The College of Letters & Science Honors Program seeks to provide students with a small, liberal arts college experience within this large university. The Honors Program is home to more than 1,200 motivated, curious and high-achieving 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 phone at 608-262-2984. The L&S Honors Program is located in the historic Washburn Observatory at 1401 Observatory Drive in Madison, WI 53706.

To become a candidate for the Honors in the Liberal Arts degree, a student must apply directly to the L&S Honors Program. Students may apply at any point in their undergraduate careers provided they meet the eligibility requirements described below.

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 students can apply via an online application form. L&S admitted students receive an invitation message by email that contains the URL to the online application.  Admission to the program is competitive, and space is limited.

Continuing 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 to the L&S Honors Program at any time. Applications are available from the Honors Program website and admission decisions are usually made within three weeks of submission of the completed application and supporting materials. While continuing or transfer students having 60 or more credits at the time of application to the Honors Program are eligible to participate in the Honors in the Liberal Arts (HLA) degree track, they are encouraged to consider Honors in the Major (HM) as an option, since they may find it difficult to complete the HLA degree requirements if beginning that program in the junior or senior year.

Honors in the Liberal Arts is often the primary focus for most first- and second-year Honors students. It 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. Students who complete this curriculum 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 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
    • 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, B.A. with Honors in the Liberal Arts or B.S. with Honors in the Major).

The University of Wisconsin–Madison can seem overwhelming because of its size and the complexity of its policies and procedures. Academic advisors help students get (and maintain) their bearings on campus. The L&S Honors Program has a team of specially trained academic and peer advisors who accompany and support Honors candidates as they pursue diverse educational and co-curricular experiences compatible with their 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).

Letters & Science graduates are in high demand by employers and graduate programs. It is important to us that our students are career ready at the time of graduation, regardless of major or career goals.

Honors Program Director: Dr. Jenny Saffran, Chair of L&S Faculty Honors Committee and Professor of  Psychology

Associate Director for Admissions and Research: Dr. Matt Kohlstedt

Associate Director for Advising and Curriculum: Christine Evans

Program Administrator: Erin Warner

Academic Advisors: Lisa Blum, Pete Keys