Honors Courses

Honors courses are open to qualified undergraduates in any school of the university.

University Honors Program

The University Honors Program provides opportunities for outstanding and creative undergraduate students in all schools at KU to develop their full potential during their undergraduate years. The Honors Program brings talented students together in honors classes and seminars to benefit from mutual interests and association. It brings students and faculty members together in a teaching and research environment that ensures high academic achievement and standards.

The program coordinates merit-based scholarship opportunities for qualified students, including KU awards such as the University Scholars Program. Honors Program staff are also responsible for the campus-wide nomination process for many competitive national awards, including the Goldwater, Truman, Rhodes, Marshall, Mitchell, and Udall scholarship. Students interested in these opportunities receive guidance from Honors Program staff for all aspects of these applications.

The Honors Student Council, the Honors Ambassador Program, and Peer Mentor Program provide opportunities for student leadership.

In general, honors classes are small, oriented to discussion, and taught by full-time members of the faculty. Most honors courses fulfill requirements and deal with introductory fundamentals and principles, but they are likely to do so in more depth than their non-honors equivalents. Honors courses are distinguished by the energetic atmosphere and critical thinking generated by the students in them and the faculty members who teach them.

Honors students are interested in expanding their knowledge and take a broad range of liberal arts and sciences courses. This is true of students in the professional schools (architecture, engineering, business, etc.) as well as students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Honors program advisors typically recommend that students explore their interests through the broad curriculum choices KU has to offer.

A first-year, semester-long tutorial experience provides an introduction to an academic area of study in an informal setting that allows students to get to know one another and the instructor. The tutorial explores the research methods of a discipline and acquaints the student with the research resources at KU.

Honors advising is personalized in meetings with honors staff, faculty fellows, and specially selected advisors from across the university. The program’s staff facilitates early and frequent contact with academic advisors in the students’ areas of interest. Honors students benefit from priority enrollment, which provides flexibility in planning one’s academic curriculum.

The program does not require a minimum number of honors courses a semester. However, students in the program quickly discover that honors courses engage the intellect, hold the interest, and create the enthusiasm for learning they seek at a university. Students in the professional schools are particularly encouraged to seek out honors course opportunities early, while their curricula still have breadth and flexibility.

Honors students are strongly encouraged to include research, study abroad experiences, internships, and community service in their academic programs. Consult Honors Program staff about applying these activities toward completion of honors requirements.


Students with strong high school curricula and excellent academic records are encouraged to apply to the University Honors Program. Students with composite ACT scores of 30 or above and unweighted high school grade-point averages of 3.75 or above are more likely to be admitted. Applications are evaluated on the basis of high school curriculum, grades, an essay, activities, and standardized test scores. Applications from first- and second-year students currently attending KU, as well as incoming transfer students, are evaluated on the basis of college course work, an essay, and college activities. Review of applications begins in October and continues through April. Send inquiries to the University Honors Program, 1506 Engel Road, Lawrence, KS 66045-3845. View further information and the online application.

Completion of the Program

Students graduate from the program by completing 8 honors units and the first-year, semester-long tutorial. The 8 units must be completed as follows:

  1. 6 honors courses (may include graduate-level courses numbered 700 and above).
  2. 1 out-of-classroom experience such as study abroad, departmental honors, documented research experience, approved and documented internship experience, or approved and documented community service.
  3. The eighth unit may be from either category 1 or category 2. Students also must maintain a minimum 3.25 grade-point average.

Nunemaker Center

This unique building, with its modern architectural design, is the home of the Honors Program, near the Daisy Hill residence halls at 15th Street and Engel Road. The Honors Program is home to several faculty fellows who serve the program and bring additional resources to the program to complement the full-time staff. Faculty fellows are available for advising, consultation about majors and careers, and guiding research projects.

Students are encouraged to take advantage of the spaces available at Nunemaker, including several classrooms and study areas, a kitchen, comfortable lounges that include 2 fireplaces, and wireless Internet access. Nunemaker also serves as a gallery for undergraduate art. The center is open days and evenings.


HNRS 177. First Year Seminar: _____. 3 Hours GE11 / U.

A limited-enrollment, seminar course for first-time freshmen, addressing current issues in Honors. Course is designed to meet the critical thinking learning outcome of the KU Core. First-Year Seminar topics are coordinated and approved by the Office of First-Year Experience. Prerequisite: First-time freshman status. LEC.

HNRS 190. Freshman Honors Seminar. 1 Hour U.

This seminar serves as an introduction to the Honors Program, to the research opportunities and other academic resources available at the University of Kansas and to specific disciplinary perspectives on an overarching theme. While closely examining a topic germane to the instructor, students develop skills in research, reading, writing and in-depth discussion. The instructor of the student's seminar also serves as the academic honors advisor for the enrolled students. Required of all freshman Honors students; open only to freshmen in the University Honors Program. LEC.

HNRS 195. Transfer Honors Seminar. 1 Hour U.

This seminar serves as an introduction to the Honors Program, and to the research opportunities and other academic resources available at the University of Kansas. This seminar fosters the transfer students' oral and written communication and the critical assessment of their academic and pre-professional goals. The instructor of the student's seminar also serves as the academic honors advisor for the enrolled students. Open only to transfer students in the University Honors Program. LEC.

HNRS 250. Citizen Philanthropy: An Introduction to the Nonprofit World. 3 Hours AE51 / U.

This interdisciplinary course explores the historical and economic roots of citizen generosity and the role of the nonprofit/philanthropic sector. This service learning course combines volunteer experiences and public service internships with research and exploration of the missions and ethical orientations of nonprofit organizations. The course is designed to explore the social and the ethical contexts of the nonprofit sector with opportunities to demonstrate social and civic responsibility. LEC.

HNRS 300. Honors Commons Course. 3 Hours H.

An opportunity to investigate a broad topic across various subjects and disciplines. In alliance with the University Commons at Spooner Hall, this course examines a problem or topic from perspectives of several disciplines across the arts, sciences, social sciences and humanities. The course is complemented by a dedicated annual university lecture series germane to the course's topic. Prerequisite: Membership in the University Honors Program. LEC.

HNRS 310. University Scholars Seminar. 3 Hours U.

An interdisciplinary survey to acquaint students with some of the main ideas, methods, and outstanding problems in various areas of scholarship. The organization of human knowledge inside and outside the university, as well as the implications of this organization for scholarship and society, are emphasized. Ideas and methods in various disciplines are contrasted and compared. Required of and open only to newly admitted students in the University Scholars Program. LEC.

HNRS 320. Global Scholars Seminar. 3 Hours H.

The Global Scholars Seminar is designed to foster academically talented and motivated undergraduate students' interest in global studies. Through interdisciplinary coursework, mentorship and research experience in global studies, the seminar provides cohorts of students with opportunities to develop their intellectual capabilities and interests to the fullest and better prepares them for careers, further study, and leadership roles in today's complex international arena. Required of and open only to newly admitted students in the Global Scholars Program. LEC.

HNRS 370. Personal Writing Seminar. 1 Hour U.

This seminar helps students develop their personal writing abilities. Students analyze language and rhetorical choices in the genre of the personal essay. Students demonstrate rhetorical flexibility within the genre, considering audience, purpose, and application of the material. Prerequisite: Permission of the University Honors Program. LEC.

HNRS 380. Critical Thinking and Advocacy Seminar. 1 Hour U.

The focus of this class is on honing the two basic skills of critical thinking and advocacy. In this seminar, students develop a basic system for critical analysis that can be applied generally; test that critical analysis system in a series of practicums to develop the skills necessary to apply it; and develop a basic system for designing effective and ethical persuasive messages. Prerequisite: Permission of the University Honors Program. LEC.

HNRS 430. Honors Interdisciplinary Seminar. 3 Hours U.

An opportunity to synthesize topic across various subjects and disciplines. This course examines a problem or topic from the perspectives of several disciplines. Open to qualified sophomores, juniors, and seniors in the University Honors Program. LEC.

HNRS 492. Topics and Problems on: _____. 1-6 Hours U.

An interdisciplinary study of different topics. Designed especially for juniors and seniors. LEC.

HNRS 495. Honors Directed Study. 1-3 Hours U.

Individual and supervised study of an interdisciplinary topic or topics. May be repeated for a total of up to 6 hours. Up to one 3-hour enrollment will count as one course toward completion of the University Honors Program. Prerequisite: Membership in the University Honors Program and consent of the instructor. IND.

HNRS 496. Honors Internship. 1-3 Hours U.

Students participate in an internship in an organization related to their professional/career goals. An internship plan is developed by the student in conjunction with the student's academic adviser and an authorized agent of the internship site. Prerequisite: Instructor permission required. INT.

HNRS 497. Honors Freshman Seminar Assistantship. 0 Hours.

Open to all Honors students selected to be Honors Freshman Seminar Assistants, regardless of major field. These students assist Seminar instructors in the teaching of an Honors seminar in various ways, including but not limited to: leading group discussion; engaging students in the learning process; developing classroom material; encouraging and guiding students to solve problems themselves and helping students prepare for their advising assignments. Offered fall semester only. May be repeated. LEC.

HNRS 520. University Scholars Junior/Senior Seminar. 2-3 Hours U.

An interdisciplinary seminar course designed for advanced-level students in the University Scholars Program. Faculty mentors are invited to attend. Will count toward completion of the University Honors Program. Prerequisite: HNRS 310 or concurrently. LEC.