Student Handbook

The University of New Mexico Honors College strives to provide an enriching environment for students who are among the most academically motivated and talented at the University, an environment that enhances their college experiences through a curriculum that is intellectually challenging and engaging. The Honors College provides opportunities for intensive interdisciplinary and cross-cultural liberal education to undergraduates, and endeavors to build a community of scholars.

The following topics will help guide students through various policies, procedures, and helpful information to make their time in the College rewarding and enriching.

Academic Honesty Policy Advisement Benefits Conferences
Disability Policy Facilities Getting involved Grading
Individual Study International Distinction Probation Registration
Transfer Credit

Academic Honesty Policy

Each student is expected to maintain the highest standards of honesty and integrity in all academic and professional matters. Students must do their own work and should not, under any circumstances, let others use their work or ask others to do their own work for them. If students copy from others or from sources without acknowledging them, they are guilty of plagiarism. If students have someone else write assignments or allow another person to copy work, they are guilty of dishonest scholarship. In addition to risking being expelled from UNM, if students are found guilty of plagiarism or dishonest scholarship, they will earn a 0 for the assignment and an NC for the course. A report of this event will be sent to the Office of the Dean of Students, and could result in the student being dropped from the Honors College. Honors students must comply with the UNM Code of Conduct that is found in the UNM Pathfinder.

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Advisement In Honors

The Honors College employs a skillful and knowledgeable team of Student Peer Advisors who have been specially trained to assist students with their Honors College schedule, answer questions about College requirements, and serve as a referral system to other campus resources. Advisement from peers creates a stream of insight, guidance, and open communication. Peer Advisors are upper classmen who have received not only special training on Honors policies, but also can provide a unique "insider" perspective about the University in general.

  • Incoming Freshmen or first-time Honors Students
    • These students are required to meet with a Peer Advisor during their first semester. After that, they must go back for advisement in the spring semester, and every spring thereafter. For example, a new student starting the Fall 2011 semester would get advised during that Fall 2011 semester, and then return for advisement in spring 2012, spring 2013, and so on. A student admitted in Spring 2011 would have been advised that spring and again in Spring 2012.
  • Continuing Honors Students
    • Continuing students in the College are required to meet with a peer advisor annually in spring semesters.
  • Probationary Students
    • Students who have been placed on Honors Probation must see a Peer Advisor every semester until they are no longer on Probation.

Honors advisement is directly tied to the privilege to register early, which is known as Priority Registration. Students who do not meet these peer advising commitments will not have Priority Registration until the situation is rectified.

Students are also encouraged to meet with a peer advisor as desired for additional help. Juniors should plan to meet with a peer advisor in order to clarify graduation requirements.

Honors College peer advising is for Honors College students only, only addresses issues specific to the UNM Honors College and should not be confused with UNM’s professional academic advising. Students should see their academic advisor as needed or required by their college. Honors College peer advisors can neither place holds on student accounts nor lift them.

Students planning to minor in the Honors College or to earn the Honors Transcripted Designation must check their LoboTrax record to be certain this option has been noted on their record. If not, students should contact their specific college advisor to correct this problem.

  • Students can always visit the Peer Advisors' office in SHC 17C for walk-in sessions.
  • Also visit the Peer Advisor Calendar page to view their office hours.
  • Peer advisors can be reached by phone at 505-277-7415.
  • They can be reached by email:

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Benefits of being in the Honors College

There really are hundreds of benefits for students in the Honors College. We've narrowed that list down to the big ones here:

  • Priority registration for Honors students in good standing
  • Small, interdisciplinary courses (limited to 17 students)
  • Personal interaction with outstanding UNM faculty
  • Interaction with students from all UNM schools and colleges
  • A unique grading system that encourages academic risk-taking
  • Opportunities for upper-division independent research
  • Recognition for students in international and language study with the International Designation
  • Personal counseling and academic advisement
  • Social and cultural events
  • Special library privileges - Honors College students have similar library privileges as graduate students. Honors students can check out books for the entire semester and have access to interlibrary loan.
  • Lecture series
  • Field-based courses
  • Scholarship and graduate school fellowship information and assistance
  • Opportunity to participate in regional and national honors conferences
  • All honors courses meet graduation requirements, elective requirements, and sometimes count toward majors and minors
  • Special emphasis on student research through primary texts to encourage original thinking
  • Day and evening classes
  • Produces award-winning students in national competitions
  • No traditional exams
  • Access to Honors stipends
  • Computer area with internet access
  • Study abroad through the Honors College Conexiones College and through the NCHC Honors Semester

Often the greatest benefit we provide for Honors students is the chance to enrich their academic pursuits within a small community of life-long learners.

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In recent years, the Honors College has helped to subsidize attendance of Honors College students whose papers are accepted for presentation at WRHC, NCHC, and National Intercollegiate Literature and Social Sciences conferences.Students must receive approval from the Associate Dean of the College prior to submitting a proposal for a conference. Information and deadlines for the conferences and paper proposals will be posted on the Honors College bulletin boards:

  • Western Regional Honors Council
    Western Regional Honors Council (WRHC) is an association of institutions, faculty, staff, and students in the Western region of the United States. WRHC sponsors an annual writing contest with $250 prizes for best poetry, short fiction, essay, and art. Students are encouraged to present papers at WRHC meetings, held at a different location each year. For deadlines and further information, contact the Honors College office.
  • National Collegiate Honors Council
    The National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) is a professional organization composed of faculty, administrators, and students dedicated to the encouragement of undergraduate honors learning. The nationwide membership of NCHC include both public and private colleges and universities. NCHC national conferences are held annually each fall. Student members are encouraged to attend and to develop papers for presentation at the student sessions. Annual dues for students are $12.50. For membership and conference information, go to the NCHC website.

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Disability Policy

In keeping with the Rehabilitation Act of 1993 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the University is committed to providing equal access to educational opportunities for qualified students with disabilities. The University shall provide reasonable academic adjustments to qualifies students with disabilities as necessary to ensure equality of access to the courses, College, services, and facilities of the University.

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The Dudley Wynn Honors Center is located on the ground floor of the Student Health Center. The Center was designed by George Pearl, an eminent architect. It includes a large forum, a library/computer pod, six classrooms, main office, and nineteen faculty offices. In a warm and friendly atmosphere, the Honors Center is a space where students attend classes, meet to study together, continue course discussions or just relax between classes.


The Scholars' Wing, located in the Hokona/Zia Residence Hall, is a dynamic community of scholars with shared interests and values. The Honors College is proud to be participating in this innovative residence hall College that nurtures academic values. Regents' Scholars, Presidential Scholars, and Honors College students can apply to participate in the College through the Housing Reservations Office at 277-2606, and they are selected on the basis of academic performance.

Michael Thomas, Honors College Continuing Faculty, serves as faculty advisor and has an office in the wing (358 Hokona/Zia). He coordinates various academic enrichment activities. The wing has a computer/study room with several Mac & PC computers. A "Coffee and Conversation" College allows students to have informal contact with various speakers and valuable intellectual or professional resources. A weekly newsletter, Noticias, provides timely information on activities, lectures and scholarships.

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Getting Involved

Honors College students are encouraged to broaden their education through cultural and social events both on and off campus. The Honors College offers a wide range of lectures and informal conversations with Honors College faculty and distinguished guests. There are also political and social organizations, clubs, university events and community-service projects available. All of these activities add dimension to your educational experience, as well as to your personal life. These activities also demonstrate the degree to which learning occurs continually and in a multitude of contexts.

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Grading in Honors

The Honors College uses a unique grading system to encourage students to pursue courses outside of their normal interestes or proficiencies. Our grading system eliminates the worry of taking an academic "risk" usually associated with trying something new or unfamiliar.

  • Grades in Honors

    • "A" signifies outstanding work and will compute into the student's academic GPA.
    • "CR" indicates satisfactory work and is not computed into the GPA, but is counted toward graduation. This allows students to take rigorous courses or to study subject areas outside their usual interest without jeopardizing their GPA.
    • "NC" indicates unacceptable work and is not computed into the GPA or counted toward graduation. (The Honors College grading system should not be confused with UNM's pass/fail or CR/NC grading options.)

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Individual Study

Honors College students may enroll in Individual Study—1-3 credit hours to a maximum of 6. When registering students MUST include the number of hours they are taking or the system will auto enroll a student for 1 CH. Individual Study may be used to prepare for a special project including a thesis or to work independently on an area of interest. Students may also enroll in an Individual Study course to enhance areas in their study plan. They may also register for IS when participating in an international program in order to maintain or complete Honors College requirements in a timely manner. Students may develop an independent study proposal with an interested Honors College faculty member who will serve as the instructor/advisor of the independent study. A formal proposal must then be approved by the faculty member and the Honors Associate Dean before registering. A maximum of three hours of independent study work is permitted. A grade of incomplete is not allowed

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International Distinction

In an effort to promote global awareness through international academic programs, the UNM Honors College grants their students recognition for international education. This international distinction will appear on the student’s Honors graduation certificate as, With Distinction in International Studies, and the student will receive a special cord. In order to qualify for this distinction students must complete a minimum of 18 credit hours with a grade of B or better; or, in the case of Honors courses, A or CR:

  1. Complete an international academic experience: Intersession, Summer or Semester College and earn a minimum of 6 credit hours;
  2. Complete one of the following requirements:
    • A minimum of twelve credit hours in a foreign language or provide verification of language proficiency provided by an appropriate UNM department; and/or
    • A minimum of twelve credit hours on international topics.

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A student must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.2 on UNM's 4.0 scale to remain in the Honors College. Students who do not maintain a 3.2 will be asked to confer with a Honors College advisor for academic counseling and will have a one-semester grace period called Honors Probation. A student may continue, during this semester, to enroll in a Honors College course and enjoy Honors College privileges while working to raise his/her GPA. Honors Probation can be extended, if the circumstances are warranted. If a student does not raise his/her GPA after a semester of probation, he/she may not take additional Honors College courses. Students are encouraged to reapply when their cumulative GPA returns to 3.2.

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Priority Registration

Priority Registration has long been one of the unique benefits granted to Honors students. The UNM Registrars' Office determines the dates when all students attending the university can sign up for classes. However, with Priority Registration, Honors students, regardless of accumulated credit hours can register on the same day as graduate students. Essentially, Honors students can get a "first-pick" of courses and thereby coordinate their busy school, work, and family schedules. To receive this privilege, students must follow Honors College advisement requirements. Students who have been advised as required, must complete an override card in order to be able to register for an honors course. Students who were not advised must also complete an override card for an Honors course, which will be processed one week after the Priority Registration date.

Honors College courses are limited to 16-17 students and waiting lists are not maintained. This means that obtaining an open seat in an Honors course is on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • Non-honors students with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.2 may enroll in open Honors College courses approximately one month after the Priority Registration date. With permission from the Associate Dean, non-degree students may enroll for a maximum of 3 credit hours and are expected to fully participate and complete all course requirements, with the understanding that they intend to apply for admission to one of the degree granting colleges.

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Transfer Credit

Students who transfer to UNM may receive up to 9 credits for honors courses taken at other institutions. For the Transcripted Designation, students may receive up to 3 credit hours of honors coursework from other institutions. Students must request credits for non-honors courses taken at other institutions and must include descriptions/syllabi of the courses for which you are requesting credit.

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