Commonwealth Honors College
As a Commonwealth Honors College student, you’ll join more than 3,000 other undergraduates who, like you, are determined to excel academically. You will enrich your studies with small, intensive classes where you’ll develop enduring ties with faculty members. You’ll be challenged in an engaging array of interdisciplinary seminars and courses in your field as well as have opportunities to participate in Community Service Learning honors courses.
If you are entering UMass Amherst with an exemplary high school record then you may be considered for admission to the Commonwealth Honors College. There is no separate application process; students are notified of their selection with their general letter of admission.
Note that the number and quality of applications for first-year admission affect the selectivity of the Commonwealth Honors College review process. If you are not admitted as an incoming first-year student, you may apply online as a current UMass Amherst student after you have completed one full-time semester with 12 or more graded credits at UMass Amherst. This online application process uses different criteria for acceptance, which are based on your college career at UMass Amherst.
There is no separate application process. Transfer students are considered for eligibility to the Commonwealth Honors College during their application review.
If you are not invited as an incoming transfer, you can apply online as a current UMass Amherst student after you have completed one full-time semester with 12 or more graded credits at UMass Amherst. This online application process uses different criteria for acceptance, which are based on your college career at UMass Amherst.
Note: If you have successfully completed a Commonwealth Honors Program at a Massachusetts community college, see a Commonwealth Honors College advisor upon arrival on campus regarding eligibility to the Commonwealth Honors College.
If you are not offered a spot in Commonwealth Honors College at the time you are admitted to UMass, you can still apply after enrolling. Current students who meet minimum eligibility requirements may apply as early as in their first year at UMass Amherst.
In honors classes, you’ll engage directly with faculty and peers in critical analysis and compelling dialog. Limited to 25 students, these classes will challenge you to consider others’ perspectives and then formulate and defend your own views. In-depth readings, oral presentations, group projects, field research, and other modes of learning will make for stimulating intellectual experiences.
For first-year students, the honors curriculum begins with several General Education honors courses, including one of our signature requirements, the Honors Seminar Series. This series strengthens research methods, builds communication skills, and fosters an intellectual community among students. The first of these seminars helps hone critical-thinking skills; the second allows students to select from a wide range of topics taught by faculty from all corners of the campus. The series builds a foundation for lifelong learning while fulfilling a General Education requirement for the University.
For students completing upper-level coursework, the honors curriculum offers the flexibility to focus their advanced honors courses in a track that best meets their academic goals. Most students apply to the departmental honors tracks in their major. Upper-level honors coursework concludes with the Capstone Experience, another signature element of the College’s curriculum.