Honors Requirements

A note from L&S Honors Program Advisor David Lawrence:

Updated 8/2/21: One of the frequent questions our staff has been fielding is whether or not there will be some relief regarding the required number of honors experiences and community service hours we expect of our students. If you are declaring candidacy in Summer 2021 and you've already earned five honors experiences, you are set. Provided you maintain the GPA requirement of 3.5 and you complete the volunteer requirement, you will successfully complete the Honors Program. If you are declaring candidacy in Fall 2021 or later, you will need to complete the standard six honors experiences.
Regarding community service--all students: We understand it may be a bit more challenging to find volunteer opportunities during a pandemic, but the reality is there a number of virtual opportunities that are becoming more abundant as time passes--many of which have been promoted on the Honors Program listserv. Do a bit of research (sites like https://www.ffwd.org/volunteer/ and https://www.volunteermatch.org/ can be a great place to start brainstorming), and if you have a question as to whether something would satisfy our requirements, please contact us by email, on our Nectir channel, or by visiting our virtual advising line.

The Honors Program continues to evolve as we periodically reassess student needs and program goals. As such, requirements for joining, staying in, and completing the program change over time. When reading the requirements below, please refer to those for the year that you joined Honors.


Staying in the Program

To remain in Honors, a student must

  • Complete 1-3 Honors Experiences each year, depending on class standing when they entered the program, 
     until the student has completed the required six. If you entered as a freshman, you must complete 1-2/year at minimum. If you entered as a sophomore, you must complete 2/year at minimum. If you entered as a junior transfer student, you must complete 3/year at minimum. If you are ahead of or behind schedule to complete the required experiences, please confer with an Honors advisor or send an email  to honorsmail@ltsc.ucsb.edu to discuss options.   
  • GPA: Students joining Honors during academic year 2020-2021 or earlier must have a 3.5 grade point average after Spring quarter, prior to the annual review of records conducted in the Summer. For students joining Honors beginning in Fall 2021 or later, the GPA required is 3.2 after Spring quarter, prior to the annual review of records conducted in the Summer.

         Each Summer, advisors will review student records and contact any students who did not meet the annual requirements.

Completing the Program

See link below (under Academic Excellence Award/ Academic Engagement Award) for the online Honors Completion Form to submit during your final quarter at UCSB.


For students who joined the Honors Program beginning in Fall 2021 and beyond, regardless of class standing when they joined:

The Honors Program gives two types of recognition to students, acknowledging students who “complete the program” as those who graduate as members in good standing in the program.  Students who exceed the standards for completing the program would also be eligible to receive the Honors “Academic Engagement  Award.”

Honors students are recognized for “Completion of the Honors Program” upon graduation if they have: 

  • Must complete at least 6 Honors Experiences (even if graduating early)
  • Must complete at least 40 hours of community service reflective of Honors values of repairing, sustaining, or improving the fabric of the university or the larger community.
  • Must graduate with at least a 3.2 cumulative UC GPA

Students who Complete the Honors Program would also receive the Honors “Academic Engagement  Award” if they

  • have at least a 3.5 GPA
  • complete a Capstone experience from the list below.

Goal of the Capstone: The focus of the Honors Program is to encourage students to use the Honors Experiences to explore UCSB from a liberal arts perspective, find a major they are passionate about, and, through Honors Sections, Seminars, and Contracts, to build close contacts with faculty. The explicit goal of the program is to mentor students into some kind of transformative capstone academic experience. Upon the completion of the capstone, the student will submit a 500-800 word statement placing the capstone in the context of their overall UCSB Experience.

List of Options for the Capstone:

  • Complete Departmental Honors (aka, Distinction in the Major)
  • Participate in the URCA Colloquium
  • Complete at least full term (not summer only) in UCEAP, UC DC, or UC Sac
  • Design and implement a community service project connected to coursework or research
  • Design an Interdisciplinary Studies or  Individual Major
  • Propose and complete an alternative capstone approved by the Dean



For students who joined the Honors Program as first-years or second-years (not transfers) Summer 2017 through Spring 2021

  • Must complete at least 6 Honors Experiences (even if graduating early)
  • Must complete at least 40 hours of community service more broadly defined
  • Must graduate with at least a 3.5 cumulative UC GPA
  • Are NOT eligible for the Academic Engagement  Award, as this is a new option only for students who joined in Fall 2021 or later.

 The Goal of Honors:  a “Capstone” Experience

Although a capstone as described in the above cohort's information is a goal for Honors students in this cohort, it is not a formal requirement.  Rather, it is the Program’s hope that students will participate in UCSB’s mission to discover knowledge as it serves the state, the nation, and the world.


For students who joined the Honors Program before 2017 and students who joined Honors in 2017 in the fall of their third year (as well as transfers) or in 2018 in the fall of their third year

Please contact us at honorsmail@ltsc.ucsb.edu  to discuss your requirements.


About Honors Awards

For students who joined the Honors Program before or during academic year 2020-2021 

Academic Excellence Award 

The Academic Excellence Award is awarded to Honors Program students who complete the requirements of the program. Recipients' transcripts will state "Completion of Honors Program," and the souvenir program distributed at the Honors Program’s Commencement Reception will list recipients' names under Academic Excellence Award.

For students who joined the Honors Program beginning in Fall 2021 and beyond 

The transcripts of students completing the program will state "Completion of Honors Program."

Academic Engagement Award

In addition to "Completion of Honors Program" on transcripts, recipients of the Academic Engagement  Award will be noted in the souvenir program distributed at the Honors Program’s Commencement Reception. See "Completing the Program" above for details on requirements.


How to Finalize Completion of the Program

For students who joined in any year

In order to finalize completion of the Honors Program, including the Academic Engagement  Award for those eligible,  you must submit an online petition with the Honors Program during the first two weeks of your final quarter at UCSB (you will list any honors courses in progress). Please click here to submit the online “Intent to Complete the Honors Program” form.

Honors staff will review completion forms after the submission deadline, and email students their status within a couple weeks. Keep in mind that, in order to be approved, you must have maintained continued eligibility for the Honors Program during your time at UCSB, and you must complete the program/Award requirements by the time your degree is finalized.