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Honors Program

Joining the Honors Program

Qualifications for Admission to the UHP:

First-Year Students 

The University Honors Program admits 68 first-year students from among applicants to the program and those awarded Presidential Scholarships, Provost Scholarships, or recognized as Johnson Scholars finalists and semi-finalists, which rewards high achievement in classes, standardized tests, service to school and community, and leadership.

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. In addition to academic success, the Honors program also weighs other factors in determining a candidate's suitability for the limited number of places available each year.

Santa Clara University has adopted a two-year “test optional” policy beginning with Fall 2021 first-year applicants. Scores on the SAT or ACT are not required for students applying to Santa Clara University.  The University Honors Program will also be following this "test optional" policy.  Applicants can report scores on the Honors application if they wish, but will be at no advantage or disadvantage for doing so.

Transfer Students 

Students who transfer from another institution and wish to join the University Honors Program should contact the Director upon arrival on campus.


How to Join the UHP:

Selection of First-Year Students (Level I)

The Honors Program admits about 68 first-year students each fall.

There are two general paths into the University Honors Program as a first-year student:

  1. By invitation: Students who are offered a Presidential or Provost Scholarship upon admission to SCU are automatically invited into the UHP. Additionally, Johnson Scholar Semi-Finalists are also automatically invited.
  2. By application (check back in late-February/early March 2021 for a live application button): High-school seniors interested in admission to the University Honors Program should submit a Level 1 Application Form. Applications are due by 11:59 pm May 1, 2021. Applications received by Wednesday, April 14, 2021 will receive a response before May 1, 2021. All other applicants will hear back by mid-May. PLEASE NOTE: You will not be able to return to this application without losing your data. You will be asked to provide basic demographic information, your GPA and test scores, and to answer the following two short essay questions:
    1. Tell us something about yourself that we cannot learn from your college application. (500-600 words)
    2. What interests you about the University Honors Program? (250-300 words)

Current and Transfer Students (Level II)

Enrolled students not already in the UHP may apply for Level II after completing 32 quarter units of study at Santa Clara.  Normally, the minimum grade point for admission is 3.65 in courses taken at Santa Clara.  Preference for admission at level II is given to rising sophomores.  Transfer students should contact the Director upon arrival on campus.

Application procedures for Level II:

  • Submit a completed application.
  • Please request two letters of recommendation from faculty who have taught you at SCU.  At least one must be from a CTW or C&I instructor or a faculty member who has familiarity with your writing capabilities. Letters should be emailed to Claire Shaw (
  • Director will be in touch about a zoom meeting.
  • Applications are due by 11:59pm Monday April 26, 2021.  Accepted students will be notified by end of Spring term.  Waitlisted students remain on waitlist until Fall term begins. 


Level I Application Level II Application