Honors College

Contact Information: 
Campus Location: 103 Burnham Hall (BH) 
(312) 413-2260 

Dean, Ralph Keen
Assistant Dean for Student Services, Kathryn Burns-Howard
Assistant Dean for Admission and Recruitment, David Boyd
Assistant Dean for Curriculum and Outreach, Michele McCrillis
Assistant Dean for Administration, Yolanda Rodriguez-Venegas


The UIC Honors College provides an environment for advanced academic growth, creative engagement, and a foundation for lifelong learning in the dynamic, urban environment that is the great city of Chicago – bringing together a diverse group of exceptional undergraduate students, faculty, and staff.

Each term, Honors College students are required to complete an honors activity, which enriches their experiences at UIC.  Honors units are earned for each honors activity. Students who enter the Honors College as first year students must earn 18 Honors units; this is prorated for students who transfer into the Honors College after the first year. Students must also maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.40/4.00.

First year students enroll in an interdisciplinary honors core course each semester, which completes the honors activity requirement and fulfills university general education requirements. These courses are taught by faculty members from various departments and address significant themes while providing a challenging and intimate learning experience for Honors first year students. 

Beyond the first year, students choose from a variety of honors activity options. These include honors courses, honors seminars in a broad range of disciplines, independent research projects, tutoring in the college peer tutoring program, honors projects in regular courses, and academic service learning. All students are required to complete an honors capstone project before graduation. All of these activities are monitored within a faculty advising/mentoring system that is one of the college’s major strengths.

At the end of the first year, students are assigned to an Honors College fellow, who is a mentor in the student’s major department. The fellows, faculty interested in working with honors students, include many of UIC’s outstanding scholars. They act as advisors for students’ honors work and as resources for advice and guidance on students’ majors, curricula, preparation for graduate school, and careers. The Honors College fellow mentoring process puts students into close and continuing contact with faculty members at an early stage in their postsecondary education.

The Honors College provides merit- and need-based scholarship opportunities for beginning first year students and transfer students. Also, the college offers financial support to honors students pursuing research or international study.  The college also offers tuition awards to its continuing student body; these scholarships are distributed based on a combination of merit and need. Other scholarship support for continuing Honors College students is also available; consult the college website for more information.

Honors College students appreciate the availability of facilities reserved exclusively for their use, including a computer lab, and social and study lounges. They also enjoy events, such as student-faculty luncheons, monthly socials, and the annual Honors College Ball. Honors College students produce a college newsletter (Ampersand), and a number of other publications, including an undergraduate literary journal (Red Shoes Review), pre-health professions journal (Journal of Pre-Health Affiliated Students), and global issues journal (UIC One World). Honors College students also receive extended library privileges.

UIC honors students may take advantage of specially designated honors housing. In addition to sharing living space with other Honors College students, students participate in educational and social activities designed to create a special living/learning environment and a sense of an honors residential community.

Admission to the College

Student members of the Honors College are undergraduates representing all UIC colleges and departments. Incoming first year students with a strong high school academic record, as well as extracurricular or leadership experiences, are encouraged to apply for membership. Transfer students with a transfer GPA of at least 3.40/4.00 and continuing UIC students with a minimum cumulative UIC GPA of 3.40/4.00 who have at least three semesters left before graduation are also encouraged to apply. More detailed information about the admission process is available on the Honors College website.

College Requirements

All students in the Honors College are expected to fulfill the following requirements to ensure continued membership:

  • Successful completion of an Honors Activity, defined by earning at least one Honors unit each term (except summer)
  • Enrollment in HON 222 (Honors Activity, 0 hours) or HON 322 (Honors Capstone Activity, 0 hours), when appropriate, each term (except summer) for honors work to be reflected on their transcripts
  • Minimum cumulative UIC GPA of 3.40/4.00
  • Completion of an Honors capstone project prior to graduation

Students who enter the Honors College in their first year are expected to complete 18 Honors units, distributed in the following manner:

  • Required Honors courses (for a total of 9 Honors units):
    • Two Honors Core courses, HON 120 to HON 145 (total of 6 Honors units)
    • HON 101 (1 Honors unit)
    • HON 201 (1 Honors unit)
    • HON 301 (1 Honors unit)
  • Elective Honors courses or Honors activities (for a minimum of 3 Honors units)
  • Honors capstone project (6 Honors units)

Transfer students and continuing UIC students who enter the Honors College after their first year will be expected to complete the following:

  • Sophmore standing: 12 Honors units (HON 201, HON 301, 4 units of elective Honors courses or Honors activities, and Honors capstone project)
  • Junior standing: 9 Honors units (HON 301, 2 units of elective Honors courses or Honors activities, and Honors capstone project)

College Policies

Probation and Dismissal Rules

Any student in the Honors College whose UIC cumulative GPA falls below 3.15/4.00 or who does not regularly fulfill the honors activity requirement is automatically dismissed from membership in the college and denied attendant privileges. Students with UIC cumulative grade point averages between 3.15 and 3.40 are placed on probationary status. These students have one semester to raise their cumulative average to 3.40. Students on probation are expected to continue to fulfill all other Honors College requirements.

A student who fails to satisfactorily complete the Honors activity by earning at least one Honors unit is placed on Honors activity probation and must make up the activity within one semester. Successful completion of an Honors activity is demonstrated by the proper submission of Agreement and Completion Forms. A student who does not satisfactorily complete the Honors activity requirement for two consecutive semesters is dismissed from the college.

Academic Honors

Honors College Recognition

Honors College membership status is noted annually on student transcripts. Students graduating as Honors College members receive a gold stole to wear with their academic attire at their home college commencement and Honors College convocation ceremonies.

Honors Societies

The following list of honors societies is provided for students’ convenience. 

Alpha Eta Mu Beta Chapter

Alpha Eta Mu Beta (AEMB) is an association of biomedical engineers who share a common desire to recognize and encourage excellence in biomedical engineering. This is accomplished in part by promoting and recognizing high scholarship, leadership, and character among biomedical engineering students. AEMB membership requires a GPA in the top one-third of the class, for seniors; or top one-fifth of the class, for juniors. For more information contact the Department of Biomedical Engineering at (312) 996-2335.

Beta Alpha Psi

Beta Alpha Psi is an international scholastic and professional business and financial information fraternity. Its purpose is to recognize outstanding academic achievements in the field of accounting, finance, and information systems; promote the study and practice of professional fields related to these disciplines; provide opportunities for self-development and association among members and practicing financial professionals; and to encourage a sense of ethical, social, and public responsibilities. The UIC Chapter of Beta Alpha Psi was established in 1994. For more information, contact the Department of Accounting at (312) 996-2650.

Beta Gamma Sigma

Beta Gamma Sigma is the honor society for the best students in business programs accredited by AACSB International—The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Membership in Beta Gamma Sigma is the highest recognition business students throughout the world can receive in undergraduate or master’s programs accredited by AACSB International. Eligibility for membership requires juniors and seniors in the top 10 of their respective classes. In addition, inductees must have completed at least 30 semester hours. The UIC Chapter of BGS was established in 1973. More information on the honor society can be obtained from the College of Business Administration at (312) 996-2671.

Delta Phi Alpha

The Delta Phi Alpha National German Honorary Society began with the founding of the Alpha chapter at Wofford College in 1927 and now has constituent chapters at 236 colleges and universities throughout the United States. UIC’s chapter was founded in 1968. The National German Honor Society seeks to recognize excellence in the study of German and to provide an incentive for higher scholarship. Qualifications for membership are as follows: a minimum of two years of college or university German or the equivalent, a minimum average of B+ or the equivalent in German courses, a minimum cumulative average of B- or the equivalent, and an indication of continued interest in the study of German language and literature. For more information, contact the Department of Germanic Studies at (312) 996-5218.

Eta Kappa Nu

Eta Kappa Nu is the international honor society for electrical and computer engineers. Founded in 1904, its purposes include the stimulation and reward of scholarship as well as assisting fellow members and nonmembers alike to improve the standards of the profession, the courses of instruction, and the institutions generally where its chapters are established. In order to be invited to join UIC’s Iota Lambda Chapter of the society, the minimum requirements for electrical and computer engineering majors are junior standing with a cumulative grade point average in the top quarter, or senior standing with a cumulative grade point average in the top third of their electrical and computer engineering classes. Demonstrated community service is also a requirement for induction into Eta Kappa Nu. For more information, contact the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at (312) 996-3423.

Eta Sigma Phi

Eta Sigma Phi is the national honorary collegiate society for students of Latin and/or Greek. The purposes of the society, in the words of the constitution, are “to develop and promote interest in classical study among the students of colleges and universities; to promote closer fraternal relationship among the students who are interested in classical study, including intercampus relationship; to engage generally in an effort to stimulate interest in classical study, and in the history, art, and literature of ancient Greece and Rome.” Active membership is limited to undergraduates who are enrolled in classes in Latin and/or Greek in the original languages. A student must meet the basic qualifications of an attained grade of not less than B in courses in Latin and Greek, with completion of at least one semester or two quarters. Please contact the Department of Classics and Mediterranean Studies at (312) 996-5539 for more information.

Gamma Kappa Alpha

Gamma Kappa Alpha, the national Italian honor society (the UIC Chapter was granted in 1986) for juniors and seniors, is designed to recognize outstanding scholastic performance in the fields of Italian language and literature. To be eligible, a student must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.75/4.00 and a 3.00/4.00 GPA in all Italian courses taken. For information, contact the Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies at (312) 413-2346.

Golden Key National Honor Society

The Golden Key National Honor Society was founded in 1977 as a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to recognize and encourage academic excellence in all fields of endeavor. Membership is by invitation only and is offered to all full- or part-time students who have maintained a cumulative grade point average of 3.30/4.00 or higher and have successfully completed a minimum of 60 hours. For more information, contact (312) 996-4500.

Lambda Pi Eta 

The purpose of Lambda Pi Eta is to recognize, foster, and reward outstanding scholastic achievement; to stimulate interest in the field of communication; to promote and encourage professional development among communication majors; to provide an opportunity to discuss and exchange ideas in the field of communication; and to establish and maintain close relationships and understanding between faculty and students. Members must have a 3.00/4.00 cumulative GPA; have a 3.25/4.00 GPA in Communication courses; have 60 credit hours completed overall; have 12 credit hours completed in Communication courses; rank in the upper 35% of their class; be full-time students in good standing; display commitment to the field of Communication. For more information, contact the Department of Communication at (312) 996-3187.

National Society of Collegiate Scholars

The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) is an honors organization that recognizes and elevates high achievers. NSCS provides career and graduate school connections, leadership and service opportunities, and gives out a million dollars in scholarships annually. NSCS members are deeply committed to scholarship, leadership, and service and, as a result, are impacting their campus and local communities every day. Less than 10% of students at schools with NSCS chapters are invited to join. Nominations are sent to first and second year students with at least a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.40/4.00. For more information, contact the chapter advisor, Doug Sheldon, at sheldond@uic.edu.

Nu Rho Psi

Nu Rho Psi is the National Honor Society in Neuroscience, founded in 2006 by the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience.  For more information, please contact the Department of Biological Sciences at (312) 996-2211.

Phi Beta Kappa

Founded in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest scholastic honor society in the United States. The UIC chapter charter was granted in 1976. Phi Beta Kappa stresses excellence, broad liberal education, and moral leadership. Elections to Phi Beta Kappa are made in accordance with its own rules. New student members of Phi Beta Kappa are elected by faculty and university staff who themselves are members. Elections at UIC occur once a year, usually during the week of spring break. Successful candidates are notified shortly afterward by mail, with letters sent to the students' address on record (usually their permanent home address).

Membership selection is based on a number of factors, including (but not limited to):

  • A minimum GPA of 3.70/4.00
  • At least 90 degree credit hours earned, 60 or more of which were earned at UIC
  • At least 90 credit hours in liberal arts and sciences courses (as opposed to applied, professional and/or technical courses)
  • Completion of advanced-level courses beyond those in the declared major
  • Demonstration of successful coursework in a foreign language and in mathematics

For information, contact Robert Bruhl, Chapter President at rbruhl@uic.edu.

Pi Sigma Alpha

The Mu Alpha Chapter (established in 1981) of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society, inducts junior or senior undergraduate majors in political science with a minimum overall grade point average of 3.25/4.00 and 3.50 in their major. For more information, contact the Department of Political Science at (312) 996-3105.

Pi Tau Sigma

Pi Tau Sigma is the national honor society for mechanical engineers and was founded in 1915. The Alpha Sigma chapter at UIC was established in 1999. Its purpose is to encourage and recognize superior scholarship, to foster the high ideals of the engineering profession, to stimulate interest in coordinated departmental activities, and to develop in students of mechanical engineering the attributes for effective leadership. Active membership is open to full-time junior- and senior-level mechanical engineering students with a grade point average above 3.25/4.00 and who rank in the top third of their class. Graduate students and faculty members may become honorary members at the society’s discretion. For more information, please contact the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at (312) 996-5317.

Psi Chi

Psi Chi is the National Honor Society in Psychology. Founded in 1929, Psi Chi provides recognition for academically strong undergraduate majors and minors in psychology. Neuroscience majors who have completed all requirements for the minor in psychology are also eligible. Psi Chi sponsors speakers and informational seminars are designed to enhance professional growth and to create a sense of fellowship among its members. Membership is open to students who have completed at least 36 hours of undergraduate study, at least 9 semester hours in psychology courses and whose grade point average is 3.40 or higher overall and 3.00 or higher in psychology courses. For more information about Psi Chi, visit the Psi Chi website.

Rho Chi

The Rho Chi Society, pharmacy’s academic honor society, encourages and recognizes excellence in intellectual achievement and advocates critical inquiry in all aspects of pharmacy. Further, the society encourages high standards of conduct and character and fosters fellowship among its members. The society envisions that it will seek universal recognition of its members as lifelong intellectual leaders in pharmacy and, as a community of scholars, will instill the desire to pursue intellectual excellence and critical inquiry to advance the profession. The full collegiate membership of the society shall consist of professional (entry-level, postbaccalaureate, and nontraditional) students, graduate students, and members of the teaching staff who have been duly elected in accordance with the National Rho Chi Society Bylaws. Rho Chi invites the top 10% of the P2 class after three semesters of pharmacy coursework. For more information, visit the Rho Chi website.

Sigma Delta Pi

The purpose of Sigma Delta Pi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society (charter granted to UIC in 1989), is designed to honor those students who attain excellence in the study of the Spanish language and the culture of the Spanish speaking peoples. The Rho Psi Chapter offers membership to qualified juniors and seniors. To be eligible, a student must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.75/4.00 and a 3.00 average in all Spanish courses taken, including at least 3 semester hours in Hispanic literature at the junior (third-year) level. For information, contact the Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies at (312) 413-2346.

Sigma Pi Sigma

Sigma Pi Sigma exists to honor outstanding scholarship in physics; to encourage interest in physics among students at all levels; to promote an attitude of service of its members towards their fellow students, colleagues, and the public; to provide a fellowship of persons who have excelled in physics. Student membership, both undergraduate and graduate, is restricted to those who have attained standards of high scholarship in at least three semester courses (or five quarter courses) of at least three hours each that count toward the physics major, professional interest and merit, and scholastic proficiency or distinction. Faculty members and professional scientists in physics and closely related sciences may also be elected. Undergraduate membership is restricted to those in the upper thirty-three percent of their class. Contact the Department of Physics at (312) 996-3400 for more information.

Sigma Tau Delta

Sigma Tau Delta, International English Honor Society, was founded in 1924.  The society strives to confer distinction for high achievement in English language and literature, promote interested in literature and English language, and foster all aspects of the discipline. For information, contact the Department of English at (312) 413-2200.

Sigma Theta Tau

The stated purpose of this group is to recognize the achievement of scholarship and leadership qualities, to foster high professional standards, encourage creative work, and strengthen individual commitments to the ideals and purposes of the nursing profession. Membership is composed of students, faculty, and alumni of the College of Nursing chosen on the basis of demonstrated scholarship, professional potential, and/or marked achievement in the field of nursing. For information, contact the College of Nursing at (312) 996-7800.

Tau Beta Pi

Tau Beta Pi (TBP) is the second oldest honor society in the United States (Phi Beta Kappa being the first) and accepts into its membership students from all engineering disciplines. Not merely an honor society, TBP serves the engineering and campus community by organizing technical and nontechnical workshops, tutoring, career services, and outreach activities. Students are eligible for membership based on scholastic achievement and exemplary character. To be eligible, a candidate must be a full-time student, and have a GPA in the top one-fifth of the class, for seniors; or top one-eighth of the class, for juniors. Members are recognized at the time of graduation and for life. Detailed information can be obtained from the College of Engineering, or the chapter website.

Tau Sigma

Tau Sigma is an academic honor society designed specifically to recognize and promote the academic excellence and involvement of transfer students. Tau Sigma was incorporated as a nonprofit in 1999 with Auburn University being the home of the first chapter. The objectives of Tau Sigma are to recognize outstanding academic achievement of transfer students; provide motivation for the academic excellence of all incoming transfer students; enhance the reputation of all transfer students; provide a common bond among transfer students; promote the involvement of transfer students; and form a group of students who can help the university address and meet the needs of incoming transfer students. The UIC Chapter of Tau Sigma was started in 2006. Students who transfer to the university with at least one full year’s worth of academic credit and earn a 3.50/4.00 or higher GPA after their first term at UIC are invited to join Tau Sigma. For more information, contact  the Transfer Assistance Center.