Jul 24, 2024  
2015-2016 UMass Dartmouth Undergraduate Catalog 
2015-2016 UMass Dartmouth Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

University Honors Program

University Honors Program

The University Honors Program is part of the statewide Commonwealth Honors Program. The Honors Program is open to qualified undergraduate students from every college and academic department. It is not a separate college, major or minor.

The mission of the University Honors Program is to promote a lifetime love of learning and creative activity; to encourage the spirit of community responsibility; and to enable students to undertake original research or creative work in their chosen field, so that they will be well prepared for graduate study and/or professional employment. Students who fulfill the requirements of the Honors Program graduate as Commonwealth Scholars, a statewide recognition of exceptional academic achievement. The Commonwealth Scholar honor is bestowed at the annual Honors Convocation ceremony in May, and is noted on the student’s diploma and transcript.

 The minimum requirements for graduation as a Commonwealth Scholar are:

  • A minimum of 15 credits of honors coursework completed with a grade of B or better, including completion of Honors 301: Research Across the Disciplines;
  • An independent honors research thesis or creative project, with a grade of B or higher, for which students typically receive 3 to 6 credits; and
  • A cumulative grade point average of 3.2 or higher.

Honors courses are offered in a wide variety of departments. Courses taken for Honors credit may be applied to university, college and/or departmental requirements, as appropriate, just like non-honors courses. Students may also contract with individual instructors to enrich up to two non-honors courses for honors credit.

Additional benefits of membership in the University Honors Program include: 

  • Honors housing;
  • early registration for all classes, honors and non-honors;
  • a wide variety of extracurricular activities and events; and
  • the opportunity to present research at conferences on and off campus. 

Freshman applicants to UMass Dartmouth are invited to join the Honors Program on the basis of standardized test scores and high school records that predict university performance at the honors level. There is no separate application process.

Transfer students who have participated successfully in the Commonwealth Honors Program at other colleges and universities in the Massachusetts public system of higher education are automatically eligible for membership in the UMass Dartmouth Honors Program. The University Honors Program accepts up to 12 honors transfer credits from other institutions participating in the Commonwealth Honors Program.

Transfer students who have not previously participated in the Commonwealth Honors Program may apply to join the UMass Dartmouth Honors Program. Admission into the Honors Program is normally limited to those students who have completed 40 or fewer university credits, including advanced placement test credits. The 40-credit limit does not apply to transfer students who have successfully participated in the Commonwealth Honors Program at other Massachusetts institutions of public higher education. 

Students who have already begun their studies at UMass Dartmouth may apply to join on the basis of their academic performance at UMass Dartmouth. Admission into the Honors Program is normally limited to those students who have completed 40 or fewer university credits, including transfer and advanced placement test credits. 

Honors students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.2 or higher at all times. Students must also remain on track to graduate as Commonwealth Scholars in order to remain in the Honors Program. For more information, see “University Honors Program” in the “Interdisciplinary Programs” section of this catalog. 

Students in the University Honors Program may also participate in departmental honors programs and societies, where these are available. With the approval of the thesis/project evaluation committee, a single thesis or project may satisfy the requirements for both departmental honors and graduation as a Commonwealth Scholar.

Departmental Honors

Several departments offer to qualified students a special curriculum leading to honors in the major field. Students satisfactorily completing the departmental requirements for honors in the major will, upon graduation, have their diplomas so inscribed, and their honors status will be so designated on the graduation program. Departments will notify all eligible candidates by the end of their junior year. Potential participants shall follow departmental guidelines for entry into the honors program.

Participants shall have a minimum GPA of 3.000 for all course work. Departments may require higher minima and, in addition, may set minimum GPAs in the majors. The GPA will normally be determined after the fifth semester.

Departmental honors programs will include an appropriate end product, normally a project or thesis. A maximum of six credit hours may be awarded for completion of the project/thesis. Departments shall develop procedures for approval of participants’ proposals. A faculty sponsor or honors advisor shall advise an honors candidate, according to departmental or program guidelines. An evaluation committee, which shall be multidisciplinary in nature, shall be established according to departmental or program guidelines. This committee shall evaluate the completed honors project/thesis and determine if the work meets standards for honors.