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.
Michael Tobin Class of 2017
Honors College living and learning program: Honors Humanities
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
A few of my activities: Theta Tau, Tau Beta Pi, Alpha Beta Mu Eta, BIOE120 Undergraduate Teaching Fellow, Cell Biophysics Laboratory Researcher, Intramural sports
What I enjoy most about my living and learning program: The thing I most enjoyed about my living and learning program was being a member of the close-knit community Honors Humanities fostered. In living with my fellow honors students, I was pushed to reach my full potential while easily developing friendships as a result of our mutually shared academic and social interests. The living and learning program allowed me to get to know my fellow honors students better, some of whom I would have never met in my engineering classes.
Advice to prospective students about choosing a university or college: Choose a university that provides you with a means for continued personal growth. During college, you will develop a greater sense of independence as well as experience a diverse culture. Make sure that during these critical years of your life, your university has the resources and support to guide you. If they do, college will become the best years of your life!
Foluke Tuakli Class of 2016
Honors College living and learning program: Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Hometown: Clarksville, MD
A few of my activities: Hip Hop Shake Fitness Classes at Eppley, Gospel Choir, The Maryland Crew for Soccer Games
What I enjoy most about my living and learning program: The community it breeds. EIP naturally attracts fascinating social and innovative folks. The conversation is never boring. Your network is never mediocre.
Advice to prospective students about choosing a university or college: Prioritize what you want from your college experience and make sure the university can deliver. Really take the time to get to know yourself, independent of other people’s expectations. Consider careers you may want to go into. How does the university pipeline students into that field or industry, or help students figure it out?
Veronica Rittie Class of 2017
Honors College living and learning program: Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students (ACES)
Hometown: Reisterstown, MD
A few of my activities: Intramural Slow Pitch Softball Tournament, Fastpitch club team, Ballroom dance, Self-defense classes
What I enjoy most about my living and learning program: The ACES program really provided me and my classmates with a tightknit community on such a huge campus. We became a family after the years of studying, living, and growing together.
Advice for prospective students about choosing a university or college: After looking at all of your options, the opportunities and costs, choose a school that fits who you are and feels like home. Find somewhere where you know you’ll be able to thrive.
Elfadil Osman Class of 2017
Major/s: Neurobiology and Physiology
Honors College living and learning program: Gemstone
Hometown: Salisbury, MD
A few of my activities: Gemstone Research Project/Team, College Success Scholars, Honors Ambassadors, Students Helping Honduras
What I enjoy most about my living and learning program: The Gemstone Living and Learning Program provided me with what I most greatly wanted from my undergraduate experience which is an immersive, interdisciplinary undergraduate experience. My future plans are focused on research, and the Gemstone program introduced me to the nature of research and also how to investigate interesting questions. I’ve been extremely fortunate to spend four years researching a topic outside of my own field.
Advice for prospective students about choosing a university or college: Your undergraduate years are great years to challenge yourself in new and unique ways. In choosing which university or college to continue your education, consider what schools will provide you with a wide array of opportunities to challenge yourself and grow holistically.
La Plata Hall
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Anne Arundel Hall