Commonwealth Honors College students



The process of gaining admission to Commonwealth Honors College depends on whether you are a PROSPECTIVE or a CURRENT student.




Students APPLYING to UMass Amherst as incoming first-year or transfer students.

The University of Massachusetts Admissions Office oversees ALL applications and ALL financial aid decisions for students new to UMass Amherst. You will be informed if you are invited to join Commonwealth Honors College as part of your acceptance letter.

  • Prospective First-Year Student: Work directly with UMass Admissions to complete and submit an application to UMass Amherst.
  • Transfer Students: Work directly with UMass Admissions to complete and submit an application to UMass Amherst. 
  • Commonwealth Honors Program Transfer Student: After successfully completing the Commonwealth Honors Program at a Massachusetts community college, AND you have applied and have been accepted to UMass Amherst, bring your transcript to see a Commonwealth Honors College advisor, who will confirm your eligibility to be a member of the Commonwealth Honors College.





MATRICULATED UMass Amherst students

Following the UMass Amherst changes to deadlines, grading, and virtual operations, we have adjusted the Honors College fall 2020 and fall 2021 on-campus application cycle. 

Adjusted Application Eligibility

Current students may apply as early as in their first year at UMass Amherst. Fall 2021 on-campus applications will require a minimum 3.4 GPA (based on fall 2020 cumulative grade) and at least twelve (12) UMass Amherst credits. 

Note: This on-campus application process is based and evaluated only on the current applicant’s UMass Amherst Academic experience.

Admission is highly competitive, so meeting minimum eligibility requirements does not guarantee admission to Commonwealth Honors College.


Application Cycle

Application period: April 15  June 4, 2021

Decision notification: June 2021

If you are a current UMass Amherst student who meets the minimum eligibility requirements, has reviewed the application overview below, and would like to submit an on-campus Commonwealth Honors College application, please use your UMass Net ID to login to CHC PATHS and complete the application starting April 15, 2021




Current UMass Amherst Students


Current UMass Amhersstudents who are ready to maximize their academic experience and who are intrigued about creating an Honors Thesis, are encouraged to apply to Commonwealth Honors College.


Application Criteria

Commonwealth Honors College seeks students who demonstrate outstanding academic performance at UMass Amherst, are prepared for the rigors of the Commonwealth Honors College curriculum and are interested in contributing to building a community of scholars.

The Commonwealth Honors College application process is highly competitive. Your application will be rated on the quality and content of your answers to application questions, your writing skills, and the strength of your GPA.



CHC Application Options by Academic Year

First-Year Students

Apply to the full curriculum with Advanced Scholarship in Multidisciplinary Honors

Sophomores and Juniors

You must decide among three options:

  1. The full curriculum with either Multidisciplinary Honors or Departmental Honors
  2. Depth of Scholarship curriculum option with Multidisciplinary Honors Only (MH)
  3. Depth of Scholarship curriculum option with Departmental Honors Only (DH).

See curriculum and requirements for details on each component of the Honors College curriculum. Depending on your academic status, you may choose to apply for entry into the full curriculum or into one of the Depth of Study options. Consider your options carefully. It may not be possible to switch options without reapplying to Commonwealth Honors College.


Departmental Honors

If you are ​applying for Departmental Honors, you must contact the Honors Program Director in your department to confirm your eligibility and carefully read the Departmental Requirements prior to applying for the DH track. You will need to explain your plan for completing DH in your department as part of your application.


Application Instructions

The Commonwealth Honors College application asks questions about your academic history at UMass Amherst, your academic plans, and your interest in becoming an Honors College student.

Your answers should articulate your commitment to the pursuit of academic excellence as a UMass Amherst student and are the only example of your formal writing provided to the application review committee. The review committee expects clear, well-developed writing with compelling examples, structured in cohesive sentences and paragraphs, and proofread carefully.

The application is available and must be submitted through the Commonwealth Honors College PATHS portal.

All applications are reviewed by a committee of Commonwealth Honors College Faculty and Deans.


Decisions will be sent to your official UMass email ( Once accepted, you must attend a Commonwealth Honors College Orientation Session to learn more about curriculum requirements and advantages as well as sign the Commonwealth Honors College Terms of Agreement contract. The Commonwealth Honors College Fee will be assessed for every semester in which you are enrolled in Commonwealth Honors College.



Learn about the variety of competitive scholarships and research grants offered through Commonwealth Honors College and throughout campus. 

Visit Campus

The best way to see why you belong at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Commonwealth Honors College is to visit campus.


Designed for intellectually curious students who are passionate about creating new knowledge—and about making a difference in their fields of study and in their communities.