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Prospective Students

Welcome, prospective students! We are glad you are interested in learning more about AU Honors. Scroll down to learn more about Honors admissions, program benefits, and advice from some of our current students.



To apply for AU Honors, interested high school students complete the Honors program application in addition their American University application. The deadline to apply to a special academic program is January 15. 

We are looking for students from every major to create a robust, fully interdisciplinary team of students. Grades are important (we don’t consider standardized test scores) but it is most important that you have demonstrated a sense of curiosity and a love of learning. Ultimately, we are looking to build a strong cohort that can work well together on the projects they will pursue through this daring program. Our Admissions team will send acceptance notifications between mid-March and April 1.

AU Honors Benefits

  • The first-year Honors curriculum includes Honors sections of Complex Problems classes in the first semester. Each Complex Problem class has an accompanying experiential learning lab class. The second semester, all Honors students participate in a faculty-led research experience. Several Spring Research Courses include an international travel experience. Past trips have gone to Northern Ireland, Cuba, Costa Rica, and Belgium. These courses are exclusively available to Honors students. 
  • Honors offers small class sizes.
  • Honors students conduct group and individual research through our curriculum in the fields of their choice. 
  • The Honors Challenge Course offers an opportunity for students to work across disciplines with students in other majors and with AU faculty. 
  • There is special funding devoted to supporting Honors students’ research projects and conference presentations.
  • First-year students live in a living-learning community in Anderson Hall. Living with Honors and Scholars students helps in the transition to college by fostering community and shared experiences. The students on the floor are the same students in their Honors courses.
  • The living-learning community is in the same building as the Honors office, making it convenient to stop by and ask questions.
  • Honors students also have the opportunity to live on an Honors floor in McDowell Hall their sophomore year. 
  • There are dedicated Program Associates (PA) for first-year students. The PAs provides extra support by bridging Honors classroom with the Honors office by attending classes, planning co-curricular activities, and living on the same residence hall floor as new Honors students. 
  • There are opportunities for involvement in the Honors program through the Student Advisory Committee and Peer Mentor Program. 
  • All first-year students are matched with an Honors Peer Mentor. Beginning sophomore year, Honors students can volunteer to be a mentor to incoming students.
  • There are peer-led and staff-led programs geared toward students' interests and needs. Some of these include retreats, alumni panels, Thanksgiving dinners, ice skating, and trivia nights, to name a few.
  • Introductions to the Office of Merit Awards and the Career Center help Honors students prepare for their next steps.
  • Learn from top speakers at the Honors “Have You Ever Wondered?” discussion series and have an exclusive meeting with the Writer as Witness author every September. 

Entering as...

  • Apply from high school when applying to AU 
  • Students use a separate AU Honors application and answer three Honors essay questions.  
  • Honors Curriculum can be completed in three years.  
  • AU Honors students can study abroad. 
  • AU Honors students can be from any major on campus.  
  • Students have a dedicated Honors first-year advisor (your AUx1 instructor)
  • Students with a 3.5 GPA and above are invited to apply to Honors after being accepted to AU 
  • If you still have to take a Complex Problems course at AU, you will be accepted into the Honors first year cohort (even if you are technically a sophomore) and take an Honors section of Complex Problems (CORE-106
  • Students with a 3.5 cumulative GPA or above at the end of their first year are invited to apply  
  • Students answer three Honors essay questions and submit a faculty letter of recommendation.
    • NOTE: Your faculty recommendation should be from a professor teaching a 3 credit hour course who can speak to your research skills.  
  • Applications for Fall 2024 are open until February 5th.

My Honors Community

Faith Lewis, Class of 2020

My college experience would not be the same without AU Honors.

"I love being part of a community full of varied passions and interests. I value the opportunity to do graduate-level research, dine with world-renown faculty, and learn documentary skills from an Emmy-winning professor. My college experience would not be the same without AU Honors."