Jul 25, 2024  
2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog 
2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

The Honors College

The University of Maine offers one of the nation’s oldest continuously-running programs for honors-level students. Open to students in all majors, the Honors College provides a unique opportunity for motivated students to investigate diverse academic disciplines, to be challenged in a supportive intellectual environment, and to engage fellow students and enthusiastic, distinguished faculty in thoughtful, provocative discussion. Students in the Honors College complete an academic major in one of the University’s five degree-granting colleges while completing most of their general education requirements and a thesis in the Honors College. The benefits and rewards are substantial, and the program is flexible enough to be tailored to each student’s needs and interests.

Students and faculty involved in the Honors College come from all areas of the University. As a community of approximately eight hundred students within the University of Maine, the Honors College offers small, interdisciplinary classes, where students and faculty members interact closely, sharing ideas and insights developed through critical exploration of primary sources.

The College fosters the idea that genuine excellence in college-level studies means substantial competence in areas outside a major field of specialization as well as excellence within it. The Honors curriculum expands students’ perspectives by exploring areas of thought beyond their major fields while also providing them opportunities to work in their majors with greater intensity than might be possible within a conventional course pattern. Honors study begins with interdisciplinary breadth and concludes with unparalleled depth in the major field.

First- and second-year Honors preceptorials are limited to between 12 and 15 students. Together with faculty preceptors, the students study the origins and development of civilization and culture. Every semester the College offers a number of diverse upper-level Honors tutorials, each of which brings together eight students, a member of faculty, and a topic that engages them in a focused academic inquiry. The curriculum culminates with a year-long senior thesis in which the Honors student, working closely with a faculty advisor, embarks on a course of independent scholarship, developing and completing a research or creative project.

Administrative Structure

The Honors College is University-wide and is administered by a dean who reports to the provost. Several representative bodies provide policy advice to the College, including the Honors Faculty Advisory Committee representing the Honors Faculty; the Honors Council; the Board of Advocates and the Student Advisory Board. Students are also represented on the Curriculum committee and the Honors Council.


Entering first-year students are invited to join the Honors College on the basis of their admission records. To be eligible, students should have a strong academic record, good standardized test scores, and show curiosity, initiative, and intellectual flexibility in academic work. Students may also ask to be considered for admission by contacting the Honors College office. Second-semester first-year students and first-semester second-year students are invited into the College through faculty recommendations. Transfer students wishing to join the Honors College should consult with the associate dean who will determine appropriate credit for prior courses.

Honors Thesis and Degree Designation

The level of honors [Honors, High Honors, Highest Honors] awarded depends on the quality of the senior thesis or project and the performance at the oral defense which assesses both the student’s work on the thesis and the discussion of their reading list. The honors designation appears on both the student’s diploma and on the transcript; the thesis title also appears on the transcript. More information on the Honors thesis can be found at www.honors.umaine.edu/current-students/academics/thesis/honors- thesis/.

College and University Requirements

Successful completion of the Honors Core (HON 111, HON 112, HON 211, HON 212) and the cultural and civic engagement experiences (HON 180 and HON 170) satisfies all of the undergraduate General Education Human Values and Social Context and Ethics requirements. Successful completion of HON 111 and HON 112 with a grade of “C” or better in each satisfies the University’s basic composition requirement (ENG 101). HON 211 and HON 212 are also designated as Writing Intensive. All tutorials satisfy at least one of the Human Values and Social Contexts requirements. In practice, this means that students who complete the Civilizations sequence and HON 170 and 180 have satisfied all of the University’s general education requirements with the exception of the mathematics, science, and (in some cases) the capstone requirements.

A “C” or better is required in all Honors courses to satisfy the requirements of the Honors College. Additionally, a minimum average GPA of 3.0 (“B”) is required in the Honors Core (HON 111, HON 112, HON 211, HON 212). These courses may be repeated once for credit.

In addition to taking all the required Honors College courses, a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.30 is required to graduate with Honors. Many of the University’s majors accept the Honors thesis as a capstone experience. Some departments also allow HON 499 to satisfy the requirement for a writing intensive course in the major. For specific information, contact the Honors College.

For Further Information

Questions about the Honors College should be addressed to François G. Amar, Dean, the Honors College at the University of Maine, 5727 Estabrooke Hall, Orono ME 04469-5727. The phone number is (207) 581-3263 and information can also be requested at honors@maine.edu or by visiting our website at www.honors.umaine.edu


The Honors College requires its students to complete the four core courses HON 111, HON 112, HON 211, and HON 212; two 1-credit courses, HON 170 and HON 180; one Honors tutorial (HON 3xx) or Tutorial Alternative (HON 349); and the Honors Thesis (HON 498 and HON 499). Thus 24 to 27 credit hours of HON designated coursework are required graduate with Honors; however, 24 credits may replace other university requirements. All Honors designated course work must be completed with a “C” or better to count for credit towards the Honors designation. At graduation, students must achieve a 3.30 minimum 3.30 GPA in all their course work to be awarded an Honors degree.  Sample curricula integrating Honors requirements with the course of study for each major are available from the Honors College or at www.honors.umaine.edu/academics/curricula/ .

There is flexibility in the timing of the completion of many of the requirements but the following outlines a typical path through the Honors curriculum:


One of:



The following 1-credit courses are offered each semester and are required to be taken before graduation.