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University Honors Program | Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are some of the benefits of being in the University Honors Program at American University?

2. How can I join the Honors Program?

3. Where can I find information about scholarships or financial aid?

4. Is there Honors housing?

5. How do I get involved in the Honors community?

6. How do I graduate with Honors?

7. How does Honors fit in with my regular academic requirements?

8. What is a Capstone?

1. What are some of the benefits of being in the University Honors Program?

Participation in the University Honors Program gives students access to an outstanding community of scholars and benefits including:

  • Smaller classes taught by renowned faculty from a variety of disciplines
  • Multidisciplinary Honors colloquia that involve topics, ideas and approaches not typical within traditional university departments, such as a recent course on Darwinism, which examined the work of Darwin from the perspective of biology, psychology, anthropology and literature
  • Participation in an Honors living-learning community
  • One-on-one Honors academic counseling tailored to the individual student's needs and goals
  • Opportunity to work closely with Honors faculty members on research or creative projects
  • Access to Honors alums world-wide
  • Leadership opportunities with Honors 101 or the Student Honors Board
  • Priority class registration
  • Discount tickets, free lunch with professors, small-group discussions with political leaders and academic innovators
  • Travel with fellow Honors students and faculty to beautiful and historic parts of the world, which has in the past included, Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat and the Great Pyramids
  • Added prestige to your already outstanding education at American University, which provides a competitive advantage when applying for Washington, D.C., internships or national scholarships like the Truman, Rhodes or Goldwater

For more information, please visit our Why Honors? page.

2. How can I join the Honors Program?

There are three ways a student can join the University Honors Program:

  1. As an incoming freshman to American University
  2. As an incoming transfer student to American University
  3. As an enrolled American University student, not currently in Honors

To find out more information, please visit our Admission page.

3. Where can I find information about scholarships or financial aid?

All scholarship decisions are made by the Office of Admissions. Other financial aid awards such as need-based and non-need-based grants and loans are made by the Office of Financial Aid. The University Honors Program does not award these scholarships.

For more information, please visit our Financial Aid/Scholarships page.

4. Is there Honors housing?

If they wish, Honors students have the opportunity to complement their Honors Program experience by living in the Honors residence hall: Hughes Hall.

Resident Assistants for Honors floors are also members of the Honors Program and can serve as excellent resources for Honors students. In addition to lounges and kitchens on each floor, Hughes Hall features the Hughes Formal Lounge, a common room used for study groups and social gatherings. These facilities and activities contribute to fostering a sense of community, a hallmark of Honors floor living.

For more information, please visit our Honors Housing page.

5. How do I get involved in the Honors community?

There are lots opportunities for getting involved in the Honors community, including the following:

  • Participating in an Honors living-learning community by living on an Honors floor
  • Enrolling in Honors 101, our student-led, semester-long orientation program for all incoming Honors freshmen
  • Running for office as a member or an executive officer of the Student Honors Board, the official liaison between Honors students and the University Honors Program
  • If you are a transfer student, sharing your experiences with and serving as a mentor to incoming transfer students
  • Connecting with Honors alumni around the world through special programs and activities
  • Working as a Student Staff Assistant in the University Honors Center

For more information, please visit our Get Involved page.

6. How do I graduate with Honors?

Meet the Credit Requirement

Students invited to join the University Honors Program as incoming freshmen must complete 30 total Honors course credits by the time they graduate. For those who self-nominate into the Honors Program or who enter it as transfer students, this requirement is reduced, up to a minimum of 21 total Honors credits. All students must earn at least 12 Honors credits through upper-level courses, including a course or courses related to the Capstone, which is required for all students.

Complete a Capstone

The Capstone is a significant research or creative project that e is the culmination of students' academic careers at AU and allows them to work in close collaboration with Honors faculty to focus on a particular field of study.

Make the Grade

Students must achieve a 3.50 cumulative GPA and earn a B or better in all Honors courses to graduate with University Honors.

For more information, please visit our Graduation Requirements page.

7. How does Honors fit in with my regular academic requirements?

American University offers many Honors courses each semester in a variety of disciplines, including courses that allow students to earn both general education credit and upper-level major credit, while earning Honors credit. Honors students also have the option to earn Honors credit through upper-level, non-Honors courses that they take to fulfill requirements for their major or minor fields of study.   

Honors course offerings and program flexibility allow students to custom tailor their Honors experience to meet their individual needs and academic and career goals.

For more information, please visit our Honors Course Listings page.

8. What is a Capstone?

The Honors Capstone is the culmination of a student's undergraduate Honors work and is usually completed in the senior year. The Capstone allows the student to work closely with a faculty member -- a Capstone advisor -- to create a scholarly or creative project that builds on a student's knowledge and interest in a field of study.

Capstone projects may include, but are not limited to, conducting a major research project, writing a novel, preparing a recital or performance, developing a Web site, curating an exhibit or directing a theater production under faculty supervision.

For more information, please visit our Capstone page.