This section provides a brief overview of the requirements to graduate with University Honors. Staff in the Honors Program Advisement Center, 102 MSRB, (801) 422-5497, are available on a walk-in basis to answer questions about the program.

To graduate with University Honors, a student must be an admitted daytime student who maintains a 3.0 or higher GPA throughout the program and completes all of the requirements below or see requirements here.  Students must earn a B or higher in Honors courses for Honors Program credit.

Requirements: Leadership

Complete one of the following options:
Option 1: Complete 2 courses

  • HONRS 310: Foundations of Interdisciplinary Leadership (1.0 credit)
  • HONRS 390R: Honors Leadership Practicum (3.0 credits)


Option 2: Complete 1 course

  • HONRS 391R: Honors Student Leadership Council (4.0 credits, 2 semesters, by application only)

Requirements: Thesis

Honors Thesis

Complete an original research project or creative work that is mentored by a faculty member.

  • Submit a Thesis Proposal
  • Defend your Thesis and pass
  • Publish your work or project after successfully defending your thesis, see published Honors theses here.

    Thesis Funding

    • Research: You may request up to $1200 in research funds from the Honors Program to support your research, if the funds serve a bona fide research purpose. Please work closely with your advisor to develop a budget, and specify how you will use Honors program funding in your thesis proposal. See Thesis Proposal guidelines for additional information.
    • Culminating Experiences: Students presenting thesis research at academic conferences, or those seeking off-campus publication venues, may request up to $1000 in support funds for these culminating experiences. This requires a separate conference funding request form.

    Thesis Proposal Samples

    Requirements: Courses

    Complete all of the following with a grade of B or higher:

    • HONRS 110 (.5 credits): Intro to the Honors Experience
    • HONRS 120 (2.0 credits): Interdisciplinary Intro
    • HONRS 22x (3.0 credits each): Any three Unexpected Connections courses
    • HONRS 320 (3.0 credits): Great Questions Essay Tutorial (NOT a Thesis Class)
    • HONRS 310/390R or 391R (4.0 credits total): Leadership Development Experience (effective F2020)
    • HONRS 499R (3.0 credits): Thesis (effective F2020)

    Select a course to see current topics, course descriptions, and GE categories

    HONRS 110: Intro to the Honors Experience

    Section 1
    Vika Filimoeatu/Honors Advisors
    This course provides a general introduction to the Honors Program and the Honors community.  Students will become familiar with program requirements, aims, opportunities, and culture through presentations, activities, and mentored advisement and will create an academic plan toward graduation with University Honors. This course may be taken concurrently with HONRS 120.

    HONRS 120: Interdisciplinary Intro

    Sections 1-12
    Spencer Magleby/Undergraduate Teaching Fellows
    This course introduces the Honors interdisciplinary curriculum.  In this course, students learn to consider big or “great questions,” formulate and evaluate good research questions, and explore different disciplinary approaches to these questions through guest lecture and discussion.  Students learn to identify various thinking patterns, and begin to explore interdisciplinary approaches to learning (preparation for HONRS Unexpected Connections sequence).  This course may be taken concurrently with HONRS 110 and is a prerequisite for all other Honors courses that follow.

    HONRS 220 Unexpected Connections: Biology-Letters

    Section 001:  “Literature and Health”                                               
    John Talbot/Janelle Macintosh
    What if you flipped the traditional job descriptions?: “Doctors and nurses tell stories; poets and writers heal.”  That would be one way of getting at what this course is about – discovering the surprising connections between health and literature, biology and culture.  We’ll consider health in its physical, social, and mental aspects. We’ll explore not only the biological principles of health, disease, and death, but also how cultural meanings are created.  We’ll question the relation between health and death. Through readings of literary texts – from ancient scripture to medieval epic to modern science fiction – we’ll discover how questions of health, healing, and death manifest themselves in culture, literary art, and the very language itself.

    Section 002:  “Being Mortal: The Search for the Good Life"                                            
    Wade Hollingshaus/Steve Wood
    "Being Mortal" centers on the concept of life—where life is represented both through the discipline(s) of science and also through the disciplines of literature and art. With this in mind, we have chosen to frame the course in terms of two different but related notions: “life examined” and “the examined life.” The two are complementary, but there is also tension between them. We will spend this semester exploring their complementarity and their tension. Our ultimate endeavor in this is to come to a better understanding of what it means to live the “good life.”

    HONRS 223 Unexpected Connections: Physical Science-Letters

    Section 001: “Transcendent Skies: Literature and Astronomy”
    Denise Stephens/Aaron Eastley
    From time immemorial people have been inspired by the heavens. We have studied them, imagined and ordered them as constellations, sought the divine through them, and made them metaphors in our art. This course combines Physical Science and Letters, focusing on astronomy and the influence of the heavens on writers and readers from classical antiquity to the present. On the literary front, we will inquire into the many ways in which texts both affect and connect us. We will consider literary works spanning from Greek and Roman classics to Shakespeare, and give careful attention to Tennyson’s In Memoriam and C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia. On the astronomy front, we will explore how our views of science have changed. What started out as empirical observations led to physical laws where outcomes could be predicted and unseen worlds could be discovered. But as science grew and developed, small deviations from these physical laws forced us to reevaluate the unseen world and accept that science is driven by uncertainty, and at the smallest and largest scales science is still an exploration of the unknown and a desire to explain what we cannot know. This will be a hands-on, experiential, fun and deeply intellectually engaging course. We will meet primarily in the BYU planetarium, personally make some of the most famous observations first made by people like Galileo, and hope (COVID conditions permitting) to take field trips to the observatory on West Mountain and down to southern Utah, and read books like Michael Ward’s The Narnia Code and Alan Lightman’s Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine.

    Section 002: “Finding Truth: Disagreement and Engagement in a Complex World”
    Ryan Christensen/Karl Warnick
    Most of the information that informs our beliefs comes second-hand, and with the world growing more complex, identifying trustworthy authority is becoming ever more important. But how do we know what sources to trust? Can there be equally valid authorities that disagree? And how do we live in a society filled with disagreement and uncertainty? We will consider these questions through wide-ranging case studies from science and philosophy -- including free will versus determinism, the existence of God, climate change and global warming, bioethics and the morality of mandated vaccination, and machine learning and artificial intelligence in everyday life. The goal is to help students find solid footing in a polarized world where each of us has both blind spots and valuable perspectives to contribute as we engage in critical discussions and serve in our communities and vital institutions.

    HONRS 226 Unexpected Connections: Social Science-Letters

    Section 001: "What is Normal? Exploring Definitions and Behavior through Psychology and Literature"
    Rex Nielson/Mikle South

    HONRS 227 Unexpected Connections: Social Science-Arts

    Section 001: “The Comedy of Life: Exploring Social Structures through Humor.”   
    Kerry Soper/Kurt Sandholtz
    This interdisciplinary course explores how humor and comedy emerge from--and are made resonant through—social structure, including class hierarchies, gender relations, and other unspoken cultural codes/rules. 

    Section 002 & 003: “Race and Music”           
    Jacob Rugh/Luke Howard
    This course is a dialogue between two disciplines of study, the sociology of race and the history of music. Students will learn using multiple modes of inquiry across a variety of learning activities and multimedia. Course content will be presented as a dialogue between race and music, mainly, but not exclusively, in the US context. The course will build on parallel conceptual and theoretical foundations of race and music, then followed by increasing intertwining of race and music. Major topics covered will include the color line in society and the sonic color line in music, cultural appropriation of Native symbols and of racialized musical genres, the tension between segregation, assimilation, and antiracism in society and music, and questions of racial identity American society and its music. We will interrogate the question of what it means to be American in a racial and musical context, and the transition from racial assimilation to multicultural pluralism. The semester will culminate by summarizing both race in music, and the music of race--the historical rhythm of racial progress and regress, and where we go from here.

    HONRS 290R Unexpected Connections: Physical Science-Arts

    Section 001: “Scale and Perspective in the Arts and Physical Sciences”
    Matt Bekker/Dean Duncan
    STEM subjects are quite distinct from the Humanities, in all sorts of important ways. This fact has led, quite properly and productively, to all sorts of different conversations, explorations and even disciplines. That said, we can, we do get carried away with this idea of the two brain-sides. Sometimes we admire each other from afar, but never make much of an effort to actually communicate, or visit together. But not in this class! Scale and Perspective in the Arts and the Physical Sciences is committed to the notion that these two great disciplinary traditions have all sorts of things to say to and learn from each other. We will consider an exhilarating array of things relating to proportion and point of view. Size and subjectivity inform our understanding of physics and painting, geography and narrative, climate and the 10 Commandments. Plus, obviously, we’ll blow stuff up and watch movies!

    HONRS 320: Great Questions Essay Tutorial

    Sections 1-3
    Julie C. Radle/Graduate Teaching Fellows
    This capstone to the Honors Program coursework provides group and individual instruction in researching and writing the Great Question Essay (NOT the Honors Thesis). This essay is interdisciplinary in its approach to an approved “big or “great” question of the student’s choice. Students enrolled in the course will spend most of their time researching and drafting the essay, and will also meet regularly with the instructor and peers for consultation, advisement and direction. Course instruction focuses on developing a great question, applying an interdisciplinary research approach using empirical, behavioral, and interpretive thinking patterns, and understanding the essay genre and style of writing this requirement hopes to foster.

    Looking for Forms? Click the link below to see them all Honors Forms


    Don't Stress—Plan Ahead!

    Select your graduation to view the applicable deadlines. Click a specific event for more information.

    Event Deadline
    Deadline to Apply for Graduation September 15
    Great Question Essay (HONRS 320) After completing Unexpected Connection courses
    Thesis Proposal Submitted May 1, 2020
    Leadership Development Experience Semester following the completion of the experience or November 13
    Thesis Defense Information Form November 13
    Submit Preliminary Grad Names to University November 17*
    Last Day for Thesis Defense December 11
    Last Day to Submit Thesis Submission Form December 14
    Thesis Poster December 14
    Thesis Final PDF December 18
    Thesis Publication
    (PosterPrinted & ScholarsArchive)
    December 18
    Graduation Meeting  
    Exit Survey December 11
    Honors Graduation Ceremony April 22, 2021
    University Graduation Date December 17
    Last Day to Submit Final Grad Names to University December 28*

    *University Deadline
    Graduating in December 2020

    Event Deadline
    Deadline to Apply for Graduation November 15, 2020
    Great Question Essay (HONRS 320) After completing Unexpected Connection courses.
    Thesis Proposal Submitted September 25, 2020
    Thesis Poster April 1
    Leadership Development Experience Semester following the completion of the Leadership experience or February 19
    Thesis Defense Information Form February 19
    Last Day for Thesis Defense March 12
    Last Day to Submit Thesis Submission Form March 15
    Submit Preliminary Grad Names to University March 17*
    Thesis Final PDF March 19
    Thesis Publication
    (Poster, Printed & ScholarsArchive)
    March 19
    Graduation Meeting March 29 - April 2
    Exit Survey April 16 (prior to picking up your graduation regalia)
    Honors Graduation Ceremony April 22
    University Graduation Date April 22
    Last Day to Submit Final Grad Names to University April 26*

    *University Deadline
    Graduating in April 2021

    Event Deadline
    Deadline to Apply for Graduation February 15
    Great Question Essay (HONRS 320) After completing Unexpected Connection courses
    Thesis Proposal Submitted November 6, 2020
    Thesis Poster June 18
    Leadership Development Experience Semester following the completion of the Leadership experience or May 14
    Thesis Defense Information Form May 14
    Submit Preliminary Grad Names to University May 17*
    Last Day for Thesis Defense June 11
    Last Day to Submit Thesis Submission Form June 11
    Thesis Final PDF June 18
    Thesis Publication
    (PosterPrinted & ScholarsArchive)
    June 18
    Graduation Meeting  
    Exit Survey June 11
    Honors Graduation Ceremony April 22
    University Graduation Date June 17
    Last Day to Submit Final Grad Names to University June 17*

    *University Deadline
    Graduating in June 2021

    Event Deadline
    Deadline to Apply for Graduation February 15
    Great Question Essay HONRS 320 After completing Unexpected Connection courses
    Thesis Proposal Submitted January 15, 2021
    Thesis Poster August 6
    Leadership Development Experience  Semester following the completion of the experience or July 3.
    Thesis Defense Information Form July 2
    Submit Preliminary Grad Names to University July 12*
    Last Day for Thesis Defense July 30
    Last Day to Submit Thesis Submission Form July 31
    Thesis Final PDF August 6
    Thesis Publication
    (PosterPrinted & ScholarsArchive)
    August 6
    Graduation Meeting  
    Exit Survey August 6
    Honors Graduation Ceremony April 22, 2021
    University Graduation Date August 12
    Last Day to Submit Final Names to University August 12*

    * University Deadline
    Graduating in August 2021

    Note: Honors Program deadlines are firm. Students submitting materials after these deadlines will be considered for graduation the following semester. Honors students may only extend graduation by one semester beyond completion of their major and other university requirements for the purpose of completing Honors requirements. Individual departments may have earlier thesis deadlines than our Program deadlines. Be sure to check with your faculty thesis advisor or Honors Coordinator.

    Department Coordinators

    The Honors Coordinator serves as the liaison between the Honors Program and students in the various disciplines across campus. They refer students to possible mentors, help identify faculty experts in their discipline, inform students of research opportunities, and can assist students in identifying possible thesis topics.

    Coordinators provide department-specific guidelines for the Honors Thesis Proposal, and are a participating member of the thesis committee from the proposal stage through to the defense. Check the list of department coordinators to find yours.