Admission to the University Honors Program
University Honors Program (UHP) Admissions is by invitation only. Three points of entry exist:
- Incoming UC Davis First-Years are invited to join UHP during the Freshman Admissions period. All students who are offered the Regents Scholarship will be invited to join UHP; the remaining invitations are based on an Undergraduate Admissions holistic review. Students are notified through the campus acceptance email and packet if they have been invited to join the University Honors Program. Selected UHP participants must accept their offer via MyAdmissions by the UC Davis SIR deadline (May 1) for admissions.
- Incoming UC Davis Transfer students are invited to join UHP during the Transfer Admissions period. All students who are offered the Regents Scholarship will be invited to join UHP; if openings remain, additional invitations will be based on an Undergraduate Admissions holistic review. Students are notified through the campus acceptance email and packet if they have been invited to join the University Honors Program. Selected UHP participants must accept their offer via MyAdmissions by the UC Davis SIR deadline (June 1) for transfer admissions.
- Select high performing, high potential UC Davis first-year students are invited to apply through the UHP On-Campus Admit (OCA) program. Selected first-year students will be emailed an electronic application by February. The application consists of short open-ended essays and questionnaire responses, requires a letter of recommendation from a UC Davis faculty member - Associate, Assistant, or (Full) Professor; Lecturers accepted - and an optional letter from an individual who can speak to one's current and future contributions (e.g., community agency, advisor). Applicants will be notified by mid-April of their acceptance/decline status.
Frequently Asked Questions about Admission to UHP
- How do I get into UHP? Is there a separate application for UHP?
- Admission to UHP is by-invitation only. For prospective first-year and transfer students there is no additional application for UHP; your UC Davis application also serves as your UHP application. For current first-year UC Davis students, select students will be invited to apply through our On-Campus Admissions program.
- How will I know that I have been accepted to UHP?
- Accepted incoming first-year and transfer students will receive their UHP invitation at the same time as their UC Davis admission. Invited students will see their invitation in their MyAdmissions portal. The MyAdmissions portal is also where invited students will accept their UHP and UC Davis invitations should they choose to attend.
- Why didn’t I get into UHP? What options do I have now?
- Getting into UC Davis and UHP is highly competitive. Each year approximately 200 first-year and 30 transfer students – only about 2.5% of incoming new students – join UHP each year. We also balance our first-year class by College, so only about 15% of the incoming class will be College of Engineering majors, 25% in the College of Biological Sciences, and so on. Unfortunately that means many highly qualified students are unable to join UHP.
For first-year (freshman admit) students we have an On-Campus Admissions (OCA) program. Students who perform exceptionally well during their first quarter of study will be invited to apply to UHP during the Winter Quarter of their first year. Application invitations are sent in Winter Quarter, and admissions decisions announced in Spring quarter. There is no OCA program for transfer students. Students wishing to pursue honors outside of UHP should speak with their major advisor about honors opportunities within their major, as well as speak with an advisor in their Dean’s Office to be made aware of the requirements for graduating from UC Davis with High or Highest Honors.
- Why should I join UHP?
- There are many reasons to join UHP from the small, interactive honors classes with superb faculty, to the enthusiastic and high-achieving community of honors peers, to the supportive and knowledgeable staff. Throughout the four-year UHP curriculum, students are able to grow and tackle new challenges such as research and leadership positions that prepare them for their future career. Overall, UHP provides a great support system for students as they transition to the university as well as a long-lasting community throughout your years at UC Davis.
- What are the benefits of participating in the University Honors Program?
- There are many benefits to participating in UHP. First-year students live in the Honors Living-Learning Community in Currant Hall. During their first and second year students take small, interactive, and interdisciplinary honors classes, many of which are only ever offered to Honors students and which provide students an opportunity to form mentorship relationships with faculty. Students of all years receive graduate-level library privileges, transcript notation for completing each year’s UHP curriculum, access to special community-building and academic events, and access to UHP’s dedicated team of advisors, professional staff, and student staff.
Additionally, beginning in their first quarter of study, UHP students receive Priority Registration. UHP Students register on the first day of registration for all quarters they are actively enrolled in UHP. Due to the structure of summer orientation, students will register for classes during their summer orientation session which may not be the first day of registration; however, seats are held in all UHP courses and in popular first-year classes such that students have a fair chance of registration regardless of which orientation session they attend.
Frequently Asked Questions about participating in UHP
- What are the requirements for participating in UHP?
- UHP is a four-year program. First- and second-year students take small, interactive, and interdisciplinary honors classes – a minimum of one each quarter for a total of six courses. Students in their third year participate in a research preparation course and then explore career paths through service learning and a project activity, which help prepare them to complete a signature work in their fourth year. Please see the Curriculum page for more details.
This timeline is shifted for On-Campus Admit (OCA) and Transfer students. The OCA curriculum is the same as for students beginning UHP in their first year, except that OCA students take one year of courses instead of two, for a total of three Honors courses. OCA students then go on to complete the remaining Year 3 and Year 4 UHP curriculum. Transfer students take the transfer seminar in Fall quarter of their first year, then go on to complete the service learning and project activities in Winter and Spring quarters. In their second and final year, transfer students complete a signature work. Please see the Transfer Admissions page for more information about the transfer curriculum.
- What is an Honors class?
- Honors classes are small, interactive, and often interdisciplinary classes with superb faculty that may fulfill University General Education (GE) and/or Major requirements. One of the primary benefits of these courses is their small size: Honors courses are typically capped at 25 students. Additionally, honors classes often explore unique topics that are not offered in large lectures. Professors are able to conduct discussion-based creative projects with the small class sizes. Many students develop mentorship relationships or develop research projects with the faculty from their honors classes. These classes are also a great way to connect with your fellow honors peers.
- How many Honors classes am I required to take?
- Students who begin UHP as first-years are required to take three Honors courses per year during their first two years, one course per quarter. Students admitted to UHP through the On-Campus Admission program take a total of three Honors courses, one each quarter during their first year with UHP, which is their second year at UC Davis. Although transfer students are not required to take a Year 1-2 UHP course, they are required to take the UHP Transfer Seminar.
- What kind of classes are offered?
- There are a wide variety of classes offered, topics range from “Design of Coffee” to “History of Science Fiction” to “Cyborgs and Prostheses”! Visit the Courses page for a complete list of recent and upcoming honors classes. Many Honors courses fulfill major requirements such as Calculus or Biology as well as fulfilling GE requirements.
- Can I participate in UHP even if I want to double major/minor or am pre-med/pre-vet/etc. and have a full schedule already?
- Of course! UHP students are often enthusiastic and high achieving students, many of our cohort complete double majors, add on minors, or are pre-professional student. With priority registration and the help of the UHP advisors, Honors students can develop the best schedule to fit their goals for their undergraduate education. The UHP curriculum is not meant to be an added stress to an already full schedule; honors classes often fulfill GE or major requirements while the third and fourth year requirements are intended to support students in exploring and preparing for their future career paths. For example, pre-vet students can volunteer at a veterinary clinic for their third year volunteer requirement and double majors can develop a signature work that combines their interests!
- Is there a minimum GPA requirement to stay in UHP? What happens if I have a low GPA one quarter?
- UHP’s annual, minimum University of California (UC) GPA is 3.25 to remain in good program standing. Our GPA goal for students remains a 3.5 and above to gain access to faculty mentored departmental thesis programs and/or transcript designation awarding honors, high honors, and highest honors in many majors. This goal also includes increased professional and graduate school admission and post-graduate fellowships success.
This GPA minimum is per academic year; if you have a quarter that falls below this minimum you still have the rest of the academic year to raise your GPA. Additionally, our advisors are here to support you and can help you explore new study strategies, resources for your mental well-being, or other changes to help you improve. If your GPA is below the minimum at the end of the year UHP also offers an appeals process to stay in the program.
- Does my participation in UHP go on my transcript? Is it the same as graduating “with honors” or “cum laude”?
- If you complete all of the honors curriculum and maintain the minimum 3.25 GPA then you will receive notation on your transcript for each year you have participated in UHP. Graduating “with honors” or “cum laude” is determined by each individual College; this is generally based on having a top percentile GPA although some colleges have additional requirements. Visit our Honors at UC Davis page for additional clarification.
If you have additional questions, reach out to us and we will be happy to have one of our staff or a current student chat with you about the program. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office 530-752-3225 and we will be in contact with you as soon as we can!