Senior Year

Students walk through the Commonwealth Honors College Residential Community at the University of Massachusetts

Senior Year

During your senior year, you’ll work on your Honors Thesis, one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences you’ll have as an Honors student.  

The Honors Thesis might feel daunting at first, but Commonwealth Honors College has the necessary resources to help you stay the course and cross the finish line. 


Depth of Study 

The Honors Thesis is the central component of Honors work in the senior year and is required to complete the Depth of Study component of the Honors Curriculum. 


Course Benchmarks 

Ideally, you’ve taken all of your Honors courses by the end of your junior year.

Multidisciplinary Honors course benchmarks  

Honors Thesis Part 1 (3+ credits) 

Honors Thesis Part 2 (3+ credits) 

Departmental Honors course benchmarks*  

Honors Thesis Part 1 in your MAJOR (3+ credits) 

Honors Thesis Part 2 in your MAJOR (3+ credits) 

*Some departments have additional requirements.

Study Abroad  

With proper advising and guidance, it’s still possible to have a Study Abroad experience in your senior year. Meet with your Honors Advisor and the advisor in your major as early as possible in the first semester. This collaboration will enable you to create a plan that will fit in coursework requirements for your major and your study abroad interests.



Many scholarships are available for seniors. You should look into Commonwealth Honors College Scholarships as well as those available through your major, department, and college. Make an appointment with the Office of National Scholarship Advisement (ONSA) at the beginning of the fall semester to see if it’s still possible to explore nationally competitive scholarships such as the Rhodes, Truman, Fulbright, and Marshall.


Research Funding  

You can still apply for Honors Research Grants in early October for spring semester funding. This competitive funding opportunity is by application only.  


Cultivate Relationships with Faculty  

If you are pursuing an Individually Contracted Honors Thesis, you must select a second Thesis Committee member to register for the spring semester. You should also identify faculty members to write letters of recommendation. 


Career Planning  

You should make an appointment with the career planning team in the college of your major to explore career, graduate school, and internships options as well as to build a strong resumé and cover letter. You will also be able to learn about networking, interview skills, and other career search information.


Senior Checklist 

This Senior Checklist is designed to remind you of all the Commonwealth Honors College and university requirements needed for graduation so that nothing slips between the cracks.


Advising Meetings 

In the fall of your senior year, meet with all of your academic advisors for a senior completion check to confirm that you have completed all of the requirements needed for graduation from UMass Amherst.


Good Standing 

Keep in mind that a 3.400 minimum cumulative GPA and a minimum grade of B or higher in all Honors Courses is required each semester. You will also need 45 graded residence credits to graduate from Commonwealth Honors College. All of the required Commonwealth Honors College curriculum courses are counted as part of the 120 credits required to graduate from UMass Amherst.


CHC student

In your first year, you will focus on Breadth of Study. Be bold here, and enjoy the process as you explore a variety of classes that interest you.

Sophomore year at CHC

In your sophomore year, you will complete the Breadth of Study requirements and continue to explore a variety of classes that interest you.  

Junior Year

In your junior year, you will delve deeper into your academic journey and start to consider what you’d like to pursue for your Honors Thesis. 

Students walk through the Commonwealth Honors College Residential Community at the University of Massachusetts

In your senior year, you will concentrate on your Honors Thesis, the culmination of your academic journey.