You have several opportunities to join Commonwealth Honors College. The process differs depending on whether you are an incoming first-year or transfer student or a current UMass Amherst student.
First-Year and Transfer Students
As a prospective first-year student or transfer student, all you need to do is complete your application to UMass Amherst. The UMass Admissions Office oversees all application and 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.
If you are a transfer student who has successfully completed a Commonwealth Honors Program at a Massachusetts community college, and you have applied and been accepted to UMass Amherst, bring your transcript to see a Commonwealth Honors College advisor to confirm your eligibility to be a member of the Commonwealth Honors College.
Current UMass Amherst Students
If you are a current UMass Amherst student, you may apply to Commonwealth Honors College as early as your first year, if you have completed one full-time semester with 12 or more graded UMass Amherst credits and earned a minimum 3.4 GPA.
Current Student Application Process
If you are a UMass Amherst student ready to maximize your academic experience and intrigued about creating an Honors Thesis, we encourage you to apply to Commonwealth Honors College.
Current UMass Amherst students may apply to join Commonwealth Honors College after completing one full-time semester with 12 or more graded credits at UMass Amherst, and earning an overall GPA of 3.4 or above.
Admission is highly competitive, so meeting minimum eligibility requirements does not guarantee admission to Commonwealth Honors College.
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.
Application period: mid-April to late May
Decision notification: late June
Application period: mid-November to early January
Decision notification: late January
CHC Application Options by Academic Year
Apply to the full curriculum with Advanced Scholarship in Multidisciplinary Honors
Sophomores and Juniors
You must decide among three options:
- The full curriculum with either Multidisciplinary Honors or Departmental Honors
- Depth of Scholarship curriculum option with Multidisciplinary Honors Only (MH)
- 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.
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.
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 (email@example.com). 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.