Purpose and Focus
The Honors College plays a special 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 growing 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. This combination, of a central intellectual core in Honors combined with advanced learning in a major field, helps develop graduates fully 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, special 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 Nevada across the United States and other countries, with its students and faculty forming a unique learning community supporting educational adventure and achievement.
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 a curriculum for University and Departmental Honors that:
- Strengthens writing skills.
- Strengthens oral communication skills.
- Strengthens critical-thinking ability.
- Develops abilities to analyze carefully and synthesize a broad range of information.
- Allows students to create and produce original creative works in collaboration with faculty members.
Students in the College study to become University Honors Scholars or Department Honors Scholars, or both. University Honors Scholars complete the Honors College core curriculum, which automatically fulfills the core curriculum requirements of UNLV. Department Honors Scholars complete a special research project culminating in senior thesis within their major disciplines. All Honors College students complete a series of several interdisciplinary seminars taught by outstanding UNLV scholars. These programs are described in more detail later in this section.
The college has extensive personal advising, with two 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 the many of the best professional and graduate schools in the country. There is a pre-professional committee with specialized advising in the College of Sciences, and there is also advising for pre-law studies through the College of Liberal Arts.
Admission to the College
The Honors College Admissions Committee will consider applications from candidates who apply to the Honors College at any time, but prefers to receive applications for fall applicants by the priority date of February 1 each year. 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 evaluated individually. The College Admissions Committee looks at 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, critical intellects, and commitment to excellence, leadership potential, and educational values.
First year applicants 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 large number of applications 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 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. Continuing UNLV students 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. 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 those along with scholarships from the Honors College. UNLV additionally has a number of academic scholarships for which honors students compete very strongly and the university’s top scholarships are awarded independently to students in the Honors College by the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office. Contact the Honors College for further information and application advice.
Nationally and Internationally Competitive Scholarships
Each year, students from across the United States apply for a select group of scholarships and fellowships to support their undergraduate and graduate efforts. Since there are few of these relative to the number of students applying nationwide, 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. Such prestigious scholarships and fellowships as the Rhodes, British Marshall, Mitchell, Truman, Goldwater, Fulbright, Gilman, Rotary Ambassadorial, Udall, Jack Kent Cooke, Mellon, and Gates-Cambridge Scholarships are highly competitive. 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 will also provide support for students who are not in the Honors College when they are nominated for these awards by UNLV faculty.
Interested students should contact the Honors College or visit the Honors College website for more information.
Students must remain in good standing in the Honors College in order to retain their Honors College scholarships and to have 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) for at least one semester each 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 an Honors College GPA of 3.00.
Repeating HON 400 Seminars
The College does not recommend the repeat of HON 400 seminars since 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 then-current UNLV class schedule.
Probation and Suspension
Students who do not satisfy the four conditions listed above are therefore not in good standing as Honors College students and will be placed on grade probation or suspended from the Honors College.
Grade probation: Students whose overall UNLV GPA or Honors College GPA falls below 3.30 will be placed on grade probation unless either their UNLV or Honors College GPA falls below 2.50 (in which case they will be suspended from the Honors College). Students in their freshman year (i.e., having earned zero to 29 credit hours) at UNLV will not be suspended unless their UNLV GPA falls below a 2.00. Students on probation should earn semester GPAs of greater than 3.30, until their overall UNLV GPAs reaches 3.30. Students on probation who do not earn at least a 3.30 semester GPA while on probation may be suspended from the Honors College and withdrawn from any Honors College courses in which they may have preregistered.
- Note: Students in the Honors College cannot graduate as University Honors Scholars or Department Honors Scholars unless they have a cumulative UNLV GPA of 3.30 or higher, and an Honors College GPA of 3.00.or higher
- Suspension: Students not in good standing either because they are not enrolled as UNLV students or because they do not complete an average of three credit hours of Honors College courses for each semester (or the equivalent they are enrolled full-time at UNLV) will be suspended from the Honors College. When suspended, students will not have priority registration, will become ineligible to live in the Honors College residential facilities, and will become ineligible for other privileges enjoyed by Honors College students.
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.
Graduation Distinctions and Latin Honor Designations
Students graduate as University Honors Scholars who:
- Complete the requirements for the distinction of University Honors Scholar, the requirements of their major, and applicable UNLV graduation requirements.
- Graduate with a final GPA of at least 3.30 and an Honors course GPA of at least 3.00, and
- Graduate with at least 60 credits earned at UNLV. The distinction University Honors Scholar will appear on final transcripts and diplomas.
Students graduate as Department Honors Scholars who:
- Complete the requirements for the distinction of Department Honors Scholar, the requirements of their major, and applicable UNLV graduation requirements.
- Graduate with a final GPA of at least 3.30 and an Honors course GPA of at least 3.00, and
- Graduate with at least 60 credits earned at UNLV. This distinction Department Honors Scholar will also appear on final transcripts and diplomas.
Latin honors designations, Cum Laude, Magna cum Laude, and Summa cum Laude, which will appear on final transcripts and diplomas, are awarded by the Honors College to college graduates as follows:
Students earning University Honors Scholar designations will 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 Department Honors Scholar.) Students earning Department Honors Scholar designations will 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 499H.