The College of Letters & Science Honors Program provides a community for many of the university’s most talented and engaged undergraduates. Students of all backgrounds and academic interests challenge and learn from each other while working closely with faculty members and completing Honors coursework. The Honors Program is home to around 1,500 motivated, curious students, all pursuing one of three degree tracks: Honors in the Liberal Arts, Honors in the Major, or Comprehensive Honors — the highest undergraduate degree awarded by the college. In addition to an enhanced curriculum that offers small, faculty-led courses, the program also offers academic advising services; grants, scholarships, and awards; and many professional development and co-curricular opportunities. Events, term-specific deadlines, course descriptions for the upcoming semester, and much more can be found on the L&S Honors Program website. We welcome inquiries via email at The L&S Honors Program is located in the historic Washburn Observatory at 1401 Observatory Drive.

How to Get in

To become a candidate for the Honors in the Liberal Arts degree, a student must apply directly to the L&S Honors Program. Students follow different application procedures based on whether they are an incoming (non-transfer) student newly admitted to the College of Letters and Science, a transfer student, or a continuing L&S student. 

All students admitted to the university and to the College of Letters & Science are invited to apply to be considered for admission to the Honors Program to pursue the Honors in the Liberal Arts degree. Interested incoming students can apply via an online application. L&S admitted students receive an invitation message by email that contains application instructions, and instructions are also on the Honors Program website.  Admission to the program is competitive, and space is limited.

Continuing L&S undergraduates and transfer students with a cumulative grade point average of 3.300 or above who are currently enrolled at UW–Madison or who are transferring to UW–Madison from another college or university may apply. Application instructions and decision timelines are available on the Honors Program website. While continuing or transfer students having 60 or more credits at the time of application to the Honors Program are eligible to pursue the Honors in the Liberal Arts (HLA) degree track, they are encouraged to consider Honors in the Major (HM) as an option (see below), since they may find it difficult to prioritize and complete the HLA degree requirements. Meeting with an Honors advisor can help interested students understand Honors requirements and possible paths forward.


Honors in the Liberal Arts requires students earn Honors credits in a breadth of disciplines and is meant to enrich and enhance a student's academic experience outside of the major. Coursework toward Honors in the Liberal Arts should be started as soon as possible and spread throughout a student's undergraduate degree.  Students who complete this curriculum build connections with faculty and peers and develop strong skills in communication, critical thinking and complex problem solving, which will serve them well regardless of career path. The specific requirements for the HLA degree are:

  • completion of the L&S general degree requirements
  • a University GPA of 3.300 or higher at the time of graduation
  • completion of at least 24 credits in Honors courses with the Liberal Arts & Science (LAS) designation and with grades of B or better, of which:
    • at least 15 credits must be in courses with the Honors Only or Accelerated Honors designation
      • 6 of the credits must be courses designated as Humanities (may include Literature designation)
      • 6 of the credits must be courses designated as Social Science
      • 6 of the credits must be courses designated as Biological, Physical, or Natural Science

Honors may be earned in any L&S undergraduate degree (Bachelor of Arts; Bachelor of Science; Bachelor of Science–Applied Mathematics, Engineering, and Physics; Bachelor of Arts–Journalism or Bachelor of Science–Journalism; Bachelor of Landscape Architecture; Bachelor of Music; and Bachelor of Social Work). For students who complete the requirements, Honors will appear on diplomas and transcripts (for example, BA with Honors in the Liberal Arts or BS with Honors in the Major).

Advising and Careers

The L&S Honors Program has a team of dedicated advisors who offer individualized support and guidance to Honors students through their graduation. Advisors help individual students as they navigate a large, complex university, explore diverse education and co-curricular experiences, and develop and purse long term goals. Advising occurs through a variety of formats including small group workshops, individual appointments, drop-in hours and email. Additional information is available on the Honors Program website.

The L&S Honors Program encourages our students to begin working on their career exploration and preparation soon after arriving on campus. We partner with the L&S SuccessWorks office to help students leverage the academic skills learned in your major(s) and liberal arts degree, explore and try out different career paths, participate in internships, prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications, and network with professionals in the field (alumni and employers).


Please visit the Honors Program website to view Honors Team Members, including the Director, Associate Directors, Program Administrator, and Academic Advisors.

We welcome inquiries via email at Current students can connect with Honors advising via Starfish or by emailing