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Reiko Sono 
Senior Lecturer & Japanese Honors Program Director

Office: Herter 331
Phone: 413-545-4947
E-mail: @email

Departmental Honors (DH) is an Advanced Scholarship track of Commonwealth Honors College (CHC). Students may complete DH as part of the full CHC curriculum, which includes Honors General Studies, or they may complete DH alone. All DH students are members of CHC.

Successful completion of the DH course requirements with minimum grades of B (or as specified below) and the submission of a properly formatted Honors Thesis or Project manuscript (minimum grade of B for Seminar manuscripts) will result in the award of "Departmental Honors" on the student's academic transcript. For information about DH, speak with your Honors Program Director and see Admission Process below. For information about the full CHC Curriculum, please click here.

General Admission Criteria

Minimally, to be eligible to apply for DH, students must have:

  1. An overall GPA of 3.400 or higher earned after one or more full-time semesters of UMass Amherst coursework;
  2. The ability to complete the DH sub-plan requirements; and
  3. The ability to complete the CHC minimum residency requirement, i.e., 45 graded (not pass/fail) credits earned at UMass Amherst (not transferred).

Admissions Process

  • UMass Amherst students who are not already members of CHC must apply to DH, an Advanced Scholarship CHC sub-plan. Please visit the Admissions page.
  • Students who are already members of CHC should meet with the department’s Honors Program Director (HPD) regarding their interest in joining DH, an Advanced Scholarship CHC sub-plan. The HPD will determine a student's eligibility and preparedness for DH. Admission to DH will be at the discretion of the HPD based on the criteria as established by the department and CHC (see Admission Criteria above). The HPD will notify the CHC office of newly accepted DH students so appropriate steps can be taken to designate the sub-plan on SPIRE.

Program Requirements

  • 1 JAPANESE honors course, any level
  • 1 JAPANESE honors course, 300-level or higher
  • Honors Thesis or Project. Options include:
    • Individually contracted: JAPANESE 499Y Honors Research and JAPANESE 499T Honors Thesis or Project.
    • Classroom seminar: guided by an instructor's preapproved syllabi on a specific topic and registered via SPIRE. Seminar descriptions are listed in the Honors Course Guide and are subject to change year to year.


  • A maximum of two Japanese intensive language courses (6 credits each) may be counted toward the DH requirements.
  • When offered, 1cr CHINESE 291H, 391H and 491H seminars plus their prerequisite non-honors root course are acceptable as DH electives.

Requirement Exceptions Note

Note: exceptions to the requirements above require approval by both the Honors Program Director (HPD) and a Commonwealth Honors College advisor. Please consult with a CHC advisor to discuss any variances in the curriculum.

For more information, contact Senior Lecturer Reiko Sono, the Honors Program Director for Japanese.

General Links

Commonwealth Honors College Online Application
Honors Credentialing
Honors Thesis

All Departmental Honors Requirements