Graduating with Honors

How Honors works

Out of the 120-credit minimum required to graduate, some classes will be designated as Honors. Honors classes will be noted on your transcript and diploma when you graduate.

Honors classes are generally smaller in size and taught by full-time faculty. To graduate with University Honors, you must maintain a cumulative 3.3 GPA and complete at least 36 credits, which on average is one to two Honors classes per term. Most students take three or four classes each semester. Honors students are encouraged to take advantage of Honors sections of general education courses as part of their 36 credits.

There are three main ways to earn Honors credit:

  • Honors sections of regular courses. These special sections offered by the various departments and are reserved for Honors students. They may either be offered as in conjunction with a larger, non-Honors class or as a class with only Honors students
  • Courses offered by the Honors College, such as HON 1000 or the HON 4200-level seminars
  • Honors Option, where the student and a faculty member agree on an additional assignment to earn Honors credit in a non-Honors class.

University Honors requirements

Enrolling as an incoming freshman gives you the opportunity to graduate with University Honors, the highest honor in the Honors College and at Wayne State University. You will need to complete 36 credit hours of Honors courses, including:

  • Honors 1000
  • Honors Political Science 1010
  • HON 3000: Three credit minimum service-learning course
  • HON 4200-level seminar
  • HON 4998: Honors Senior Thesis

For most students, this equates to roughly 16 of 36 credits needed to complete University Honors. How to fulfill the rest of the credits is completely up to you. Most Honors credit can be fulfilled through general education courses, dedicated Honors courses within your major and major coursework as well.

Breakdown of each Honors requirement:

HON 1000 – 3 credits

Taken in the fall semester of your freshman year, HON 1000 focuses on the city of Detroit, its history and what we can learn from it. Field trips within the cultural center of Detroit will enhance your learning experience.

Honors Political Science 1010 – 4 credits

Studying the political system in the United States and comparing it other countries' political systems, you will take the concepts learned in HON 1000 and PS 1010 and apply them to a group project that focuses on proposing problems to solve in Detroit communities, and how you would address them through research.

HON 3000 Service-Learning requirement – 3 credit minimum

Recommended that you do your service-learning requirement during your second year, the service-learning requirement pairs HON 3000, a zero-credit course for a satisfactory/unsatisfactory grade, with an approved three credit or more service-learning course. Earning a B or better in the service-learning course will result in an S (Satisfactory) for HON 3000.

Regardless of whether the service-learning class is an Honors section, it will count as Honors credit toward the 36 credit University Honors requirement.

How to find an approved service-learning class:

  1. Visit the CommunityEngagement@Wayne website for a list of current course offerings. Be sure to register for the exact section of the course indicated. Not all professors offer a service-learning component in the same class.
  2. Use the Service-Learning Honors Option to add a service-learning component to a class (2000-level or above). The student is responsible for coordinating all of the criteria for a service-learning class as the additional Honors assignment for Honors Option.
  3. Inform the Honors College about any courses that have an existing service-learning component but are not among the service-learning courses approved through the Office of CommunityEngagement@Wayne. You will need to fill out the Service-Learning Honors Option Form, explain how the course meets the four Honors pillars and attach a copy of the syllabus.

As of the fall 2014 cohort, students pursuing University Honors and looking to satisfy the HON 3000 service-learning requirement need to:

• Upload final project or paper for the associated service-learning course to your e-Portfolio page for service-learning

• Post your e-Portfolio link on the designated discussion board area on HON 3000 Blackboard site. 

• Complete a survey at the end of the semester on the Blackboard course site.

Check for e-Portfolio instructional videos on HON 3000 blackboard course site if you need help. Read more about e-Portfolios.

Honors 42xx Seminar – 3 credits

Taken during your junior or senior year, the HON 42XX seminar is an interdisciplinary course that focuses on a special topic for the term. All majors are welcome to sign up for the classes. The faculty instructor chooses the topic, which appears on the Honors schedule of classes.

HON 4998 Senior Thesis – 3-6 credits

The thesis can be either an independent research project, literature review, or creative project with the guidance of a full-time faculty member of your choosing.  HON 4998 can be taken for 3-6 credits.  A 3 credit thesis paper is at least 20 pages of content and each additional credit increases the length of the final project.  If a student is also pursuing Departmental Honors in addition to University Honors, then the Honors College will use the Departmental Honors thesis course in place of HON 4998 to satisfy the thesis requirement for University Honors.  For example, a student who is pursuing Psychology Honors in addition to University Honors will only need to take PSY 4998 as their thesis course.  PSY 4998 will satisfy the thesis requirement for both honors programs.  For any questions, please see a Honors Academic Advisor.

Departmental Honors Requirements

For Departmental Honors, you will need to complete a minimum of 12 credits in Honors courses, including one HON 42xx Seminar and HON 4998 with a full-time faculty member from your major of study. The total amount of credits needed to complete Departmental Honors can vary by major but will always include HON 42xx and a thesis course.

All defined majors have a departmental Honors track. Please make an appointment with your major advisor for all the specific requirements. 

We will create and advance knowledge, prepare a diverse student body to thrive, and positively impact local and global communities.