Year 3 - Signature Work Preparation

Atri Toussi

UHP Year 3 – Signature Work Preparation

As third-year students dive into upper division and major coursework, the University Honors Program (UHP) seeks to enhance each student's educational experience by providing flexible curriculum options centered on community service, project activities, and research-based interests to help them prepare for their fourth-year UHP Signature Work. Students may begin their Year 3 curriculum any time after starting at the university and must complete all the following by the end of their third year:

  • Signature Work Preparation Course
  • Community Service
  • Project Activity

Transcript notation for UHP Year 3 is earned by completing each activity by the end of the academic year and meeting the UHP GPA requirement.


Signature Work Preparation Course

All UHP students complete a Signature Work preparation course by the end of their third year. This course helps students explore their potential research interests and learn how to navigate the research university and its processes in advance of their culminating fourth-year signature work. UHP offers a course for continuing students and one for new transfer students that is designed to support their transition to a research university. Click each option below for more information about the courses.

  • Continuing Third-Year Students
  • Research Preparation, Conduct, and Communication is a 1-unit course focused on how research is practiced in preparation for the fourth-year Signature Work. Students learn how to craft research questions and proposals, approach potential faculty mentors, and examine the opportunities and limitations that accompany inquiry.

    Two versions of the course are offered each academic year in varying quarters: (1) social science, humanities and arts and (2) natural sciences and engineering.
  • Transfer Third-Year Students
  • Understanding the Research University is a 2-unit seminar taken during each UHP transfer student's first quarter at UC Davis. It introduces incoming transfer students to campus resources, opportunities, and avenues of pursuing their academic and career interests, all while building community. Participants are co-taught by the Dean of Undergraduate Education, Carolyn Thomas, and UHP's Third- and Fourth-Year Advisor.


University Honors Program students and staff volunteer at 50 Bikes for 50 Kids on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January 2019.
UHP students and staff volunteer at 50 Bikes for 50 Kids on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January 2019.

Community Service

One of the core values of the University Honors Program is Service. Honors students exemplify service through a wide variety of opportunities; students give back through research and academics, career exploration, and local community service and global projects. By the end of their third year, UHP students must engage in at least 20 hours of community service, although most students are driven to go above and beyond. Students may also begin their service hours before they begin their third year as long as they have started at the university. Upon completion of their service hours, students write a self-reflection that allows them to explore what their experience meant to them and its potential impact on their future.


Students may also fulfil this option through the UHP Project Management Course (PMC) or the Center for Leadership Learning (CLL) Student Leadership Development Program (SLDP) project activities listed below.


Project Activity

Through the Project Activity students engage in a wide variety of opportunities that help them explore their future academic and professional careers. The Project Activity allows students to take deeper dives into interesting course material, conduct research in labs, develop professional skills, grow their leadership skills, study abroad, and intern in Washington D.C. To learn more about the project options click each heading below.

Each project activity also includes a reflective essay or evaluation designed to help students examine what their individual experience meant to them and what they have learned from it.

  • Honors Contract
  • An Honors Contract (1-unit) allows students to create an independent project to augment a concurrent or previous upper division class to enrich and deepen the academic experience under faculty mentorship. This option can take the form of a research project, literary review, work of art, or other project.
  • Individually Designed Project (IDP)
  • An IDP provides flexibility for participants involved in research or creative projects to develop a meaningful project with UHP.  This path offers a student an opportunity to engage in scholarly, creative, or career-related pursuits.
  • Project Management Course (PMC)
  • The PMC (3-units) is led by faculty who guide students in working with small teams of 4-5 on a project, much like a consulting group. Participants develop real world experience in client relations, project design and planning, research, white paper development, and service learning. Successful completion of the PMC meets both the service and project requirement.
  • Center for Leadership Learning (CLL) Diversity Leadership Development Program (DLDP)
  • The Diversity Leadership Development Program (DLDP) is a Center for Leadership Learning (CLL) certificate program that seeks to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of difference, improve individual abilities to address complex social issues, and cultivate an inclusive environment. DLDP integrates competency-building seminars and applied professional learning.
  • Center for Leadership Learning (CLL) Student Leadership Development Program (SLDP)
  • The Student Leadership Development Program (SLDP) is a Center for Leadership Learning (CLL) certificate program that pursues putting theory into action, testing communication skills, and developing a deeper understanding of personal leadership. SLDP integrates competency-building seminars and group project-based learning.

    Completion of the Leadership Essentials Workshop Series (LEWS)—six  topical workshops—is a prerequisite. Successful Completion of the SLDP meets both the Service and Project curriculum.
  • Study Abroad
  • Study Abroad and the University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) facilitate student studies, exploration, and engagement with other cultures that broaden perspective and involvement in the world.  This third-year choice can be taken earlier if schedule and resources allow. Other international opportunities outside of those noted are discussed in consultation with a UHP advisor to determine applicability.
  • Washington Program
  • The Washington Program offers an opportunity to combine course work, exciting field research, and internship experience (e.g., NASA, National Institutes of Health, Smithsonian, Capitol) in the District of Columbia, allowing students to examine their perspective career path, while building a resume and developing industry contacts that can lead to employment upon graduation.