Earning Honors Credits

Earning Honors Credits

To graduate with the Honors or Honors with Distinction diploma, you must earn either 15 or 21 Honors credits. These Honors credits may be obtained in a variety of ways (see Diploma Options).

In order to receive Honors credits, you must earn a grade of "B" or above in each Honors course.

Your Honors Experience

The easiest way to reach your Honors credit goal is to earn three honors credits each semester.

All Honors students who start their UHP experience as incoming first-year students will begin earning Honors credits in one of several ways (depending on your major):

  • By taking the first-year Honors Seminar.
  • Completing the first year (Fall and Spring semesters) of the CORE Program (ASI 110 and ASI 120). The Core Program is open to students from all majors. For more information see www.udayton.edu/artssciences/core/.
  • By choosing the Women in Science and Engineering ILLC.
  • By choosing the Business, Ethics and Environmental Sustainability ILLC.

Students who enter the Program after completing their first semester, as a rising sophomore or a transfer student will earn Honors credits at the rate which will guarantee an Honors Program diploma (see Membership for full details on diploma requirements).

Breadth Requirements for Honors Courses

  • For students pursuing the Honors diploma (thesis option), the 15 Honors credits may include at most two courses with any specific academic prefix. For example, at most two courses of Honors-level coursework coded as ENG XXX may apply. The remaining Honors credit hours must be from other disciplines.
  • For students pursuing the Honors diploma (courses-only option) or the Honors with Distinction diploma, the 21 Honors credits may include at most 3 courses with any specific academic prefix. The breadth requirement does not apply to the courses taken as part of an Honors thesis project.
  • Students may earn Honors credits from no more than four courses at the 100- or 200-level, combined.

Otherwise, all methods for earning Honors credits detailed below apply.

Earning Equal Honors Credits for Coursework Credit Hours

The following course situations earn Honors credits for each course credit awarded:

  • Honors courses (Honors sections marked “H” as PSY 353 H1)
  • Chaminade Scholars courses (3 courses over the course of 3 years)
  • Graduate-level courses taken for undergraduate credit; limited to two courses at the 500-level or above (*see Graduate Coursework below for details)
  • Contract Honors courses with prior approval of the Honors Program and the Department; limited to two contract courses per student (**see Honors Contract Courses below for details)

Other Honors Credit Opportunities


The following are situations where Honors credits are earned based on the completion of a series of special program courses or modules:

CORE Program completion earns 15 Honors credits.

  • Completing year 1, ASI 110 and ASI 120 (15 credit hours) = 6 Honors credits
  • Completing year 2, three 300-level courses (9 credit hours) = 6 Honors credits
  • Completing year 3, capstone course (3 credit hours) = 3 Honors credits

For more information on the CORE Program, see the CORE Program website.

Dayton Civic Scholars Program completion earns 3 Honors credits.

Dayton River Stewards Program completion earns 3 Honors credits.

Experiential Learning

National Fellowship Applications

Three Honors credits may be earned by working with the Honors Program Associate Director for Fellowships and Graduate School Advising to successfully submit an application for a nationally competitive award. Successful completion of the national fellowship process shall be determined by the Associate Director; note that receipt of the award is not necessary for earning the Honors credits. Fellowships and scholarships available for Honors credits include, but are not limited to, the Rhodes, Marshall, Mitchell, Gates Cambridge, Fulbright, Goldwater, Truman, Boren and Udall (additional awards may be added at the discretion of the Honors Program). Before applying, students should consult with Associate Director individually and/or attend the relevant fellowship information workshops.

Experiential Learning

Application can be submitted for Honors credits for substantial experiential activities involving scholarship, skills acquisition and/or vocational discernment (***see Experiential Learning Honors Credits below for details).

Study Abroad

Students participating in a summer or semester study abroad (with a minimum of 6 UD academic credit hours and grades of B or above) earn 3 Honors credits for the experience (***see Experiential Learning Honors Credits below for details).

Signature Programs

Some Honors Program signature programs may earn experiential Honors credits. These programs include the Berry Summer Thesis Institute, the DC Flyers and the Global Flyers. All signature programs require an application process and/or an invitation to participate. (See individual web pages for more information on each signature program.)

Processes for Special Honors Credit Applications

Graduate Coursework  

In accordance with an agreement reached between the University Honors Program and the University of Dayton Graduate School (see below), Honors Students may receive up to 6 Honors credits by completing up to 6 hours of graduate-level coursework. The following guidelines apply:

  • The course must be taken for a letter grade.
  • Each credit hour of graduate-level coursework completed (with a grade of B or higher) equals one Honors credit.

See also the restriction below that relates to "co-listed" courses.

Co-Listed Courses

A number of graduate and undergraduate courses are co-listed (i.e., a course that is listed with both a graduate course number and an undergraduate number). An Honors student expecting Honors credits via this mechanism must register for the graduate section and meet the expectations for graduate students in the course.

The following outlines the agreement reached between the University Honors Program and the University of Dayton Graduate School:

“The University of Dayton Graduate School will permit Honors students to register for up to six hours of graduate-level coursework which may be counted toward the required credit hours of Honors coursework. Students should work closely with their academic advisors as all such course access must be approved through each department's own standards and procedures. Academic advisors should also be consulted to discuss any implications of enrollment in graduate coursework for possible pursuit of a subsequent graduate degree. All University policies with respect to the enrollment of undergraduate students in graduate courses also apply.”

Honors Contract Courses

Since an Honors course is fundamentally different from a non-Honors course, the University Honors Program believes that the contract course option should be used as infrequently as possible. These courses are, however, possible options for students whose opportunities for obtaining the necessary credits to graduate with a University Honors Program diploma are seriously limited.

The UHP also acknowledges that each department or program makes the final decision whether or not to offer the ability to contract for Honors credits through a regular course offering. In all cases, the Department Chair or Program Director, the course instructor, the Honors student and the Honors Program Director must all agree to the proposal for Honors credits through a contract course.


  • The contract course option may be used only after the completion of 75 credit hours of coursework.
  • The contract course must be taken for a letter grade.
  • The student must earn a grade of B or higher to earn Honors credits.
  • A grade of B- or lower results in the course not counting for Honors credits.

To Apply for an Honors Contract Course

A student wishing to contract for Honors credits in a regular course must complete the following steps with the realization that the contract process must begin the semester before the course will take place and the entire process is completed before the class begins:

  1. The student registers for the regular class for which he or she wants to have an Honors contract.
  2. The student contacts the course instructor to request permission to move forward with an Honors contract for the class.
  3. The student completes the student portion of the Request for Honors Credit from a Contract Course (.docx), including a justification of the need for the contract course, and submits it (through hard copy or email attachment) to the Office Coordinator Ramona Speranza for UHP approval.
  4. If approved, the UHP contacts both the course instructor and the Department Chair or Program Director, informing both of the student’s request.
  5. If the department or program is amenable, the student works with the instructor to develop a one-page proposal (see below) and obtains the required signatures on the Honors contract course form.
  6. The student submits the completed proposal and form to the UHP office.
  7. Upon receipt of the fully-approved contract, the Office Coordinator requests the Registrar to create an Honors section of the course for the purpose of registration and recording Honors credit, and the student is transferred from the regular section to the Honors section.

The Proposal and Additional Course Criteria

The one-page proposal should discuss the expectations for a student enrolling in a contract course. One or more of the following may be used to enhance the educational outcome for the Honors student so as to meet the expectations for Honors credit:

  • An extra research paper or project.
  • An extra component to an already-assigned paper or presentation.
  • A more detailed assignment for an already-assigned paper, project, or presentation.
  • An additional component to a test or exam.
  • Independent or additional reading or research, perhaps with a discussion group or periodic meetings with the instructor to discuss the material.
  • A classroom activity (debate, discussion, simulation, etc.) or an in-class presentation for the entire class.
  • Attendance at appropriate out-of-class presentations, lectures or events and the completion of a reflection/response regarding the event’s relevance to the subject material.
  • An artistic creation or performance.


Both student and instructor should be in agreement regarding any possible changes to the grading policy in light of the different course requirements for this student. At the conclusion of the course, the student registered in the contract “H” section will receive Honors credit. Receipt of a B- grade or lower will result in the course not counting toward the requirements for the Honors diploma.


The University Honors Program recognizes that many activities are fundamental to the development of the emerging scholar which may not receive academic credit hours. The Honors Program acknowledges these activities with Honors credits (HCs) that apply toward the requirements for the Honors and Honors with Distinction diplomas. A maximum of 6 Honors credits may be applied to the requirements of the Honors Program diploma through experiential credit work from separate and distinct experiences.

Learning activities that may be eligible for Honors credits include (but are not limited to):

  • undergraduate professional co-ops or research internships
  • education abroad experiences
  • service projects
  • leadership experiences
  • completion of a prestigious fellowship application
  • teacher education observation or student teaching experience
  • other experiences at the discretion of the Director
To Apply for Learning Experience Honors Credits

Study Abroad Experience

  • Student should submit an application for consideration of Honors credits here.
  • Upon confirmation of 6 UD credits with grades of B or above, 3 HCs will be awarded.
  • Upon confirmation of fewer than 6 but at least 3 UD credits with grades of B or above, 2 HCs will be awarded.

Activity Learning Experience

Student should submit an application for consideration of Honors credits here.

The application includes a summary of the experience (200 words) and a request to explain how the experience supported the student’s academic goals (100 words).

To complete the application, the student will request an email or letter from the experience on-site supervisor be sent to Ramona Speranza. The letter should include the number of hours worked or completed, the basic nature of the experience and a confirmation that the student completed the experience successfully.

Upon receipt of all materials the UHP Director will award the appropriate number of HCs for the experience.

  • 3 HCs for an experience at least 8 weeks long and of 200 hours or more *
  • 2 HCs for an experience between 3 to 8 weeks long and of at least 100 but less than 200 hours
  • 1 HC for an experience at least 2 weeks long and of at least 40 but less than 100 hours

*NOTE TO TEACHER EDUCATION MAJORS:  An application should be submitted after 8 weeks of student teaching so the approval process is complete before graduation.


Honors Program

Alumni Hall
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 0311