About the Honors College
What is the Honors College?
The Honors College is home to Maryland’s highly acclaimed living-learning programs for students with exceptional academic talents. The Honors College welcomes students into a close-knit community of faculty and intellectually gifted undergraduates committed to acquiring a broad and balanced education. The Honors College features small classes taught by outstanding faculty who encourage discussion and foster innovative thinking. Each year, approximately 1000 undergraduates are welcomed into this highly selective program.
The Best of the Best Elements of the Honors College:
Outstanding Students + Outstanding Faculty
It’s all about the people - a truly exceptional group of people. The Honors peer group is awesome — lively students from all majors who are full of intellectual excitement, creativity, diverse ideas, forming lasting friendships. Combine excellent students with superb faculty in small classes and the result is a power-packed and highly efficient learning environment. Honors students and faculty are full of curiosity, productivity, energy, and humor. Few students realize how rapidly Maryland’s academic stock is rising. For example, did you know that there are three Nobel Prize winners on the Honors College faculty roster? And that is just the tip of the iceberg!
Honors College Academics
Honors College students have exclusive access to exciting interdisciplinary courses offered in the Honors living-learning programs, and to special Honors versions of traditional classes ("H-versions") hosted by academic departments. Honors College students may also choose to join upper-level Departmental Honors Programs in their major discipline of study.
The exciting Honors living-learning programs range from the highly flexible University Honors to the more structured and focused two-year programs [Design Cultures & Creativity (DCC), Entrepreneurship and Innovation (EIP), Honors Humanities (HH) and Integrated Life Sciences (ILS)] to four-year programs [Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students (ACES) and Gemstone (GEMS) - faculty supervised team research].
H-Version classes are discipline-based courses hosted by academic departments and colleges on campus. They typically have lower enrollments, more sophisticated material, and proceed at a faster pace than a corresponding standard course. Most H-versions have a separate lecture; some join the larger course for lectures and then break out for separate lab or discussion sections.
Departmental Honors programs, offered by the academic departments across campus, give Honors students an opportunity to take special upper-level Honors coursework in the major and work closely with a faculty mentor on an independent research project culminating in an honors thesis (or equivalent). Departmental Honors research is a powerful way for a student to experience the thrill of innovative research.
Small College Atmosphere, Large research Institution Advantages
The Honors College combines the best of two educational options: the sophisticated academic offerings and friendly residential environment of a small liberal arts college nestled within the rich, diverse, boundless opportunities of a big research institution (with the extra perks of the dynamite Terp spirit).
Honors, as your "academic home," provides an instant group of friends and a compatible community as well as enriched courses, so you’ll feel "plugged in" immediately, even on this big campus. Over time, you will get connected to loads of other people and activities at the University through your major, extracurriculars, and research or internship opportunities. You will never exhaust all that the University of Maryland and the Washington D.C. metropolitan area have to offer: exceptional scholarly and research experiences, faculty at the forefronts of their fields, graduate courses for advanced students, internship opportunities in virtually any arena, and a plethora of arts and entertainment.
Choice, Flexibility, Versatility
A part of Honors that we treasure is the individual choice that each student has in designing his/her education. In the month of February, newly admitted students are asked which living-learning programs they would most like to join. The faculty directors of the seven programs huddle together to maximize the number of students who are placed in the programs they most want. By design, the largest living-learning program in the Honors College is University Honors, because University Honors has the greatest flexibility and requires the smallest number of courses for the Honors Citation that do not count directly toward one’s degree requirements.
By any possible measure, the Honors College is diverse, and we value that diversity as a substantive educational resource and catalyst for powerful personal growth. Students thrive in an atmosphere in which they may discuss, listen, and understand varied perspectives from people with different backgrounds and ideas. Our goal is to help students develop the understanding, openness, and comfort needed to thrive in the diverse, globalized world that we all share.
Breadth and Depth
Change is inevitable. Broad exposure to a variety of disciplines and ways of thinking, as reflected by Honors Seminars fulfilling Maryland’s CORE philosophy and requirements, will challenge your mind in many different directions and help build a critically thinking, multi-talented, logical, compassionate person who can adapt to professional and personal changes in the decades ahead.
The breadth of the Honors College curriculum is complimented by the more focused, in-depth exploration of your particular area of interest, i.e. your major, at a leading research institution with excellent faculty and premiere, up-to-date programs.
Emerging from your undergraduate years with the robust combination of educational breadth and depth and embracing life-long learning and continued personal growth will equip you to excel in your career(s) and your life.
Location, location, location. The University of Maryland is auspiciously positioned to provide exceptional access to research and internship experiences as well as opportunities of any possible type.
The University’s beautiful campus features incredible resources such as the stunning Clarice Smith Center for the Performing Arts, loads of specialized research facilities, the really impressive campus recreation center AND the nearby awesome advantages of Metro DC! The Washington Metropolitan area offers access to a bonanza of research and internship experiences. In addition to the scholarly resources of the Library of Congress, National Archives, and museum collections, loads of research institutions such as the National Institutes of Health, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Folger Shakespeare Library, are all located within easy commuting distance for students electing to pursue off-campus research.
Additionally, nearly every business, foundation, branch of government, broadcasting company, trade group, and professional organization has an office, if not its headquarters, in the DC area, and are eager for undergraduate interns. Internships during the academic year, winter term, or summer session provide excellent opportunities to test drive both your education and your interests in addition to building your resumé.
This exceptional location and close proximity to the College Park Metro Station (on the Green line) also provide easy access to an endless array of cultural events, movies, arts, sports, museums, restaurants, shopping, etc. in the hub of the nation.
Life After Honors
The living-learning programs in the Honors College have proven to be great launch pads for the next step after college.
For example, here is a summary of the destinations of recent Honors College graduates — their plans immediately after graduation:
Joining the workforce (job in hand) directly after graduation: 48%
Enrolling in graduate or professional school in fall ’10: 43%
[Which includes 9% of our graduates going to Med school; 6% going to Law school; 1% to Dental school; and 1% to Vet school.]
Research/ Internship: 2%
Unsure of plans: 4%
Among the graduate and professional school destinations of recent Honors College graduates are:
Brown, Cambridge, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, Duke Emory, Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, MIT, NYU, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn, Princeton, Rice, Stanford, Tulane, University of Chicago, University of Maryland, University of Michigan, UNC, UT Austin, UVA, University of Wisconsin, William & Mary, and Yale.
The Honors College, a vibrant and diverse intellectual community on the doorstep of the nation's capital, engages the University of Maryland's highest achieving undergraduates by providing academic challenges and boundless opportunities for discovery, setting them on paths to extraordinary futures.
To provide an academically enriched and intellectually challenging program for students with exceptional academic talents
To develop an intellectually stimulating, diverse, inspiring, and supportive community of outstanding students and excellent faculty
To offer curriculum choice and freedom, complemented by effective advising
To supplement coursework with broad scholarly, research, internship, artistic, international, service, and other experiential opportunities
To build foundations for personal and professional growth and success in today's dynamic world
Alice Chang Class of 2016
Majors: Economics and Finance
Honors College living and learning program: Gemstone
Hometown: Potomac, MD
A few of my activities: Resident Assistant, Intern at the FDIC, GEMS 100 Section Leader, Club Table Tennis Member
My favorite thing about the Honors College: There are so many resources that cater specifically to the Honors population. The Gemstone program staff has been there for me every step of the way since I first came to UMD. They have taught me about research and helped me with my academics. More importantly, they have helped me get involved on campus, develop my leadership skills, and build self-confidence.
Why I chose the Honors College at the University of Maryland: The idea that "you can make a big school feel small, but you can't make a small school feel big" was a big part in my decision to join the Honors College. I really appreciated that there were specific resources and courses dedicated to the students in Honors. I also really liked the concept of living and learning programs, which ensured that I would be living with other motivated students who prioritize academics. As a student UMD, I have access to many campus resources to help me make the most out of my four years here.
Jazmyn White Class of 2015
Majors: Computer Science and Economics
Honors College living and learning program: Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Hometown: Waldorf, MD
A few of my activities: Black Student Union, Honors Ambassadors, Teaching Assistant, Orientation Advisor, Banneker/Key Mentor, Google Intern, Student Government Association
My favorite thing about the Honors College: My favorite aspect of the Honors College is the great network of people. Students are from all over the world, study different fields and have unique passions. Through the Honors College, I have met so many diverse people and have become a more well-rounded individual as a result.
My favorite honors seminar: My favorite honors seminar is HONR258T: Tools of Fiction: Creative Writing. I loved this course because we got to read and discuss a new short story in every class. This was an escape from my more technical coursework and allowed me to explore my creative side. We even got the opportunity to write and discuss our own short story!
Sydnee Shannon Class of 2017
Honors College living and learning program: Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students (ACES)
Hometown: Ellicott City, MD
A few of my activities: Ambassador for the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Intern at Northrop Grumman, ACES Mentor
My favorite thing about the Honors College: I really like the Honors College living and learning program structure, which made this large university seem a little smaller and connected me with people who have become my best friends. I also enjoy the Honors seminars, which allow me to learn about specific topics completely unrelated from my major in a small discussion based class.
My favorite Honors course: Without a question my favorite Honors seminar is HONR278D: National Security Dilemmas. The professor is absolutely fantastic and the content is fascinating. I learned about all of the various forms of national security being discussed in the government and received credible information from both sides of each issue. I was able to make informed opinions on each topic and had the opportunity to discuss it with my classmates and learn about other students' points of view.
Ed Waddill, Jr. Class of 2015
Majors: Business Marketing and Supply Chain Management
Honors College living and learning program: Design | Cultures + Creativity (DCC)
Hometown: Upper Marlboro, MD
A few of my activities: Banneker/Key Community Council, Black Honors Caucus, Honors Ambassadors, DCC Student Mentor
Why I chose the Honors College at the University of Maryland: I liked the community feel of it. Coming to such a large university without having a group of people to support you during your academic career is a big adjustment. In the Honors College, I had a solid support network to help me out along the way.
My favorite Honors course: is Contemporary Arts and Ideas. The blend of classroom learning and trips to Washington, D.C. to visit art exhibits was very effective in teaching me about the arts. It was also very fun to hang out in the city with my professor on sunny Saturday afternoons.
La Plata Hall
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Anne Arundel Hall