opportunity!
  • Most honors students are required to enroll in an Honors First-Year Seminar for their first semester. If your major requires a First-Year Seminar, you are not required to enroll in an Honors First-Year Seminar; however, you may still choose to do so!
    • First-Year Seminars are 1 semester hour courses taken during a student's first semester. Students can choose from a wide range of courses and disciplines, and will register for their first-year seminars during orientation. 
Honors Primetime

Primetime is a three-and-a-half day workshop for incoming first-year honors students. Workshops of about twenty students engage in hands-on learning with exceptional UI faculty and staff, and successful completion earns 1 semester hour of honors credit.

Students at Primetime get to know other honors students, connect with honors staff and faculty, and gain an introduction to the distinct approach honors education offers, all while moving in early and becoming familiar with the university campus and Iowa City. 

Primetime registration begins July 10, after all summer orientation sessions have completed. You can learn more about Primetime and prepare to register here. 


Come to orientation with questions! Parents and students can talk to student ambassadors and staff members during the 10:45-11:30 a.m. orientation, and talk one-on-one during the Information Fair on Day 2. 

Have more questions? Check out our Honors Orientation Handout, and feel free to email with absolutely any questions!

Be sure to sign up for our quarterly honors newsletter here! You can also explore the newsletter achieves here. 

Transfer Student Orientation

Transfer students learn about Honors at Iowa during a 30-minute session at 11:00 a.m. on Transfer Orientation Days in the Penn State Room of the Iowa Memorial Union.

Transfer students are encouraged to make a follow-up appointment for one-on-one University Honors advising by emailing

Current Student Orientation & Welcome to Honors

Honors at Iowa holds Welcome to Honors sessions for current/continuing students who join the program. Welcome to Honors sessions are held within the first five weeks of the semester and are advertised in the Honorable Messenger, our weekly email newsletter. New members also receive an email invitation to sign up for a Welcome to Honors session. New members may also arrange individual orientations by attending Peer Mentor walk-in hours or by setting up an appointment. See here for more information about Peer Mentoring.