Departmental Honors

Most departments and programs allow qualified majors to work toward graduation with departmental honors. Graduation with departmental honors is awarded in recognition of exceptional performance in the major, completion of a program of independent research or an alternative project, and a strong overall academic record.

In addition to the requirements of individual departments and programs (which must be approved by the College committee on undergraduate studies and advising), the College requires the following for graduation with departmental honors:

  1. Candidates must declare the intention to work for departmental honors with the appropriate departmental honors coordinator(s) no later than the time of enrollment for the final undergraduate semester, but sooner if required by the department(s). Copies of the intent form should be returned to College Undergraduate Academic Services.
  2. At the end of the final undergraduate semester, the candidate must have achieved a grade-point average of at least 3.5 in the major. The major GPA will include work completed at other institutions, as well as at KU. 
  3. Each candidate’s departmental honors work must include independent research or an acceptable alternative project. The results of research are presented in a form appropriate to the requirements of the major department. Equivalents to the independent research component are established by approved departmental honors programs. In courses meeting the independent research requirement, the candidate must earn a grade of B or higher. Successful completion of all departmental honors requirements must be certified to the departmental honors coordinator(s) by a panel composed of at least three members of the College faculty who have read the report of the independent research and heard the oral presentation, where required.


A department or program may petition to award graduation with departmental honors to deserving students who, for good reason, do not meet every College and departmental requirement. Send petitions to College Undergraduate Academic Services.

Late Completion of Honors Requirement

Requirements for graduation with honors may be completed after the date on which certifications are requested from departments, and in some cases, requirements, if not needed for graduation, may be completed after a student has graduated. However, the Incomplete policy does apply and grades would lapse at the time of graduation. When a candidate finishes all requirements, departments must notify College Undergraduate Academic Services in writing.