Students at the University of Iowa have two opportunities to participate in honors experiences. Membership in one does not affect membership in the other; some students will do one and some students will do both (or neither). Students are encouraged to consider the best option to meet their own goals and interests.

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 coursework contract to convert upper level major courses to Honors.

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 deadlines: The deadline for Spring 2021 applications is November 15, 2020. The deadline for Fall 2021 applications is May 1, 2021.


  • 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. We recommend applying to the university no later than November 1 for Spring entry, and no later than April 17 for Fall entry.
    • Spring 2020 applicants will be able to apply for the honors program through their Admissions Profile in MyUI within a week after being admitted to the university. Fall 2020 applicants will be able to access the honors application February 1 or within a week of being admitted to the university, whichever comes last. If you do not see the application in your Admissions Profile within that timeframe, contact 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 maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.33 in University of Iowa coursework to qualify for University Honors.

You must meet honors membership and curricular requirements in order to remain a member of the University Honors Program.

Staying in the Program

If your UI cumulative grade point average falls below 3.33, you have one semester to rectify the situation. In other words, if your UI cumulative GPA is lower than 3.33 for two consecutive spring and fall semesters, you will be removed from the program.

Students who leave the program due to missing coursework or a GPA below the minimum can reapply to the program, but should be prepared to demonstrate readiness to maintain the curricular and GPA 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.