Honors Academic Experiences

The College of Letters and Science Honors Program provides Honors Students special opportunities to engage academically through a variety of “Honors Academic Experiences”:

Honors Courses

Honors Seminars (INT 84s and 184s)

Discovery at UCSB Seminars

Honors Contracts

“Automatic” Honors Courses (including 98s, 99s, 198s, & 199s)

UCEAP, UCDC, UC Sacramento, or UCNRS

Please note, for a course or a seminar to count as an Honors Experience, a student must enroll in the course and its Honors section concurrently (if it has one) for a letter grade and earn at least a B in both the lecture and the section unless the only option is to enroll Passed/Not Passed.

Honors Courses


Fall 2018 Honors Course/Section list (click here)

Many of the Departments in the College of Letters and Science offer Honors alternatives for their courses.   Honors courses typically follow one of two models: 

Lecture Courses with Honors Sections

Many UCSB courses require students to attend a lecture that meets two-or-more times a week and also, once a week, a discussion “section,” led by a graduate student instructor, with whom they will review and discuss topics in the week’s lecture.  For courses with Honors sections, Honors students meet with the faculty member teaching the course for the section.  For some courses, students are expected to attend both a regular section and the Honors section for the course, and in others, they attend the Honors section instead of the regular section.  Typically but not always, students earn an additional unit when they enroll in an Honors section. 

Enrollment Information:  Students usually need to secure an approval code from an instructor to enroll in the Honors section.  Students interested in enrolling in a course with an Honors section should enroll in a regular section via GOLD during their registration “Pass Times” and will be given information about enrolling in the Honors sections by the instructor during the first week of classes.  See this quarter’s list of Honors Courses for specific details. Remember, to count as Honors Experiences a course and its Honors section must be taken concurrently and for a letter grade (not Pass/Not Passed) if optional grading is available for the course.

Special Honors Versions of Courses

A few departments offer Honors versions of courses.  An Honors version has significantly smaller enrollment than the standard version of the course which allows the students and professor to go more deeply into the course material and/or approach the subject differently.

Enrollment Information:  Typically, students are invited to apply to enroll in Honors versions of regular courses.  See this quarter's list of Honors Sections/Courses for specific details.  Remember, to count as Honors Experiences, courses must be taken for letter grades (not Pass/Not Passed) if optional grading is available for the course.

Honors Seminars

Spring 2018 Honors Seminars list (click here - please continue to check for additional course offerings)

Summer 2018 Honors Seminars list

Fall 2018 Honors Seminars list (please continue to check for additional course offerings)

Honors Seminars (INT 84's and INT 184's) are two-unit courses of no more than twenty students designed by faculty to introduce students to the faculty member's research and scholarly interests. All Honors Seminars meet for two hours a week

Discovery @ UCSB for First-Year Students

Discovery @ UCSB is an opportunity to learn in depth how knowledge is made at UCSB.  In Discovery @ UCSB courses, you'll get to know faculty, learn more about how people in different disciplines think and explore subjects and questions that are new to you in ways you never expected.  Please note that Discovery @ UCSB Seminars for First Year Students were formerly titled "Freshman Seminars."  You will find them in GOLD as INT 89s and INT 94s.  Fall 2017 is a transition quarter, and they are still identified as Freshman Seminars in GOLD.  Only Discovery @ UCSB seminars numbered 89 and 94 count as Honors Experiences.

Honors Contracts

Honors Contract Proposal Form

Honors Contracts are the primary method of earning honors credit in upper-division courses. A contract is an individual arrangement that a student develops with a professor to enhance your experience in a course. The Honors Contract is intended to deepen and broaden the student's experience in the  course rather than simply increase the workload. An important aspect of an Honors Contract is the opportunity for a student to meet regularly with the  professor. (See the link below in #2 for the online Honors Contract Proposal Form.)

At the end of the quarter, the Honors Program staff will contact your professor to confirm that you successfully completed the terms of the contract. If so, and as long as you earn a letter grade of B or higher in the course, “Course Honors” will be added to your transcript after grades are recorded; however, completing an Honors Contract does not earn any extra units.

Enrollment Information:  Student must complete the Honors Contract Proposal Form by the end of the second week of instruction each quartter. Contracts are only accepted for upper-division, academic courses in the College of Letters and Science. Contracts are not accepted for Exercise and Sports Studies, Education, and Engineering courses. 

Honors Contracts must be supervised by a course's instructor of record.   Instructors who are members of the Academic Senate (this includes instructors with the title of Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Senior Lecturer with Security of Employment, Lecturer with Security of Employment, or Lecturer with Potential Security of Employment) may supervise an Honors Contract. Instructors with the following titles are not Academic Senate members, Visiting Professor, or Continuing Lecturer, but instructors with these titles may supervise a contract if  the dean determines that  the contract proposal meets the Honors Program's academic standards. Most instructor titles may be found in the UCSB Catalog on their department's Faculty page. Teaching Assistants and Teaching Associates may never supervise Honors Contracts. 

If you need to cancel your Honors Contract at any time during the quarter, you must fill out the Honors Contract Cancellation form (PDF) and submit it to the College Advising Office, 1117 Cheadle Hall.

The course must be taken for a letter grade and the student must earn at least a B for it to count as an Honors Experience.

If you have questions about how to formulate an Honors Contract or about appropriate content of Honors Contracts, please consult Questions & Answers about Honors Contracts - A Guide for Students or see the Contact Us page for advising options.

* Please note these restrictions regarding the contract:

  1. You should approach your professor either before the quarter begins or during the first few days of instruction to discuss the possibility of establishing an Honors Contract. Contracts are only accepted for upper-division Letters & Science courses. Do not submit a contract proposal for any course that is already an honors section or already on the list of Courses Automatically Granted Honors Credit.

  2. If the instructor agrees to the contract, you must create an Honors curriculum for the course and submit it online using the Honors Contract Proposal Form (available here only during the online submission period). The online form must be submitted by the end of the second week of the quarter, at which time we will notify you if your proposal is accepted or if it's denied due to not meeting contract regulations.

  3. At the end of the quarter, we will email your professor to verify that you have completed the contract. Provided the course grade is satisfactory, “Honors” will be designated on your transcript when your professor returns the confirmation. Please allow a few weeks for “Honors” to appear on the transcript

Automatic Honors Courses (Including Independent Study/Research)

List of Automatic Honors Courses (click here)

In many cases, the Honors Program will recognize as Honors Experiences, independent research or independent study work for which students receive academic credit as well as for most courses a student would do while earning “Distinction” in a major.  Please see the list of Automatic Honors Courses (just above) for complete details.

Enrollment Information:  see your major advisor for enrollment details. Students must choose the letter graded option (instead of Passed/Not Passed) if available and earn at least a B for an “Automatic” course to count as an Honors Experience.

UC Education Abroad (UCEAP), UC Washington DC (UCDC), UC Center in Sacramento (UCCS), and UC Natural Reserve System (UCNRS) Programs

A UCEAP term will count as a single, upper-division Honors Experience as long as the student was registered for at least 12 graded units, earned no grade lower than a B, and earned at least a 3.0 GPA.  (Note:  This must be through University of California EAP to count as an Honors Experience.) Honors students who plan to study abroad for a full academic year should meet with an Honors advisor to determine how many Honors Experiences they will be likely to earn while abroad.

A UCDC or a UCCS term will count as a single, upper-division Honors Experience as long as the student earned at least a B in the required research seminar.  

A term of UC Natural Reserve System (NRS) Field Studies will count as a single Honors Experience. The California Ecology and Conservation (CEC) Program is a part of the Natural Reserve System Field Studies Program, which enables students from across the University of California to gain a deeper understanding of the natural world while visiting NRS reserves. The CEC is an intensive program of study with a workload equivalent to four, on-campus, courses. It is offered every Spring, Summer and Fall. See their website for application deadlines. Please notify Honors Program staff if you are enrolled in UCNRS.

* Note:  Individual courses taken during UCEAP, UCDC, UCCS and UCNRS terms cannot count as Honors Experiences.

Enrollment Information:  See the UCEAP, UCDC, UCCS and UCNRS websites for details.

Transcript Information

For Honors Courses and Contracts completed with a letter grade of B or higher, the phrase “Course Honors” will appear on your transcript. This is not the case, however, for any course that appears on the list of Courses Automatically Granted Honors Credit, for Honors Seminars, for Freshman Seminars, or for UCEAP (etc.). Though these courses or programs will apply toward the completion of the Honors Program, "course honors" will not appear on your transcript.

If you have a question regarding a course honors designation on your transcript, please contact the program at honorsmail@ltsc.ucsb.edu.

Honors Courses and Seminars Archive