Oct 02, 2022  
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog 

Honors College

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Purpose and Focus

The Honors College plays a unique role in UNLV’s educational mission. It is a selective undergraduate college that offers an educational experience focusing on a solid liberal arts and sciences foundation, but in the context of a major research university with extensive academic and cultural opportunities. The Honors College is an educational partner with the “discipline” colleges of the University, in which Honors students pursue their academic majors. The combination of a central intellectual core in Honors, combined with advanced learning in a major field, helps fully develop graduates prepared for graduate education, professional school, and rewarding life careers. With a diverse student body, a strong curriculum taught in collaboration with UNLV’s outstanding faculty, intense advising, research, service and leadership opportunities, scholarships and special residential arrangements, the Honors College offers an exceptional value in higher education. The College attracts excellent students from around the globe who together with faculty and staff form a unique learning community supporting educational achievement and excellence.

Objectives of the Honors College

The Honors College prepares students for academic, professional, and personal success after they graduate from UNLV. That preparation is achieved through one curriculum for University Honors and a separate curriculum for Research and Creative Honors that:

  • Strengthens written and oral communication skills. 
  • Strengthens inquiry and critical-thinking ability.
  • Develops abilities to analyze carefully and synthesize a broad range of information.
  • Develops intellectual breadth and instills patterns of behavior that lead to lifelong learning.
  • Prepares informed, engaged, ethical citizens who possess global and multicultural awareness.
  • Allows students to create and produce original research and creative works in collaboration with faculty members.

College Programs

Students in the Honors College enroll in the University Honors or Research and Creative Honors programs, or both. University Honors students complete the University Honors Curriculum, which automatically satisfies the General Education Core, Distribution, Multicultural, and International requirements of UNLV. Research and Creative Honors students complete a special research or creative project culminating in a senior thesis within their major disciplines. All Honors College students complete a series of interdisciplinary seminars taught by outstanding UNLV faculty members. These programs are described in more detail later in this section.


The Honors College has extensive personal advising, with full-time academic advisors and other staff who support students’ work toward their career goals.

Pre-Professional Students and Students Planning Post-graduate Study

Many students in the Honors College plan to attend professional or graduate schools. The Honors College focuses on preparing Honors College students to apply for various types of postgraduate studies, with our graduates attending many of the best professional and graduate schools in the country. Pre-professional advising, advising for pre-law studies through the College of Liberal Arts, and one-on-one advising are important components in developing student success.

Admission to the College

The Honors College Admissions Committee considers applications to the Honors College at any time, but applications for Fall submitted by the date of November 1 receive scholarship priority consideration. The goal of the College is to admit excellent, committed, and academically talented students who will succeed in and benefit from the College’s rigorous curriculum and programs. Each candidate for admission has a unique record of achievement, in the context of his or her life experiences, and will therefore be individually evaluated. The College Admissions Committee considers application essays, high school transcripts (considering the difficulty of the courses taken, the nature of courses taken, and grade trends, among other elements), extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, and college admission test scores. In some cases, candidates are asked to interview. These criteria are designed to select fine students who will enhance their demonstrated talents in the context of a diverse college of excellent peers. The College expects that applicants will display in their applications strong academic abilities, advanced writing skills, a critical intellect, and a commitment to excellence, leadership potential, and educational values.

First year applicants to the College must submit an essay, two letters of recommendation, high school and any college transcripts, ACT or SAT test scores, and a summary of activities in which they have participated. Applicants should know that a large number of applications are submitted to the College and the limited ability to accommodate new students make the admissions process competitive. Therefore, it is expected that students will provide their best work.

Transfer and current non-honors UNLV students are required to submit transcripts of all post-secondary work completed, a writing sample, and one letter of reference from a college or university faculty member. Transfer students are expected to have at least a 3.50 overall GPA from the institutions from which they are transferring. Non-honors UNLV students who apply are expected to have at least a 3.50 overall GPA from courses taken at UNLV.


The Honors College administers scholarships funded by special endowments to the College on a competitive basis, with priority consideration given to applications received by November 1. A number of scholarships are available to incoming freshmen, and others are made available to transfer and continuing students, depending on available funding. Nevada residents may be eligible for State of Nevada Millennium Scholarships and can receive it along with scholarships from the Honors College. Additionally, UNLV has a number of academic scholarships for which honors students typically compete with great success. The university’s top scholarships are independently awarded to students in the Honors College by the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office. Contact the Honors College for further information.

Nationally and Internationally Competitive Awards

Each year, students from across the United States apply for a select group of awards and fellowships to support their undergraduate and graduate efforts. Because there are few of these relative to the number of students applying, they are highly competitive, and therefore, very prestigious. Students who receive such scholarships demonstrate potential for great success in their postgraduate studies and subsequent careers.

The Honors College provides information about and advice on how to apply for major national and international scholarships and fellowships. Scholarships and fellowships the Honors College coordinates, among others, are the Rhodes, British Marshall, Mitchell, Truman, Goldwater, the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program, Rotary Ambassadorial, Udall, Gaither Junior Fellows, and Gates-Cambridge Scholarships. The Honors College is committed to working with new and continuing students to prepare them to apply for these scholarships at appropriate times during their college years. The college also provides this type of support for UNLV students who are not in the Honors College. 

Other awards for which Honors College students are often competitive (e.g., Fulbright, Boren and Gilman) are administered by the International Programs Office at UNLV.

Interested students should contact the Honors College or visit the Honors College website for more information. 

Academic Policies

Students must remain in good standing in the Honors College in order to retain their Honors College scholarships and to receive the benefits of Honors College participation.

Students in good standing satisfy the following conditions:

  • Enroll as a student at UNLV or participate in an official UNLV educational program (e.g., study abroad, student teaching, special internships) during each semester of the academic year from their admission until graduation, unless special arrangements are made with the Honors College.
  • Complete an average of three Honors College credit hours during each semester they are registered as full-time students at UNLV, unless special arrangements are made with the Honors College.
  • Maintain an overall GPA of 3.30. Maintain a minimum GPA of 3.00 in HON-prefix classes.

Honors and Second Degree Seeking Students

The Honors College allows former UNLV Honors students who are pursuing a second baccalaureate degree to receive University Honors on their second diploma if the good standing conditions for University Honors are met during the second degree.

Second degree seeking students will enjoy the benefits of other honors students, including use of the Honors Suite and priority registration, but will not be eligible for Honors College scholarships.

Research and Creative Honors may not be earned by second-degree seeking students unless a new thesis in the new major is completed. Please see the Associate Dean of the Honors College for details. 

Probation and Suspension

Students GPA’s are evaluated at the end of every academic year to determine whether or not students are in good standing, as per the conditions stated above. Students who are not in good standing are placed on probation for one academic year or suspended from the Honors College. Below are conditions for suspension and probation. 

Any one of the following conditions results in suspension:

  • UNLV GPA below 2.00 at the end of freshman year (defined by their time of residence)
  • UNLV GPA below 2.50 at the end of subsequent years (sophomore, junior, senior)
  • Failure to complete an average of 3-credit hours of Honors College courses each semester (until all such courses are completed)
  • Failure to raise UNLV GPA to at least 3.30 after a one year probation period
  • Failure to raise Honors College GPA to a least 3.00 after a one year probation period

When suspended, students will lose priority registration and all other Honors College privileges. Students who have been suspended from the Honors College may petition the college for readmission. Any such petitions will be considered by the Honors College Admissions Committee and Dean of the College. 

Any one of the following conditions results in probation:

  • UNLV GPA below 3.30
  • Honors College course GPA below 3.00

Probation lasts for one academic year and will be lifted at the end of the academic year if the student raises their UNLV GPA to at least a 3.30 and their Honors College course GPA to at least a 3.00.

Repeating HON 400 Seminars

The College does not recommend the repeat of HON 400 seminars because the intent of the curriculum is to encourage continuing exploration of diverse realms of knowledge and inquiry. Any Honors student wishing to repeat an HON 400 seminar as provided for in the university’s academic policies must register for an offering of the same subject title as listed in the original and the current UNLV class schedule. This is, in any case, an unlikely probability as HON 400 seminars differ from year to year and many are only given once.

Graduation Honors and Latin Honor Designations

Students who successfully complete the Honors College programs graduate with honors if they:

  • Complete the requirements for the University Honors and/or the Research and Creative Honors program, the requirements of their major, and applicable UNLV graduation requirements.
  • Graduate with a final GPA of at least 3.30
  • Graduate with a final Honors College GPA of at least 3.00, and
  • Graduate with at least 60 credits earned at UNLV.

The distinction University Honors and/or Research and Creative Honors will appear on final transcripts and diplomas.

Latin honors designations, Cum Laude, Magna cum Laude, and Summa cum Laude, which appear on final transcripts and diplomas, are awarded by the Honors College to college graduates as follows: Students graduating from the University Honors program graduate Cum Laude if their final GPAs are 3.50 - 3.69, Magna cum Laude if their final GPAs are 3.70 or higher. (Note: The Honors College awards Summa cum Laude only to students who complete the requirements for Research and Creative Honors Scholar.)

Students graduating from the Research and Creative Honors program graduate Cum Laude if their final GPAs are 3.30 - 3.49, Magna cum Laude if their final GPAs are 3.50 - 3.69, and Summa cum Laude if their final GPAs are 3.70 or higher and they receive a grade of A in HON 499 .

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