There are two major requirements for remaining in the Honors College:
Grade Point Average
All Honors College students are required to maintain a minimum 3.4 cumulative grade point average for all coursework taken at UIC. Transfer students who apply to the Honors College are admitted based on their grade point averages earned at their transfer institutions, but once they take courses at UIC, the Honors College considers only their UIC grade point averages in determining their standing in the College.
Honors College Activity
All Honors College students complete an Honors Activity each fall and spring semester. Honors Activities may be conducted during summer session. Listed below are brief descriptions of approved Honors Activities. Students consult their fellow and use an appropriate Honors Activity Agreement Form each semester to determine and document their Honors Activity
Freshman Seminar Requirement
Honors College first-year students who are enrolled in a degree-granting college that does not include a freshman seminar requirement are required to enroll in HON 101, Introduction to the UIC Honors College, during the fall semester of their first year. Consult the UIC Schedule of Classes for course sections and times.
Students who entered the Honors College Fall Semester 2006 and beyond are required to complete an honors Capstone project before graduation. The project will typically be done during the senior year and in the student’s major, although students have the freedom, with the approval of their faculty Fellows, to pick any topic. Students may request the guidance of any faculty member in terms of supervision of the Capstone project; however, the proposed project and approval of the final product is in all cases subject to the Honors College Fellow’s approval. All Capstone projects include an independent, in-depth examination of the topic under the close supervision of a faculty advisor. The project may be presented in any appropriate form (prose, performance, software, an object, for example) but require a corresponding written analysis. Presentation of the results of the student’s work in some form of public academic forum is expected. The Capstone project will fulfill the student’s Honors Activity requirement during the respective terms of its undertaking. Students in programs that require a culminating project, such as engineering or architecture, may use those projects to satisfy the Honors College Capstone requirement, if approved by the Honors College Fellow. Students majoring in disciplines in which a senior thesis is required for graduation with distinction, such as English and history, may use such theses to satisfy the Honors College Capstone requirement.
Types of Honors Activities
Honors Activity Opiton for Freshmen (First Year Students)
Honors College Core Courses
Each Honors College freshman is required to enroll in a 3-credit Honors Core course each fall and spring semester of the freshman year. These courses are taught by professors from different departments. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the Core courses, students learn to integrate important material from different perspectives. And, because of the small size of these courses, they have the opportunity to get to know each other intellectually. Enrollment in each course is limited to 25. There are Core courses options to fulfill university general education requirements in all of the following areas: Analyzing the Natural World, Exploring World Cultures, Understanding the Creative Arts, Understanding the Individual and Society, Understanding the Past, or Understanding U.S. Society. The Honors College staff provides a comprehensive listing of Core courses each semester. Copies are available in the Honors College main office (103 BH) and on the Honors College course listings page.
Honors Activity Options for Upper Division Students
Honors Sections of Regular Courses
Some departments offer special discrete honors sections of courses in such disciplines as chemistry, economics, calculus, physics, among others. Others provide a number of honors seats within a regular course; students generally register for a separate honors course reference number (CRN) and are subject to additional course requirements as deemed appropriate by the course instructor. In both cases, the honors status of the course is noted on the student’s transcript by the addition on the letter “H” after the letter grade given for the course. As required for all courses, students should consult the prerequisites for honors sections before enrolling in them. Some freshmen may be eligible to take honors sections, but should keep in mind that they do not satisfy their Honors Activity requirement in the first year.
Honors Lectures and Seminars (HON 200 and HON 201)
The Honors Lectures (HON 200) and the Honors Seminars (HON 201) provide ways for students to extend their study of a topic of interest. The Lectures are non-credit; the Seminars provide one semester hour of credit, and are graded on a Satisfactory (S)/Unsatisfactory(U) basis. The lectures and seminars are good options for students in their sophomore and junior years after general education programs have been completed. Please note that students may take only one Honors Lecture (HON 200) for Honors Activity credit, and may take up to four Honors Seminars in total for Honors Activity credit. Additionally, students may take only one seminar per semester.
Honors Supplement to a Regular Course
The Honors Supplement is an Honors Activity undertaken in a non-honors course with the approval of both the course instructor and the students’ Faculty Fellow.The Fellow is the judge of whether the project satisfied the guidelines; Honors College staff will be happy to advise. Supplements should meet the following guidelines:
- The Supplement provides the student with an opportunity to go more deeply or broadly in the subject of the course, or into an area related to the course, than is specified in the course requirements. Wherever possible, the project grows out of the student’s own interests.
- The Supplement is not one of the standard requirements for a course, nor is it simply an “extra” paper, experiment, or problem set.
- Although it does not necessarily result in a greater number of pages, experiments, or problems than is expected of non-honors students, the Honors Supplement does provide the honors student with a greater challenge than that presented to other students.
- Kinds of Supplements include, but are not limited to:
- Papers on more challenging topics than those required of other students
- More sophisticated experiments
- More complex problems
- Extra problem sets/experiments in an area touched on but not thoroughly covered in the class
- Leading a class discussion on a topic thoroughly studied by the student
- Learning a more advanced computer language than that required in the course and writing a course-related program
- In a basic foreign language course, translating a short work into English
- In an engineering course, building a model of a course-related device
- Meetings with the instructor to discuss additional readings
The work required of the student for a Supplement cannot be precisely quantified across all disciplines and courses. Honors Supplements must be described by the student in as much detail as possible on both Agreement and Completion Forms. The college will not accept forms without such descriptions. Sample of an Honors Supplement: “As an Honors Supplement to Political Science 216, I will do additional research on the subject of bringing about political awareness and change through the internal manipulation of radio. Essentially, I will examine the strategies that are used at a radio station dedicated to political change. I will base my research on personal experience, staff interviews, and additional readings. I will write a paper of a minimum of 10 to 15 pages.”
As students enter more advanced coursework in their major, they may consider independent study in an area not covered in standard courses under the supervision of a faculty member. In planning such projects, students should consult the departmental policies and procedures to which they are subject, as well as obtaining their Faculty Fellows’ approvals. Students may also choose to engage in supervised work in faculty research laboratories or on other research projects, again with their Fellows’ approvals. Sometimes these projects provide course credit, in which case students enroll in a course number designated for such work. With the approval of their Fellows, some students may do independent work without course credit that still fulfills the Honors Activity requirement. Samples of Independent Research:
“I am studying pinewood nematode sampling methods at the Morton Arboretum and determining the distribution within the tree.” (Fellow’s comment: “XXX discussed the project with me at the beginning of the term and added some of the principles of ecology to her study. She is senior author of a poster session to be presented this June at the national Phytopathology meetings. She has most certainly done work of honors caliber.”)
“I have a full load of required courses in Bioengineering this term. Having completed BIOE 354 last term, I became aware of electrical safety issues in hospitals. I plan on researching the numerous electrical codes for hospital safety, and then examining the actual application, or misapplication, of the various regulations in a hospital setting, where I volunteer in the engineering department. I plan on creating a file on electrical safety for future reference when employed.”
“This independent study project will involve research concerning the phenomenon of ritual fire-walking (particularly in southern India) and participants’ immunity to injury. In addition to information from various sources, I will have the opportunity to study the personal field research of my instructor. After research and contemplation, I will present my findings and attempt to provide a plausible explanation(s) for the apparent immunity to the fire.”
Honors College students participating in faculty research may request to be enrolled as Undergraduate Research Assistants (URA). Students may participate in the URA program with any UIC faculty. Complete information on the URA program is available here Undergraduate Research Assistants are expected to put in at least six hours a week on a project that is part of, or relevant to, the faculty member’s research. The faculty member will explain how the work done by the student fits into the larger project, and will assure that the activity, whatever it is, has educational benefit for the student.
Advanced Coursework Outside the Major
Students may take advanced courses (400 level or above) that are not part of their academic program requirements for Honors Activity credit. Students should be sure to verify that they have all required course prerequisites for any advanced courses in which they wish to enroll.
Providing volunteer service to the campus or community is a rewarding activity that can substantially enrich a student’s life. Service activities provide an outstanding way for a student to explore his or her major or area of interest. Service activities do not need to be tied to the student’s major, but can provide a means to explore new areas and issues. Activities can be performed either on-campus or off-campus. Honors College policy is that students are limited receiving HON 222 credit for two service activities across all years in the Honors College, and those two activities must be from two different service categories, as outlined below. Of course, we encourage students to continue participating in these activities as their time permits. Under extraordinary circumstances, students may petition for an exception to this policy. For example, in rare cases, approval may be given for a third semester of service to count as an Honors Activity if that service activity also includes a substantial new academic component, such as a faculty-supervised program evaluation of a service organization that the student has worked for previously. All service experiences need to be approved by the Faculty Fellow, so students are encouraged to plan ahead to ensure that a service activity will be deemed appropriate. Note that students must have someone in an official capacity sign off as activity supervisor; if the service performed is related to membership in a student organization, the organization’s faculty advisor must sign off on Agreement and Completion Forms. Students cannot serve as approvers of Honors Activity credit for other students. In all cases, students must spend at least three hours per week, or 45 hours per semester, involved in the activity for it to be deemed worthy of Honors Activity credit. Note that due to the nature of some activities, although the bulk of the hours will be spent in the semester the student is registered, some of the hours may spill over into a subsequent semester. In that case, the student will get credit for one semester of activity credit as long as the hours are eventually completed, but the student still must complete another activity in the subsequent semester.
Service Activity Categories
Category A: Tutoring/Teaching/Mentoring
Tutoring and other forms of teaching and mentoring activities have long been recognized by the Honors College as worthy Honors Activities. Tutoring benefits both the students receiving tutoring and the tutors, whose subject knowledge is received by tutoring. It also builds community by creating more academic opportunities for the students to interact outside the classroom. Serving as an undergraduate teaching assistant is also an appropriate Honors Activity, especially for students who intend to pursue careers in teaching.
- Helping students through the Homework Hotline
- Honors College tutoring program
- Tutoring at the Port Athletic Center
- Tutoring at the Writing Center
- Tutoring at the Math Learning Center
- Tutoring at the Science Learning Center
- New Life Volunteering Society CPS tutoring program
- Honors College/CPS Mentoring program
- Mentoring at a local high school
- Serving as a teaching assistant for a First-Year Experience course, such as HON 101, BA 100, or ENGR 100
Category B: Civic Engagement and Service-Learning
Given our location in the city, there are a plethora of volunteer and service opportunities for Honors College students. The organizations through which Honors College students perform outstanding international, national, and local community service include campus groups, local chapters of national organizations, neighborhood organizations, and special programs and projects. These service experiences often enhance the development of good citizenship and leadership qualities that serve students well in their future careers, and so may be approved as Honors Activities.
- Attending a week-long trip with Alternative Spring Break (ASB)
- Teaching a health education at Chicago-Area high schools through Peer Health Exchange
- Teaching science concepts to underprivileged children at area homeless shelters through Project ESTEEM
- Working with children and teens living in third-world countries to document their lives with Project FOCUS
- Translating documents for non-English speakers at a community center in Chinatown
Category C: Volunteering
Students planning to apply to medical, dental, pharmacy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, nutrition and dietetics, veterinary and other health related professional programs are encouraged (and sometimes required) to engage in volunteer activities that educate them about the profession they hope to enter. Students interested in other careers such as law, criminal justice, psychology, anthropology, etc., may also volunteer in activities relevant to their future careers, including law offices, schools and other educational settings, museums, free tax-preparation services, etc. The challenge of volunteering is making it an academically stimulating activity. Students must describe their planned contribution in the organization when they propose this activity and document 45 hours of participation, which they will file with their completion forms. Daily or weekly written reflection on the volunteer experience may provide enough evidence of the academic components of the activity.
- Telephone counselor at the UIC In-Touch Hotline (contact the UIC Counseling Center)
- Shadowing a health care professional in a hospital or clinic
- Volunteering as a healthcare aide in a nursing home
- Shadowing a therapist in a physical or occupational therapy clinic or rehab center
- Volunteering as an animal care technician in a veterinary clinic.
- Volunteering as an educator or docent in a museum or zoo
- Volunteering to prepare tax returns for a tax preparation service
- Volunteering as a rape crisis counselor with Rape Victim Advocates
- Volunteering as a conflict mediator at the Center for Conflict Resolution
Category D: Student Organization Leadership
Honors College students serve in leadership roles for many UIC student organizations. Through such engagement, students employ leadership skills to benefit the UIC community at large, and so these experiences may be approved as Honors Activities. Leadership roles can be formally recognized, such as board membership, or informal, such as an event volunteer. Note that membership alone in a student organization is not enough to be considered an Honors Activity. Students must describe their planned contribution in the organization when they propose this activity and document 45 hours of participation, which they will file with their completion forms.
- Planning the Honors College Ball with the Honors College Advisory Board (HCAB)
- Mentoring incoming students as a member of the Honors College Ambassadors
- Organizing the Annual Research Forum through the Undergraduate Research Steering Committee
- Planning events sponsored by UIC’s cultural centers for Unifying Diversity
- Serving as the UIC Student Trustee
- Planning Relay for Life for Colleges Against Cancer
- Serving on the Executive Board of Psi Chi or other honors societies
Category E: Student Publications
Honors College students currently publish one newsletter (Ampersand) and three journals: Red Shoes Review, a literary journal featuring prose, poetry, and art; the Journal for Pre-Health Affiliated Students (JPHAS) that addresses issues in health care; and UIC OneWorld, covering global issues of international concern. Students must spend 45 hours on any of the editorial boards of any one of the journals for this service activity to count for one semester of Honors Activity credit.