ACADEMICS - OVERVIEW


The following pertains to students admitted to University Honors in Fall 2020 and later. Information for students who matriculated prior to Fall 2020 is available here.


Curiosity. Courage. Exploration. Self-discovery.

These values have defined University Honors for more than half a century. Here, students encounter unfamiliar ideas, interrogate familiar ones, confront assumptions, grapple with uncertainty, forge connections, and chart new possibilities.

Designed to be completed in two years and pursued in tandem with students’ major and general education requirements, our 15-credit curriculum unfolds in three phases. While the first and last phases feature common experiences required of all students, the middle phase allows students considerable flexibility to explore the topics and types of courses that most intrigue them.

wooded area, three students in stream

Awaken your curiosity.

For first-semester freshmen, the journey begins in our Gateway Seminar. In addition to orienting students to University Honors and the campus at large, this 1-credit course offers students a window into how professionals from many walks of life cultivated their passions, began and built their careers, capitalized on serendipitous opportunities, and conceive of their contributions to society. Students receive mentoring from University Honors upperclassmen, network with faculty and prospective mentors, introspect and write about their own future plans, inaugurate their e-portfolios, and begin to build community with peers in their cohort.



male professor pointing to class


Explore your passions.

In the core of their academic experience in University Honors, students will select from two types of course structures: the thematic cluster and the theory and practice track.

  • A thematic cluster is a group of 3-4 non-sequential courses concerned with a single topic of contemporary and enduring significance. Collaboratively designed and independently taught by both full-time University Honors faculty and University of Maryland faculty drawn from across the university’s academic colleges and schools, each course in a cluster explores the theme from a different disciplinary perspective. Clusters are comprised of an I-series course and 2-3 satellite seminars. To complete a cluster, students must complete the I-series course (3 credits) and one of the satellite seminars (3 credits), for a total of 6 credits. Courses may be completed in any order and at any time during the cluster’s two-year lifespan.

  • A theory and practice track is a group of 2 non-sequential courses that engage a single topic from differential methodological orientations. Collaboratively designed by a University of Maryland faculty member and an industry expert based in Washington, D.C., each track is comprised of a theory seminar and a practice seminar. Together, this pair of seminars enable students to consider a given topic from both a scholarly and a pragmatic perspective. To complete a theory and practice track, students must complete both the theory seminar (3 credits) and the practice seminar (3 credits), for a total of 6 credits. Theory and practice seminars may be completed in any order and at any time during the track’s multi-year lifespan.

Students may choose to complete either two thematic clusters or one thematic cluster and one theory and practice track.


Launch your future.

The University Honors curriculum culminates in our Vantage Point Seminar. Taken in the second semester of the sophomore year or the first semester of the junior year, this 2-credit course guides students through a process of self-inquiry as they revisit questions first explored in the Gateway Seminar, reflect on their curricular and co-curricular experiences thus far, and pivot toward completing their degree programs, maximizing their remaining time at the university, and embarking on their postgraduate lives.

After completing our 15-credit program, University Honors students receive their Honors Citation and typically launch into departmental and collegiate honors programs; pursue an array of curricular, co-curricular, and pre-professional opportunities on campus; compete for national and international scholarships; and aspire to leadership and servant-leadership positions both on campus and off.

wooded area, three students in stream

But more than this, students emerge from University Honors both with a deep sense of purpose—not just for a career, but for a life well lived—and with a plan for how to realize their aspirations.