Interdisciplinary Honors

The Interdisciplinary Honors (IH) track allows you to tailor your Honors curriculum around your interests and academic ambitions.

Unlike Departmental Honors (or "Honors in Major"), students on the IH track don't follow the Honors requirements set out by their individual departments and instead plan for three academic experiences beyond the walls of the classroom—what we call High-Impact Experiences (HIEs). These three High-Impact Academic Experiences (along with your thesis) become your Honors curriculum. 

Whether you're completing University Honors via the Departmental or Interdisciplinary track, you'll also need to complete four Honors Discovery courses and maintain a GPA of 3.5;  you'll also need to complete an Honors Thesis.

Departmental Requirements are replaced by Three High-Impact Experiences

Honors staff will support and guide you as you design a program built around your interests and aimed at the questions that truly motivate you. We encourage students to be creative in designing their Honors High-Impact Academic Experiences. Students may submit a proposal to have experiences not on the above list approved to count toward Interdisciplinary Honors.

    In order to submit a proposal for an Honors high-impact experience, students can go to the University Honors Program Canvas page. Within this page is an Interdisciplinary Honors module, and the 'proposal for pre-approval for a high-impact experience' is listed as a quiz. Review of each experience is done carefully and with attention to the specifics of each person's particular circumstances. 

    Interdisciplinary Honors Thesis: IH students write a thesis like all other students earning an Honors degree. In the majority of cases, students will choose a faculty member in their primary major as their adviser. However, because IH students are not confined by departmental requirements and because their interests often extend outside of a single field or discipline, students will occasionally seek an adviser in a different discipline. It is the responsibility of the student to reach out to their intended adviser. In nearly all cases, these conversations should happen during the student's junior year.

    If you have questions, please reach out to andrew.ferris@unh.edu or any Honors staff member.

    Who is IH for?

    1. The Outside-the-Boxer. Many Honors students have interests and ambitions that naturally fall outside of or between standard disciplines. Many of the most pressing challenges and questions can't be solved or answered through the lens of a single department or approach. The IH track let's students embrace the interconnection of their own interests and the topics they are studying. 
    2. The Double-Majorer or the Minor Collector. Many Honors students pursue concentrations outside of their primary major, which means that their schedules must accommodate more required courses. In some cases, these additional course requirements make it very difficult (or even impossible) to fulfill departmental honors requirements. In cases like this, the IH track offers students the flexibility to pursue their interests across majors and minors while still fulfilling an Honors curriculum. 
    3. The Independent Seeker. Every Honors student has their own learning style, and many find themselves drawn to self-directed, hands-on academic experiences. These students naturally gravitate towards pursing independent projects, studying abroad, doing research with a professor, or programs like Semester in the City or the Washington Center. For these students, the IH track lets them match their Honors Curriculum to their own education style.

    Because the Interdisciplinary Honors track is designed individually by each student and some HIEs can extend over several semesters, there is no one-size-fits-all timeline. However, this makes it even more important to have a workable plan. 

    Freshman Year 

    • Meet with Honors advisers to familiarize yourself with the program.
    • Opportunities like studying abroad, REAP, or Semester in the City should be on everyone's radar!

    Sophomore Year 

    • Fill out the Honors Track Registration Form as soon as they know which track they are pursuing.
    • Submit a tentative plan through the Honors Canvas page.

    Junior Year 

    • Update your IH plan if there have been changes. 
    • Submit approval forms for any HIEs you are interested in that are not on the pre-approved experiences list.
    • NOTE: By the end of this year, at least one High-Impact Academic Experience should be underway and your IH plan should be finalized, including approval for any HIAEs that are not pre-approved.

    Senior Year

    • Check in with Honors Program about your progress. 
    • Submit your HIE Completion Forms and your Interdisciplinary Reflection as you wrap up each experience.

    List of Pre-Approved High-Impact Experiences

    Experiences such as the Winant Fellowship, certain internships, or service experiences can be approved if they include regular meetings with a UNH faculty member to situate the experience in an academic context. 

    In order to be approved, these experiences must:

    1. Contribute to a student’s academic development (in addition to career preparation or other benefits to be gained from the experience). Academic experiences include research and/or analysis
    2. Be overseen by a UNH faculty or staff member to whom the student is accountable
    3. Be comparable in scale and time commitment to at least a two-credit course, which is to say approximately 80 to 90 hours in total, which can include preparation time for the experience as well as the experience itself

    Some examples that would require a proposal include but are not limited to:

    • Work with fellow students and faculty to address a community problem
    • Service experiences with an academic focus
    • Internships that advance both academic and professional development, such as through the Global Racial and Social Inequality Lab
    • Experiences abroad of less than 8 weeks
    • Grants or fellowships not listed on the pre-approved fellowships list
    • Extensive and/or successful participation in competitions such as the Holloway Competition

    "The interdisciplinary honors track prompted me to seek out experiences and opportunities that I may not have otherwise sought out myself... I have created such strong connections with professors and graduate students who are all rooting for me and my future work. They are consistently advocating for me and looking out for my best interest."  


    "My Interdisciplinary Experience was the highlight of my college career… I have found a clearer path for what I want in my career and my personal life after I graduate."


    "I’m glad that Interdisciplinary Honors was an option for me because it gave me the structure to do the experiences I already wanted to do. Being active in research is very important in STEM fields such as physics, and it was a priority for me to get involved in research in some form."


    "I feel like it allowed me to have some freedom in choosing my higher-level major elective courses while also pushing me to go for experiences that I may not have initially been drawn to. I am someone who has a wide range of interests outside of my STEM major, so this track was a great way for me to exercise those passions and have them culminate meaningfully toward my degree…These experiences have certainly helped me realize the interconnectedness of my academic passions."  


    Having the opportunity to explore an interdisciplinary education expanded my scope of what I am capable of doing after graduation