Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of being part of the Honors College?

There are many benefits to being in the Honors College, which is designed to enhance a student’s educational experience at USF with additional rigor, course options, and extracurricular opportunities.

Top Ten Reasons to be Part of the Honors College at USF

  1. All Honors College classes are small (20 students or fewer) seminars with ample opportunity to interact with faculty from across the university and engage with a wide variety of assignments and course projects.
  2. Students making adequate process in completing the Honors College curriculum receive Priority Registration, allowing them to register before most other categories of student. 
  3. Students who complete the Honors College curriculum will receive a distinction on their academic transcript.
  4. The Honors College offers workshops for students on graduate school, careers, and skills-building to complement students’ academic activities and prepare them for the future.
  5. Honors College students have the opportunity to get to know students from across the university as we accept students from all majors across the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Nursing, and School of Management.
  6. Students in the Honors College have the opportunity to complete some of the Core Curriculum through smaller Honors College classes. 
  7. Honors College students have unlimited access to the innovative Honors College Forum courses, which bring together academic rigor with unique, interdisciplinary topics.
  8. As a member of the Honors College, students have special opportunities to meet and engage with the J. Paul Getty Distinguished Visiting Artists in Residence. Past artists have included Indian activist and author Vandana Shiva, award-winning poet Li-Young Lee, and Emmy-award winning comedian and social commentator W. Kamau Bell.
  9. Honors College students have the opportunity to participate in our Global JumpStart Programs, as well as to work with faculty as research assistants, and apply to receive funding for these opportunities.
  10. As a member of the Honors College you have the opportunity to meet students and faculty from across the university and create connections that will last a lifetime!


    What is the Honors College?

    The Honors College is a dynamic community focused on liberal arts foundations with an emphasis of the global humanities, interdisciplinary inquiry, global perspective, and experiential education. Bringing together students from all undergraduate majors across the university, the Honors College offers students opportunities to engage in a culture of collaborative inquiry on campus, in San Francisco, and around the world.

    Is there an added cost or difference in tuition price if I'm in the Honors College?

    No, there is no additional cost or tuition difference if you're in the Honors College.

    How do I apply to the Honors College?

    During the process of regular USF admission, students who meet minimum USF-calculated GPA requirements are able to apply for admissions to the USF Honors College. A separate application for the Honors College will be sent to eligible students. Successful applicants will have excellent academic and extra-curricular records, and demonstrate creativity, leadership, and an understanding of the Honors College mission.

    Who are Getty Scholars?

    Getty Scholars are students who apply for, and receive, the J. Paul Getty Fellowship. New first-year students with exemplary academic, creative, and leadership records may be invited to apply for the J. Paul Getty Fellowship. Getty Scholars receive funding every year for up to four years to engage in educational enrichment activities such as research assistantships, internships, and some study abroad and immersion programs. To receive their funds every year, Getty Scholars must make steady progress towards the completion of the Honors College curriculum and requirements. The J. Paul Getty Fellowship does not apply towards tuition nor room and board.

    How do I apply to be a Getty Scholar?

    Incoming first-year students who are invited to apply to the Honors College may also be invited to apply for the J. Paul Getty Fellowship.

    If I am not a Getty Scholar, are there any funding opportunities for me in the Honors College?

    Yes. There are some funding scholarship opportunities for students who do not receive Getty Fellowships to use toward conference travel, research, internship, and immersion and study abroad opportunities. Instructions on how to apply for these opportunities will be emailed to Honors College students when they become available.

    Does the Honors College only permit particular majors?

    The Honors College welcomes all majors from all schools and colleges. The Honors College Curriculum is designed so that is able to completed regardless of major.

    How big are the classes in the Honors College?

    Courses are seminar-style and are capped at 20 students or fewer.

    What is the relationship between Honors College classes and the USF Core Curriculum?

    Students in the Honors College will be able to fulfill several of their USF Core requirements by taking Honors College courses. Four-unit Honors College courses in the Liberal Arts Foundations, Global Perspectives, and Experiential Engagement categories will also fulfill one of the USF Core Areas. These courses “double-dip” – in other words, they fulfill both the Core requirement and the Honors College requirement. Beginning with the 2021-2022 academic year, the Honors College offers classes is all Core areas except Community Engaged Learning. We hope to offer classes that fulfill CEL beginning with the 2022-2023 academic year.

    I’m a current USF student and not a first-year. May I apply to the Honors College?

    You may be eligible to apply, provided the Honors College has space available in a given academic year. Learn more about the criteria and when the application opens on our admissions page.

    I’m a transfer student, am I able to apply to join the Honors College. May I apply to the Honors College?

    Most transfer students will not be at USF long enough to complete the full 24-unit Honors College Curriculum. Beginning with the spring 2022 semester, transfer students will have the opportunity to apply for the Honors College Transfer Certificate program, which provides a smaller version of the Honors College curriculum. More information on the certificate will be available in fall 2021.

    Is there a minimum GPA to remain in the Honors College?

    Yes. The minimum GPA is 3.5. Periodic evaluations of student progress through the Honors College curriculum will be carried out by HONC advisers.

    Will I graduate on time in the Honors College?

    The Honors College will not slow you down in any way. The 24-unit Honors College Curriculum is designed to be able to be completed by students in any major. Advisers in the Honors College and in your major(s) will work with you to help you stay on track toward graduation.

    I have AP/ IB credits that count towards Core requirements. Do they count towards the Honors College?

    We generally want students to complete their Honors College requirements at USF, however, in special circumstances GAP/IB credits may count towards up to 4 units of Honors College credit, based on evaluation and approval by the Honors College director.

    Do I get special housing arrangements with the Honors College?

    At this time, the Honors College does not provide housing. Students are able to apply for on-campus housing through the regular procedures.

    My major doesn’t have an honors program in it. Can I still be in the Honors College?

    Yes, the Honors College is a separate curriculum from Honors Programs within individual majors. Students are able to both be in the Honors College and in Honors Programs in their majors, but they do not have to be in both.

    My major requires me to do a thesis or capstone project. If I’m in the Honors College, do I have to then do two projects instead of one?

    No. If you complete a capstone or Honors Thesis within your major, that will count for your Honors College Capstone requirement. However, we encourage you to still take the Honors College 2-unit interdisciplinary Capstone course to round-out your Honors College experience.

    What if I start the Honors College curriculum but don’t complete it?

    Credits for courses that you take within the Honors College will count toward your 128 units required for graduation even if you leave the Honors College at some point. Students are expected to make consistent progress in completing the Honors College curriculum in order to receive the benefits of the Honors College, such as priority registration and access to scholarships.