Students at the University of Iowa have two ways to participate in honors experiences: University Honors and honors in the major. Students are encouraged to consider the best option to meet their own goals and interests, and some pursue both. Students must meet Honors Program membership and curricular requirements in order to remain a member of the University of Iowa Honors Program while eligibility for honors in the major is determined by academic departments.

University Honors

is a program of study that spans all undergraduate colleges. The curriculum includes requirements in both coursework and experiential learning. Most, but not all, of the coursework opportunities in University Honors are available through general education courses; students who have completed most or all of their general education requirements prior to joining the program should be prepared to take University Honors courses as electives or use the honors contract to convert a standard course for honors credit.

Students who have honors coursework from their transfer institution may request that their transferred honors credits be counted towards the University Honors coursework requirement.

Additionally, students are required to complete honors credits (units specific to the University Honors program) in experiential learning, chosen from a menu of options. If you are interested in University Honors, you should pursue the application process described below.


  • Application Dates:  
    • If you are entering Iowa in the Spring of 2023, the deadline to apply to the Honors Program is December 1st.
      • For international students, October 1st
    • If you are entering Iowa in the Fall of 2023, the deadline to apply to the Honors Program is July 15th.​​​​​​​
    • The deadline for Fall 2022 was May 1st. 



  • Application process: Students must be admitted to the University of Iowa prior to submitting an application for the Honors Program, but they do not need to commit to attending the university prior to applying for honors.
    • Applicants will be able to apply for the Honors Program through their Admissions Profile in MyUI. If you do not see the application in your Admissions Profile, contact admissions to have the application added to your profile.

Characteristics of a Successful Application

While there are not formal minimum requirements for entry into the Honors Program, nor are there guarantees of admission given a specific GPA, we have traditionally admitted transfer students with at least a 3.5 GPA in all previous college coursework. Applicants might consider the following characteristics when choosing to apply:

  • Students' responses to the essay prompt will play a very important role in the selection of future honors students.
    • Essay prompt:  Please describe your reason for applying to the University Honors program of study at the University of Iowa. Why do you think it is a good match for your goals and interests?
    • Transfer applicants would do well to review the coursework and experiential learning requirements and opportunities prior to completing an application.
  • Honors students are required to take an honors course their first semester in the Program at Iowa to remain in the Program.

Staying in the Program

You will need to take an honors course your first semester in the Honors Program. This can be an honors section of a course, a HONR course, or a contracted course.

You will need to meet with an Honors Peer Mentor or staff advisor within your first year in the Honors Program. 

Students who leave the program due to missing coursework can reapply to the program, but should be prepared to demonstrate readiness to maintain the curricular requirements.

Your membership does not guarantee you will graduate with University Honors.

Honors in the Major

Allows students to dive deeper into their field of study. Requirements and opportunities vary by department and college, but can include mentored research, creative projects or performances, honors-designated coursework, and/or writing a thesis. Additional requirements, such as minimum GPAs, typically apply.

The University of Iowa Honors Program does not house or oversee honors in the major; rather, honors in the major is based in the college and department from which you are earning your degree. Information on honors in the major for each undergraduate degree granting college can be found at:

Questions about pursuing honors in your major should be directed to your departmental or collegiate advisor.