University of Iowa Honors Program

This is the first version of the 2024–25 General Catalog. Please check back regularly for changes. The final edition and the historical PDF will be published during the fall semester.

The University of Iowa Honors Program is an open and welcoming community, and staff members help students tailor the honors experience to their particular circumstances and goals. The program's general objective is to enrich the undergraduate experience by cultivating intellectual curiosity and practical skill through challenging coursework, creative engagement, and experiential learning to nurture a deeper understanding of one's discipline and self.

What is especially unique about Honors at Iowa? It gives students the space and opportunities to make connections and develop self-authorship through self-discovery. For example, because honors classes are usually smaller than non-honors sections, honors students have the opportunity to form closer connections with their professors on campus. Such working relationships can change careers and lives through mutual discovery. Iowa honors students also make lasting connections and learn from each other through the unique fall semester workshop, HONR:1100 Honors Primetime, their honors first-year seminars, and the honors community.

The UI Honors Program is also unique in the strong emphasis it puts on experiential learning (learning by doing), which comprises half the program’s curricular requirements. Experiential learning takes the form of undergraduate research, study abroad, internships, teaching practica, being an honors ambassador or an Honors Writing Fellow (or both), and other opportunities. Learning by doing, besides being the most effective way of acquiring knowledge, also helps with self-discovery.

In general, students who are serious about their education and making a meaningful contribution to the world with their particular capabilities and gifts can be assured that the University of Iowa Honors Program will help them in their journey.

Unique Honors Academic Activities

Honors Outreach Ambassadors

Ambassadors earn academic credit for acquiring and then sharing knowledge of honors opportunities by organizing events around campus and meeting with prospective students and their families.

Honors Writing Fellows

Fellows are trained and paid to assist in undergraduate courses by mentoring a dozen students each semester on major writing assignments.

The Iowa Policy Research Organization

This organization selects honors students each year to earn academic credit by learning how to conduct policy analysis and then writing policy papers for Iowa communities and the Iowa Legislature.

Study Abroad and Internships

These opportunities with a reflective component or embedded project enable students to earn honors academic credit for their experience.

Learn more about honors activities and Experiential Learning on the honors program website.

Student explaining her poster to an onlooker.

Cocurricular Programs

Honors at Iowa offers students a rich variety of activities outside the classroom. Many honors students find cocurricular programming a good way to meet people, get involved, and learn more about themselves and the world around them. Some of the programs are volunteer-based, some offer pay, and some award honors credit. These opportunities provide peak educational experiences, especially extensive and intensive interactions with faculty mentors and other honors students.

  • Honors newsletters, which are written by honors student editors, inform readers on and beyond the campus about honors at the University of Iowa.
  • Honors student staff earn pay by staffing the UI Honors Program reception area and other duties as assigned.
  • Honors Peer Mentors earn pay by mentoring honors students.
  • The Iowa City Foreign Relations Council (ICFRC) hosts luncheon dialogues on current international issues. Past speakers include award-winning journalists, Nobel Peace Prize laureates, seasoned diplomats, prominent politicians, and policy analysts. Listening to and talking with these expert speakers allows honors students to become better informed about world affairs.
  • The Presidential Scholars Program (PSP) engages recipients of the Presidential Fellowship in shared classes, opportunities for prestigious fellowships, and unique programming. Presidential Fellows participate in events with faculty and key administrators, scholarship and fellowship mentoring programs, and volunteer projects.

To learn more, visit Opportunities on the honors program website.