University Honors Program

In the University Honors Program, students explore real-world issues across a range of disciplines, equipping students to join the next generation of changemakers. The University Honors Program (UHP) provides students an enriched opportunity within each of the U of M freshman colleges, creating a program of shared passions, creative collaboration, and intellectual and cultural diversity. 

Students whose admission applications are complete by the Early Action Deadline (November 1), Early Action II (December 1), or the Regular Deadline (January 1) will receive full consideration for the University Honors Program. Students who apply after these deadlines will be considered on a space-available basis. Students admitted into the University Honors Program will be notified by March 31.

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What are the benefits of the University Honors Program?

Honors Seminars and Courses

Honors Seminars—available only to UHP students—offer small class sizes, close interaction with faculty, and an engaging learning atmosphere. Honors courses emphasize active learning and are a great place to get to know world-class faculty and other UHP students.

Honors residential community

Honors housing is an opportunity for UHP students to live and learn together. Located in Middlebrook Hall, this community allows students to form lifelong friendships outside the classroom, in addition to participating in special events and activities including forums with prominent guest speakers, lunch or dinner with professors, and just-for-fun activities.

Graduation with Latin Honors

Summa cum laude—Latin for "with great honor"—is the foremost academic distinction awarded to university students. Honors graduates have the opportunity to proudly claim those Latin words on their graduation diplomas. Professional programs, graduate schools, and prospective employers recognize that these students have made the most of their opportunities to learn, discover, and innovate.

One-on-one honors advising

From freshman orientation through graduation, UHP students benefit from ongoing contact with professional Honors Advisors and faculty. These dedicated advisors help students set academic goals, plan for the future, and chart their course to best take advantage of all that the U of M has to offer.

NEXUS Experiences

NEXUS Experiences meet outside the classroom and bring together small groups of students and faculty from across all U of M colleges. Students engage and explore open-ended programming created specifically to introduce students to various fields of research, scholarship and creative activity.

Real-world lessons

Our faculty and students are searching for ways to make this world more peaceful, productive, healthy, and just. An interdisciplinary approach to solving problems is at the heart of the University Honors Program. UHP students are challenged to think in new and innovative ways to discover answers to the big questions of our time.

University Honors Program Review And Selection Process

There is no separate application for the University Honors Program. Admitted freshmen are automatically considered for admission to UHP based on individual assessments of their admission applications. Admission to the University Honors Program is highly competitive, and is offered to the overall most competitive applicants from each freshman-admitting college.

Each admission application is carefully reviewed and admission is based on an overall assessment of the applicant's academic and context factors. A complete list of these factors is included below.

Holistic Review

Academic Factors

Because the greatest predictor of college success is academic preparation, the strongest consideration in the decision is given to a student's high school record. Our promise to you is that we will look at the overall trend of your high school performance to understand your academic preparation. The following academic factors are considered:

  • Coursework through high school graduation (Admitted students typically exceed the University's high school requirements. See course requirements.)
  • Grades in academic coursework
  • Class rank/Grade point average (if available)
  • Rigor of academic curriculum based on what is available in the high school (including enrollment in honors, AP, IB, A-Level, or college-level courses when available.)
  • ACT or SAT scores (Submitting an ACT/SAT score is not required on applications for the 2023, 2024, and 2025 terms. All students*, whether or not they submit a test score, will receive full consideration for admission, scholarships, and the University Honors Program. For more information, please visit our ACT/SAT FAQ
  • English Proficiency test score (when required)
  • Applicant's academic interests (We review a student's academic preparation related to the major/college for which they are seeking admission.)

Context Factors

Individual circumstances are also considered as part of the overall assessment of each application. Enrolling a diverse student body—with students bringing differing experiences, talents, and perspectives to their scholarly community—is essential to achieving the learning and development outcomes of a University of Minnesota education. 

Our holistic review takes into consideration the individual circumstances that make each individual student unique. While we do not consider an applicant's race and ethnicity, we consider the following context factors in our decision review:

  • Evidence of exceptional achievement, aptitude, or personal accomplishment not reflected in the academic record
  • Participation in extracurricular activities related to your intended major
  • Strong commitment to community service, leadership, and educational involvement
  • Evidence of having overcome social, economic, or physical barriers to educational achievement
  • First-generation college student
  • Significant responsibility in a family, community, job, or activity
  • Contribution to the cultural, gender, age, economic, or geographic diversity of the student body
  • Personal or extenuating circumstances
  • Military service
  • Information received in open-ended questions

Academic Profile of University Honors Program Admits By College

This table provides a general overview of the high school rank percentile and standardized test scores of freshmen admitted to the University Honors Program for Fall 2023. GPAs are calculated from core academic classes (English, Math, Science, Foreign Language, History, Social Sciences) on an unweighted 4.0 scale where A = 4.0 and A+ = 4.33. Please note the data presented in the table are a composite picture of freshmen admitted to the University Honors Program; they are not admission criteria.

High School Rank Percentile (if provided) Unweighted High School GPA ACT Composite * SAT Composite *
Carlson School of Management 95 - 99 3.98 - 4.02 30 - 34 1400 - 1500
College of Biological Sciences 97 - 99 3.99 - 4.08 31 - 34 1450 - 1540
College of Design 93 - 99 3.98 - 4.06 29 - 32 1310 - 1510
College of Education and Human Development 94 - 98 3.96 - 4.05 27 - 31 1350 - 1420
College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences 94 - 99 3.96 - 4.02 30 - 33 1360 - 1510
College of Liberal Arts 95 - 99 3.96 - 4.02 30 - 34 1400 - 1520
College of Science and Engineering 98 - 99 3.99 - 4.08 32 - 35 1470 - 1560
School of Nursing 96 - 99 3.98 - 4.00 28 - 32 1480 - 1530

*Please note: the University of Minnesota Twin Cities will not be requiring an ACT or SAT score for admissions through the Fall 2025 term. Learn more about our ACT/SAT policies.