University Honors Program

Mission and Vision

Vision: The honors program is a community of independent thinkers committed to the pursuit of academic excellence and global engagement.

Mission: The University Honors Program promotes intellectual excellence, critical thinking, and global engagement through seminar-style courses, difficult dialogues, and mentored independent research. Student-directed Honors programming builds community ties and fosters student leadership in the campus community and beyond.

General Information

The University Honors Program is the umbrella Honors Program for the entire University, providing Santa Clara’s most academically accomplished students with intellectual opportunities based in small, seminar-style classes, especially in courses fulfilling Undergraduate Core Curriculum requirements. The UHP course of study combines broadly based, liberal learning with depth of specialization in a major field. UHP courses are designed to fit within the curricula of the humanities, natural and social sciences, business, and engineering. Possible majors include every undergraduate field in the University. With an average of 17 students each, seminars emphasize analytical rigor, effective expression, and interaction among professors and students. In the classroom and elsewhere on campus, UHP students enjoy a level of collaboration exceptional even at Santa Clara.

Notable Features

The University Honors Program features priority registration, housing in four of the eight RLCs, special lectures every quarter, a comprehensive yearlong senior thesis or project, and special fellowships and scholarships available only to Honors students.

How and When to Apply

Level I

The Honors Program admits 68 first-year students each fall into what is called Level I. Students apply at the time of their general SCU application. Level I includes a curriculum of nine Honors-level courses plus a senior thesis. See the UHP website for more detail.

Level II

First-year students who have established a grade point average of 3.75 after completing two full time quarters of study at Santa Clara may apply for admission to Level II. Applicants will be evaluated for entry into Level II based on academic performance, endorsements from two faculty members, and a short essay. To complete the Honors program, students must take Honors 20; one Honors RTC or Ethics; four Honors electives; and complete a senior thesis. Students must submit applications for Level II by the end of week 4 in the spring quarter of their first year. Level II application forms are available on the UHP website.

Students who transfer from another institution are encouraged to contact UHP as soon as they arrive on campus to be considered for admission to the program, based on their prior academic record.

Qualifications for First-Year Admission

Entering Honors Program students typically present a combined SAT in the upper 1400s or higher (ACT scores around 32 or higher), with a correspondingly high grade point average in college-prep courses.These considerations represent typical qualifications and do not guarantee admission to the program. The director may weigh other factors in determining a candidate’s suitability for the limited number of places available each year. Acceptance recognizes high achievement in classes, standardized tests, service to school and community, leadership, and a desire for lifelong learning. For more information about courses offered through the University Honors Program, see Chapter 6.