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Frequently Asked Questions

No.  Because the Honors College offers courses which can be used to satisfy six of UNM’s seven core requirement areas, the Honors College curriculum will fit easily into a four-year schedule.  Additionally, because a minor in Honors requires only 24 credit hours (eight courses during a span of four years) and a designation requires only 15 credit hours (five courses during a four-year undergraduate career), most students have no difficulty completing a course of study in Honors as part of their four-year plan.

No.  Most students choose either to minor in Honors (requiring 24 credit hours/8 classes taken in the Honors College) or to pursue a designation in Honors (requiring 15 credit hours/5 classes taken in the Honors College).  In each case, this is part of the 120 credit hours total required at UNM for an undergraduate degree.

Incidentally, those students who do choose to major in Honors will complete 36 credit hours (typically 12 courses) in the college as part of their 120 credit hours at UNM.

No.  All students at UNM, regardless of their majors, must pursue a course of study which takes them through a variety of departments during their undergraduate careers.  Even during a single semester, you will likely take courses in three or four departments. 

  • Honors College courses are small, seminar-style classes.  Course enrollments are capped at 18 students, and the average class size is approximately 15 students.  This smaller class size allows students to receive more individualized instruction and to develop stronger relationships, both with their faculty members and with their fellow Honors students.

  • While most classes at UNM are discipline-specific (for example, a physics class will focus on physics, a philosophy class will focus on philosophy), each Honors College course will focus on a range of academic disciplines.  Thus, in Honors you might find a class on the legend of King Arthur which deals not only with literature and history, but also with philosophy and sociology.  Research has shown that this kind of interdisciplinary approach enhances students’ ability to think both critically and innovatively.

  • Honors course are based around seminar discussion of readings and ideas, rather than lectures; many classes also offer students a hands-on learning process through various projects.  There are no exams in Honors classes; instead, students are expected to tackle challenging readings, write and revise substantive papers and research essays, and engage meaningfully in class discussion and in all projects. 

No, they are different experiences.  Each department at UNM offers a departmental honors option; most often, this option is restricted to juniors and seniors who take one to three classes which focus only upon the academic discipline the department addresses.  (For example, an honors class in the chemistry department will focus solely or primarily on chemistry.)  These courses in departmental honors typically also involve the writing of a thesis.

This is different from the Honors College, which offers a wide variety of courses at all levels (freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior). All Honors College courses are interdisciplinary, meaning that they address topics and problems from a range of perspectives; for example, in a single Honors College course, you might explore the problem of sustainability from the perspectives of biology, sociology, economics, history, philosophy, and fine art.  This interdisciplinary approach helps to foster critical thinking and innovative problem solving in ways that a more narrow focus cannot.

No; Honors courses are designed to serve all high-achieving students, regardless of their majors or minors. Currently many of our students are majors in one of the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. Such demographics are a result of the job market; during another year, more of our students might be drawn from other disciplines, such as psychology, education, literature, or business.

Most students in the college will chose a minor or designation in Honors while pursuing a major in another department. Students from across the curriculum consistently report that their studies in Honors enhance their work in their majors.

The Honors College focuses on interdisciplinary studies, meaning that we bring together in a single class the concerns and approaches of a variety of disciplines. As a result, the college is particularly suited to serve a wide range of students. We encourage students to take classes in Honors that are outside their comfort zones, but we also foster the kind of investigation and inquiry that assists students in making connections between their chosen specializations and other fields. This generates two specific benefits for students: they are exposed to ideas and methods they might not otherwise come in contact with, and their sense of the value and relevance of their chosen specializations is expanded.

Upon completion of an Honors College class, you will receive either an A, a Credit, or a No Credit for your work. While a course grade of A will be counted toward your G.P.A., neither a Credit nor a No Credit will be calculated as part of that number.

Why does the Honors College use such a system? We want to encourage students to broaden their understanding of the world; for example, we want to make it possible for someone who is more comfortable with math or science to take a course which highlights fine arts and philosophy without worrying about the impact that class might have on his/her G.P.A. The A-Credit-No Credit system is designed to encourage such thoughtful risk-taking so that students may venture outside their comfort zones and learn from disciplines to which they might otherwise have little exposure.

  • UNM’s Honors College offers students a unique educational experience.  Classes are small (with a cap of 18 and an average class size of about 15 students) and focus on seminar discussion.  In this environment, students receive greater individual attention than they do in other courses; faculty members are invested in each student and work to help students refine skills in critical thinking, writing, and oral communication, as well as in various hands-on projects. 

  • Additionally, all Honors College courses are interdisciplinary, meaning that they address topics and problems from a range of perspectives; for example, in a single Honors College course, you might explore the problem of poverty from the perspectives of sociology, economics, history, philosophy, and fine art.  This interdisciplinary approach helps to promote critical thinking and innovative problem solving in ways that a more narrow focus cannot. 

  • Finally, UNM’s Honors College offers students the benefit of a national reputation.  The Honors College was included among the top twenty-five honors programs in the country.  Students who participate in the Honors College often find that they may have greater access to mentorship for major fellowships and to graduate-level study.  

Incoming Freshmen will need either a composite ACT score of 28 or higher or a composite SAT score of 1320 or higher.  (Students who took the SAT prior to January 2016 should have a composite score of 1900 or higher.)  All incoming freshmen should have a high school G.P.A. of 3.5 or higher. 

Transfer students and those who have already been at UNM for a semester should have a college G.P.A. of 3.2 or higher; standardized test scores are not considered for these students.  (Students who were taking college courses while still in high school must apply as incoming freshmen.) 

The application form and other information may be found here: http://honors.unm.edu/future-students/index.html

Yes.  Students who do not meet the G.P.A. or ACT/SAT minimum requirements will be considered for provisional admission by the Honors department chair on a case-by-case basis. Students admitted provisionally must achieve a Cumulative G.P.A. of at least 3.2 their first semester to remain active in the Honors College.  Students who do meet this requirement will be dismissed from the Honors College. 

You certainly may, and we encourage all interested students to do so.  Once you have a UNM Cumulative G.P.A of 3.2 or higher, you may reapply.  The application form and other information may be found here: http://honors.unm.edu/future-students/index.html