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About the University Honors Program

The University Honors Program at Texas A&M University is one of the most comprehensive of its type anywhere in the United States. Every year, Texas A&M offers more than 300 Honors classes and benefits from the participation of over 2,000 undergraduates in its programs.

What is Honors?
History of Honors at TAMU
What are my other options?

The central goal of Honors education at Texas A&M is academic enrichment; the University Honors Program is based on the belief that promising students benefit from:

  • close contact with accomplished faculty,
  • collaborative learning with other motivated students
  • small, discussion-based seminars or one-on-one instruction,
  • knowledge production through individual research experiences,
  • and engagement with internships, foreign study, and campus or community service.

The Texas A&M University Honors Program is an ideal opportunity for motivated, curious students who are filled with Big Ideas, who long for outlets for creative expression, and who seek out intellectual challenges. Our goal is to make available the resources of a major research institution to undergraduate students whose track record of academic success demonstrates a readiness to take greater personal responsibility for their own education.

The defining characteristic of Honors study at Texas A&M University is engagement. While each academic discipline across the campus has its own pedagogical style, students in Honors classrooms are encouraged to speak, inquire, write, challenge, and do. In many cases, Honors students are introduced to research resources or interactive learning that are more typical of graduate than of undergraduate education.

Innovative Curriculum and Increased Prestige
Students who are accepted into the University Honors Program work towards the completion of the “Honors Fellows” track, a curriculum plan that enhances their individual degree plans by requiring a specified amount of Honors course work and a senior “capstone” experience.  Completion of the Honors Fellows track demonstrates a student’s commitment to learning, breadth and depth of knowledge, and personal motivation.

Engaged Community
Students who are admitted to the University Honors Program as freshman are required to reside for their first year in the Honors Housing Community.

McFadden|Lechner Halls provide incoming freshmen a smooth transition into college life through special programs and activities.  Students in both halls enjoy the benefits and rewards of traditions, vibrant social life, and attention to academic excellence that have been developed in the Honors Housing Community for over twenty years. Both freshman halls are modular style (each room has its own bathroom) and are coed by floor.  Each hall houses approximately 200 students.  Residents can expect to engage in a number of enrichment and development opportunities that are largely conceived and executed by the Honor Peer Leaders, a team of experienced Honors Students.

Beyond the first year, Honors Students engage in the community formed by Honors Student Council and have the option of staying in Haas Honors Hall.

Priority Registration
Continuing students who are in good standing with the University Honors Program or in a department or college Honors track are extended the courtesy of priority registration, thus avoiding many scheduling conflicts that might otherwise prevent them from enrolling in Honors courses.  Honors Priority Registration occurs over the two days prior to the start of the ordinary pre-registration period for continuing students. Incoming freshmen have the benefit of registering for Honors sections at their New Student Conferences.

Expanded Course Options
Honors Students have the option to customize their curriculum by contracting non-honors courses for Honors credit, seeking credit through Honors Independent Study, or by enrolling in graduate-level courses for undergraduate credit.

Specialized Advising
Honors Students maintain close relationships with Honors Advisors, who not only help their students select beneficial courses and complete the Honors Fellows track, but can also provide advice on career preparation, personal development, and options for undergraduate research.  Honors and Undergraduate research also provides comprehensive advising and preparatory resources for students who wish to apply for prestigious nationally competitive fellowship and scholarship programs, such as the Rhodes, Goldwater, or Truman scholarships. Advising appointments may be scheduled online or by calling 979-845-1957.

Over the last four decades, many motivated students have found the University Honors Program an excellent way to get the most out of an undergraduate education at Texas A&M University. They have experienced the special pleasures of close contact with leading faculty, and they have enjoyed the challenges offered by highly motivated classroom peers in a participatory learning environment. You may find that spicing your curriculum with several honors courses enriches your program of study or you may wish to pursue Honors course work of sufficient depth and breadth to earn an Honors Graduation Distinction. Each year, a number of ambitious seniors cap their sustained experience in honors study with participation in the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program or other capstone experiences, contributing to the advancement of knowledge through scholarly research on the Texas A&M University campus.

What is an Honors Education?

Honors is a distinct approach to undergraduate education that:

  • incubates new curriculum and pedagogy through layering high-impact educational experiences
  • emphasizes specific perspectives on culture, pedagogy, and expectations of its constituencies
  • provides an opportunity for close contact between faculty and students, and
  • offers curricular challenges that would not otherwise exist.
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History of Honors at Texas A&M

Opportunities for Honors study at Texas A&M University were initiated in the mid-1960s in what was then the College of Arts and Sciences. Subsequently, the Colleges of Liberal Arts, Science, and Geosciences co-sponsored an Honors Program, and by 1968 all of the academic colleges had joined in the endeavor. 


In 1978, the University Honors Program offered a modest thirty honors sections of twenty different courses, with only three upper-division (300-400) courses available. Ten years later, the number of honors sections jumped to 148 in 117 different courses but the number of upper-division sections available was still relatively small at thirty eight. Annual enrollments had climbed from 650 to over 2,000.

On average, we now see over 300 sections of Honors courses are offered each academic year. Student enrollment in these courses now tops 2,000 each semester. In Fall 2012, the University Honors Program shifted to application-based entry and began requiring freshman admitted to the program to live in the Honors Housing Community and participate in a freshman learning community seminar. Upperclassmen in the program are now required to maintain a learning portfolio and participate in Honors Student Council events each semester. The revised program also features a new graduation distinction, Honors Fellows, that requires all students to complete a capstone experience.Students participating in the University Honors Program may also take advantage of optional structured honors courses and study sequences offered in several academic colleges and a growing number of departments.

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Other Options: "Honors-eligible"

Honors options for students not interested or not accepted to the University Honors Program include participating in Honors courses without being part of University Honors or a College or Departmental Honors Program.

Students are Honors-eligible as entering Freshmen if they meet objective class rank and test score minimums. To be considered eligible, first-semester students must have graduated in the top 10% of their high school class and have an SAT composite score of at least 1310 (reading/writing + math, with minimums of 660 and 620, respectively) for tests taken in April 2016 and forward or a composite 28 on the ACT (minimum score of 27 each on verbal and math).

For SAT tests taken March 2016 or earlier, the minimum composite score required is 1250 (verbal + math, with a minimum score of 570 on each).

Freshman Honors-Eligible students may register for available seats in Honors sections after the last New Student Conference (the week before freshman classes begin).

Continuing students are Honors-eligible if they earn a cumulative GPR of 3.5 or better.  Continuing Honors-eligible students may register for Honors courses during their regularly scheduled registration time.

Please contact Honors and Undergraduate Research (979-845-1957 or honors@tamu.edu) with questions or if you receive an Honors attribute restriction when trying to register at the appropriate time.


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