Jul 20, 2024  
2023-2024 UMaine Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 UMaine Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Honors College

The University of Maine offers one of the nation’s oldest continuously-running honors programs. Open to students in all majors, the Honors College provides opportunities for motivated students to investigate diverse academic disciplines, to be challenged in a supportive intellectual environment, and to engage enthusiastic fellow students and faculty in thoughtful, provocative discussions. 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 of the program are substantial.

Students and faculty involved in the Honors College come from all areas of the university. As a community of approximately seven 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 Honors 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 depth in a major field of study


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 and show curiosity, initiative, and intellectual flexibility in both academic work and extracurricular activities. Incoming first-year students, current UMaine students, and transfer students may also ask to be considered for admission by contacting the Honors College office (honors@maine.edu). Prior to admission, current and transfer students will consult with the associate dean to discuss previous coursework and an appropriate program of study in Honors. 

Honors Thesis and Degree Designation

The Honors thesis is a culminating experience of independent scholarship in the Honors College. An Honors student’s thesis work is evaluated after the completion of their thesis defense. The level of honors [Honors, High Honors, Highest Honors] awarded depends on the quality of the written thesis and the Reading List, as well as the student’s discussion of these elements at the oral defense. 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 honors.umaine.edu.

College and University Requirements

Successful completion of the Honors 18-credit core curriculum which comprises HON 111, HON 112, HON 211, HON 212, and two of the three cultural and civic engagement experiences (HON 170, HON 175, and HON 180) 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.In practice, this means that students who complete the Civilizations sequence and two of the three cultural and civic engagement 1-credit courses (HON 170, HON 175, and HON 180) have satisfied all of the university’s general education requirements with the exception of mathematics (Quantitative Literacy) and science (General Education Science).  Additionally, 300-level Honors tutorials satisfy at least one of the Human Values and Social Contexts requirements.

A C or better is required in all Honors courses to satisfy the requirements of the Honors College. These courses may be repeated once for credit.

The Honors College monitors the GPAs of its students. Those who fall below a 3.30 GPA are cautioned based upon a set of GPA thresholds for each cohort (first-year through senior). The caution ranges are based on the credits remaining to graduation that can reasonably be used to restore a student’s GPA back to the 3.30 GPA required for graduation in Honors: 2.7 to 3.0 at end of first year; 3.0 to 3.15 at end of second year; 3.15 to 3.30 at end of third year. Students in each cohort who fall below the lower threshold will be separated from the Honors College, but have the option to appeal for reinstatement.

In addition to successfully completing all the required Honors College courses, a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.30 is required to graduate with Honors.

In many majors, the Honors thesis will satisfy the “capstone” general education requirement. Some departments also allow HON 499 to satisfy the requirement for a writing intensive course in the major or to serve as a technical elective.  For specific information, students should contact their department chair or consult with their major advisor.

Further information about the Honors College can be found at honors.maine.edu.  The Honors College can be reached by email at honors@maine.edu; by phone at (207) 581-3263; or by mail at The Honors College, University of Maine, 5716 Colvin Hall, Orono ME, 04469-5716.


The Honors College requires its students to complete the four, four-credit seminar courses HON 111, HON 112, HON 211, and HON 212; ; two of the following three cultural and civic engagement one-credit courses: HON 170, HON 175, or HON 180; one Honors tutorial (HON 3xx) or Tutorial Alternative (HON 349); the one-credit thesis preparation course, HON 391, and the Honors Thesis courses (HON 498 and HON 499). Thus, 25 to 28 credit hours of HON designated coursework are required to graduate with Honors

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, not including HON 170 and HON 180 which are offered every fall and spring semester and can be taken any time during your undergraduate career. HON 175 is only open to first-year students by application and is only offered in the fall semester.

Civilizations Sequence Semester Table


Completion of any of these courses (HON 111, 112, 211 or 212) satisfies either the General Education Western Cultural Tradition or the Cultural Diversity and International Perspectives requirement. Completion of any two satisfies the Western Cultural Tradition, Cultural Diversity and International Perspectives, and Ethics requirements. Completion of three satisfies the Western Cultural Tradition, Cultural Diversity and International Perspectives, Social Context and Institutions, and Ethics requirements. Completion of all four satisfies the Ethics requirement and all areas of the Human Values and Social Context requirements for 16 of the total 18 credits required in those areas.

Two of the following courses: HON 170, HON 175, and HON 180 fulfill the 18 credit requirement.


One of:



Students are required to take two out of the three following 1-credit courses before graduation.

Honors Courses focused on Genomics (Optional)