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What are Honors Courses?

Honors courses have greater expectations for student engagement with the subject matter and emphasize exploration, discovery, and critical thinking as opposed to factual learning. Students enrolled in honors courses take greater responsibility for their individual learning based on their own insights and creative abilities.

Any course with an Honors designation can be used to fulfill requirements in the UC Merced Honors Program. Graduate courses, independent study courses, and Honors Contracts in non-honors courses may also be taken for Honors credit.

Honors students are also required to take the Honors Seminars (HON 001H, HON 002H, HON 003H, HON 004H) offered once an academic year.

Course Requirements

Students admitted as Freshman/First Year

  • 5 Honors-designated courses, 2 must be Honors-designated General Education courses

  • 4 Honors seminars (HON 001H, HON 002H, HON 003H, and HON 004H)

Students admitted as Sophomores and Lower Division Transfer Students

  • 4 Honors-designated courses, 2 must be Honors-designated General Education courses

  • 3 Honors seminars (HON 002H, HON 003H, and HON 004H)

Students admitted as junior level Transfer Students

  • 3 Honors-designated courses, 1 must be a Honors-designated General Education course

  • 2 Honors Seminars (HON 003H, and HON 004H)

Please note: these requirements will need to be completed through the duration of your undergraduate career. You are not required to complete these requirements every academic year or semester. 

Honors Courses by Contracts

Honors Courses by Contracts provide an opportunity for students to enrich their academic experience while establishing close working relationships with faculty. Honors Contracts allow you to pursue individualized work while enrolled in a non-honors class, engaging in study beyond the course requirements. Graduate students may not supervise Honors Contracts.

A list of Honors Courses by Contract can be found here. If you identify a course not listed on the website, you may reach out to the instructor to request a contract. 

For more information regarding Honors Contracts, please email