The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Commonwealth Honors College with Departmental Honors (DH) Personal Statement

Please write a carefully crafted, one-page, single-spaced personal statement in which you explain why you want to engage in honors work and how honors work will help you realize your academic goals.

As you compose your personal statement, keep in mind that this statement is both an opportunity to articulate your commitment to the pursuit of academic excellence and the only sample your formal writing available to the application review committee. The review committee will expect clear, well-developed writing with compelling examples. They will also expect careful proofing, including structure, spelling and grammar.

Reminder: The online application cannot save drafts! We recommend that you compose your statement in a word-processing program, save it on your computer, and then copy/paste it into the appropriate text box at the end of the online application.

Please include a header with the following information:

  1. Your full name
  2. Your SPIRE ID number
  3. The Honors Curriculum sub-plan to which you are applying (see “Select a Curriculum Sub-Plan” on the Commonwealth College application website)
  4. Your current Major or Pre-major listed on SPIRE

When composing your Personal Statement, please pay particular attention to the questions below:

Provide information about why you are applying to the sub-plan to which you are applying.

  • What are your serious academic interests?
  • If you wish to pursue Departmental Honors, please suggest major-appropriate topics that you MIGHT develop in an honors thesis or project.
  • If you are pursuing Multidisciplinary Honors, or if you have not yet chosen an honors track, please discuss how you might combine your various interests in an honors thesis or project. Your statement must include the name of the faculty member who is sponsoring you for Multidisciplinary Honors.


  • What academic experiences – courses, workshops, lectures, films, books – have you found to be intellectually rewarding?
  • Have you participated in any extra-curricular activities that relate to your academic interests and future goals?
  • Do you have any special skills or have you had any experiences that are relevant to completing an honors thesis or project?
  • What thoughts have your given to your future career?
  • What contributions can you see yourself making to a community of scholars?