Honors Requirements

A note from L&S Honors Program Advisor David Lawrence:

One of the frequent questions our staff has been fielding is whether or not there will be some relief regarding the required number of honors experiences and community service hours we expect of our students. 
Due to the reduced number of honors seminars, the increased challenges of arranging honors contracts remotely, the lack of education abroad opportunities, etc., the number of Honors Experiences required to complete the L&S Honors Program has been reduced from six to five. If you plan on declaring candidacy between now and Summer 2021 and you've already earned five honors experiences, you are set. Provided you maintain the GPA requirement of 3.5 and you complete the volunteer requirement, you will successfully complete the Honors Program.
As for community service: we understand it may be a bit more challenging to find volunteer opportunities during a pandemic, the reality is there a number of virtual opportunities that are becoming more abundant as time passes--many of which have been promoted on the Honors Program listserv. Do a bit of research, and if you have a question as to whether something would satisfy our requirements, please contact us by email, on our Nectir channel, or by visiting our virtual advising line.

Staying in the Program

To remain in Honors, a student must

  • Complete at least two Honors Experiences each year until the student has completed the required six. If you are ahead of or behind schedule to complete the required experiences, please confer with an Honors advisor or send an email  to honorsmail@ltsc.ucsb.edu to discuss options.   
  • Have a 3.5 grade point average after Spring quarter, prior to the annual review of records conducted in the Summer.

         Each Summer, advisors will review student records and contact any students who did not meet the annual requirements.

Completing the Program

See link below (under Academic Excellence Award) for the online Honors Completion Form to submit during your final quarter at UCSB.

Beginning in Summer 2017, the Honors Program changed the requirements for “completing” Honors and being eligible for the Academic Excellence Award at graduation:


"New" Honors Requirements:

For students who joined the Honors Program as first-years (not transfers) or as second-years in 2017 and beyond

The Goal of Honors:  a “Capstone” Experience

The focus of the Honors Program is to encourage students to use the Honors Experiences to explore UCSB from a liberal arts perspective, find a major they are passionate about, and, through Honors Sections, Seminars, and Contracts, to build close contacts with faculty. The explicit goal of the program is to mentor students into some kind of transformative capstone academic experience. For many, this will be departmental honors, leading to Distinction in the Major. For some, it might be a year-long study abroad or studying in Washington, DC via the UCDC Program or in Sacramento through UCCS. For other students, it might mean participating in research, culminating in a paper submitted for publication, a conference presentation, or participation in the UCSB Undergraduate Research Colloquium. Other students might participate in an intensive internship program such as the INT 184 PD-Honors Introduction to Medicine.  Some students might participate in or even design a significant community service project or leadership experience. 

Although a capstone is a goal for Honors students, it is not a formal requirement.  Rather, it is the Program’s hope that students will participate in UCSB’s mission to discover knowledge as it serves the state, the nation, and the world.

Note: For students graduating early, the total number of Honors Experiences required is 6 total.



"Old" Honors Requirements:

For Honors students who joined Honors before 2017 and students who joined Honors in 2017 in the fall of their third year (as well as transfers) or in 2018 in the fall of their third year

Joined Program as a

Total Honors Experiences

Upper Division Honors Experiences

Community Service Hours

Grade Point Average

First-year, prior to 2017





Second-year, prior to 2017





Third-year, in 2017 or 2018





Transfer, in 2017





Academic Excellence Award

About the Award

Also known as "completing the program," the Academic Excellence Award is awarded to Honors Program students who complete the requirements of the program. The award is noted on recipients' transcripts and in the souvenir program distributed at the Honors Program’s Commencement Reception. Recipients also receive a certificate from the College of Letters and Science.

How to Receive the Award

In order to receive the Academic Excellence Award, you must submit an online petition with the Honors Program during the first two weeks of your final quarter at UCSB (you will list any honors courses in progress). Please click here to submit the online “Intent to Complete the Honors Program” form.

Honors staff will review completion forms after the submission deadline, and email students their status within a couple weeks. Keep in mind that, in order to be approved for the award, you must have maintained continued eligibility for the Honors Program during your time at UCSB, and you must complete the program requirements by the time your degree is finalized.