Designated Honors Courses

Designated Honors Courses
UNH student sitting in front of laptop in class



Students may work with their professors to design Honors-level curricula within general courses. This is a great opportunity to dig in to an especially exciting course, and to create new connections with your faculty.


Honors designations support students in engaging with the course material on a deeper level. The faculty member should think of the student as a mentee, and the student should expect to take an exceptionally active role in the course. Often Honors designations add research to courses that normally don’t require it, or link the course material with another discipline. The focus should be on enriching the learning experience, so that students are able to deepen their connection with the course material. Honors work may be in addition to and/or in place of the syllabus requirements.

Designation is always at the discretion of the professor; it may not be appropriate for every course. Students who wish to designate a course should approach the professor at the beginning of the semester, or before, to discuss how the curriculum could be enriched.

Honors work may be in addition to and/or in place of the syllabus requirements. Some suggestions:

  • more advanced supplemental reading, especially of primary sources
  • more opportunities for student presentations to class or campus audiences
  • greater depth and/or breadth of subject matter, especially requiring synthesis of different perspectives or points of view
  • more opportunities for research, particularly when student-conceived
  • use of resources or consultants from beyond the campus itself, such as university libraries or interactions with business or industry personnel
  • opportunities for publication or public presentation of work
  • community-based experiences: field trips, interviews, cultural events
  • leadership in the classroom: leading study groups, leading class discussion, assisting faculty in preparation and delivery of instructional material
  • investigating an area of the discipline not covered in depth in the regular course, either through a literature search, an annotated bibliography, or a conventional research paper
  • applying the information/expertise learned in the course in a creative way
  • monitoring and analyzing current events associated with the course topic

It is crucial that both the instructor and the student fully understand the Honors expectations before the course is officially designated as Honors. It is recommended that a written document outlining these expectations be appended to the Course Designation Form. 



Honors course designation is always at the discretion of the instructor. Courses eligible for Honors designation are generally semester-length courses. Accelerated courses, such as those offered in the summer or J-term, are generally not appropriate for Honors designation as there is not enough time to add additional content.

For students pursuing the University Honors Program (i.e. those who entered UNH before Fall 2024), only one designated Honors course may be used toward the Honors Discovery requirement. 

Honors in Major programs usually include multiple designated courses. Each major determines which courses may be designated to count toward Honors in Major. Some specify a course level (e.g. 600 and above), while others provide a list of eligible or required courses. See specific requirements here.


Honors Designation Process

Once an agreement has been reached with the course instructor regarding Honors work, the student will fill out the Honors Designation electronic form. The form will prompt students to identify the course, instructor, and how the course will be elevated to the Honors level. Once the student submits their portion of the form, an email will prompt the instructor to sign the form. From there, it will go to the Honors College advisors (if course is being designated for Honors Discovery) or the Honors Liaison for the appropriate department (if course is being designated for Honors in Major), and then to the Registrar's office.

Upon receiving the form, the Registrar will create a special Honors section of the course, and transfer the student into it. The course will be listed as Honors on the transcript. 

Honors designations cannot be reversed after the drop deadline (week 5 of the semester). Students must complete the work they agreed to. If a student does not complete the additional Honors work, the professor should adjust their grade accordingly. In exceptional circumstances that are not academic in nature (e.g. medical emergencies), students may complete a Petition for Academic Variance to have the Honors designation removed from a course. This petition should be signed by the course instructor and the Honors College before being submitted to the Dean of the student’s college for evaluation.