Honors College

The University Honors College is one of the most comprehensive and academically rich programs of its kind in the country. The Honors College emphasizes experiential learning, providing transforming life experiences inside and outside of the traditional classroom by encouraging study abroad, internships, and community service. The program fosters in-depth scholarship by encouraging multiple degrees in diverse subjects, undergraduate research, graduate work, capstone courses, and an Honors Thesis. With access to advanced educational opportunities, and special recognition and privileges, our Honors Scholars experience the best that a large research university can provide and the personal attention expected from an elite small college.

Each year, the University at Buffalo invites 325 exceptional incoming freshmen students to participate in the Honors College. Students admitted into the program have unique academic opportunities including special seminar courses, faculty mentors, an undergraduate research and creative activities fund, scholarship support for Honors College scholars who study abroad, involvement in programs designed to connect students with faculty across campus, early registration and priority housing. Students who wish to be considered for admission to the Honors College must complete an online interest form by January 5th each year. More information about criteria for consideration and the online interest form is available on the Honors College website

The Honors College provides two comprehensive, university-wide options for academically talented students: the Honors College for incoming freshmen students and the Advanced Honors Program for upper-division current UB and transfer students. Students accepted to each program receive special benefits, allowing them to create educational experiences unique to their individual interests.

With globalization and the shifting economic, technological, and cultural landscape it is likely students will change jobs several times over the course of their career. As a result, they must be creative and nimble to succeed in the international marketplace of ideas. They must be scholars of the first order, be able to work effectively with people of virtually every background, all the while being sensitive to the needs of their community. The Honors College helps prepare students for the 21st century by:

  • Emphasizing experiential learning and providing transforming life experiences both inside and outside the traditional classroom by encouraging study abroad, internships, and community service.
  • Fostering in-depth scholarship by encouraging multiple degrees in diverse subjects, undergraduate research, graduate work, capstone courses, and an Honors thesis.
  • Requiring a detailed annual review of career plans with our professional advisement staff, recognizing that the majority of students change their majors during their university years, often with unexpected opportunities.
  • Conferring a strong Honors experience throughout all four years at UB, enhancing the interaction of students and faculty mentors, and producing a strong network of scholars for the future.

The responsibilities of an Honors College Scholar that enters as a freshman include successfully completing 24 credits of honors coursework, including the Honors Colloquium in the fall semester freshman year and completing two Honors seminars, one each semester of the freshman year. Students should maintain a minimum semester and overall Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.3 during the first year and at least a 3.5 GPA in each successive year to graduate with an overall GPA of 3.5.

Beyond Colloquium (2 credits) and 2 Honors seminars (3 credits each), students select and complete 16 credit hours of Honors Experiences from the following list before graduation (to reach the required total of 24 honors credits):

  • Undergraduate research*
  • Independent study*
  • Internship or practicum*
  • Study abroad*
  • Undergraduate supervised teaching*
  • Graduate coursework
  • Departmental Honors coursework
  • Departmental Honors thesis or project*
  • Senior Capstone coursework
  • Contract Honors coursework
  • Honors Experience Petition
  • Additional Honors Seminar

* Denotes non-coursework category


  • 8 credits must be completed by the end of the freshman year (credits earned through the Honors Colloquium and two Honors Seminars) and 16 credits total must be completed by the end of the junior year to maintain good standing in the Honors College.
  • A maximum of 9 credit hours per category are allowable.
  • At least 3 credits must come from non-coursework categories, denoted with *.
  • A total of 3 Honors Seminars may be taken.
  • Courses in a student’s major may be used to meet the Honors Experience requirements.

Advanced Honors Program

Each semester, highly qualified current university students are invited to apply for admission to the Advanced Honors Program. Students are eligible to apply once they have completed 45 credit hours and have a minimum overall GPA of 3.5 (including all transfer credit). The program provides an individualized honors opportunity for academically talented students, including those who may not have been eligible for the Honors College upon admission to the university. In addition to completing an application for admission to the program, students must also write a personal statement addressing their educational goals and aspirations, and must provide one faculty letter of recommendation. Application deadlines are October 1 for the fall semester and March 1 for the spring semester.

The Advanced Honors Program requires maintenance of a 3.5 UB undergraduate GPA and the completion of 16 credits to include the Advanced Honors Colloquium course (HON 299), six credit hours of Honors coursework (chosen from honors contracts, departmental honors coursework, graduate coursework or an honors seminar), 3 credit hours of Honors experiential coursework (options include independent study, internship/practicum, study abroad, research and undergraduate supervised teaching) and 6 credit hours of senior thesis/capstone coursework under the direction of two faculty advisors. Eight credits must be completed by the end of the junior year to maintain good standing in the Honors College. In return, Advanced Honors Scholars receive early registration privileges, opportunities for funding for research, thesis and study abroad experiences, special advisement, and commencement and transcript recognition of their excellence.

Presidential Scholarship Program

The Presidential Scholarship Program offers full scholarships for four years of undergraduate study at UB for a select group of the top entering freshmen students. These scholarships cover the cost of an undergraduate education at UB, including tuition, room and board, and fees. The value of the Presidential Scholarship increases as educational costs rise. Students awarded the Presidential Scholarship automatically receive admission to the Honors College, enjoying all of the special privileges accorded to Honors College Scholars. Presidential Scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit.

Competitive applicants should present a score of at least 1470 on the math and critical reading sections of the SAT or 33 composite score on the ACT and a minimum unweighted high school average of 95. Applicants must also submit the Presidential Scholarship application, which is available from the Honors College office and must be on file in the Honors College office by January 5th each year. In addition, students must file the SUNY or the Common Application for admission to UB; this must be on file by December 1 and complete by December 15 of the application year. Offers are typically made beginning mid-February.

Information concerning the Honors College, and applications for Presidential Honors Scholarships and the Advanced Honors Program, are available from the Honors College, University at Buffalo, 106 Capen Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260-1670, 716-645-3020. Additional information can be found on the Honors College website.

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