About the Program

Differentiate yourself academically, find new challenges, and personalize your university experience by joining the Honors Scholars Program (HSP) at CU Denver. The certificate program provides highly motivated students with unique learning experiences aimed to stimulate curiosity and critical thinking with flexible and personalized learning options. This program is meant to help you achieve your educational goals by developing your talents, providing opportunities to explore your passions, and feeding your intellectual curiosity.


To earn honors, students must complete 15 credit hours of honors-level work with CU Denver and maintain a 3.25 or better.

Students may do so in a variety of ways, including by completing:

  • an honors/majors section of a course, offered by a department
  • a 5000-level course (by permission of instructor or BA/BS to MA/MS courses)
  • departmental thesis credit
  • an honors contract negotiated with faculty to extend assignments in existing courses
  • an independent study (up to 6 credits)
  • CU Denver study abroad classes taken for credit (up to 6 credits)
  • internships taken for credit (up to 6 credits)

* All courses must be taken for a letter grade (no Pass/Fail).
* All courses must be B- or higher for the courses to count towards the certificate.
* UNHL courses can be counted up to 6 credits and can be counted for UHL and HSP.



Students may replace 3 credit hours of coursework with co-curricular or extra-curricular activities that may include but are not limited to:

  • Undergraduate (EUReCA!) research grants or other mentored research conferences, colloquia, or seminar presentations
  • Research and Creative Activities Symposium (RaCAS)
  • Performances
  • Exhibitions
  • Leadership activities
  • Community service and engagement
  • Uncredited Study abroad
  • Uncredited Internships

Submit co-curricular credit here. 

What is Honors Contract?


Pre-Approved Courses


CU Denver Honors Contracts for Non-Honors Designated Courses 

The primary purpose of the Honors Contract is to give students and instructors the opportunity to interact about challenging academic issues. Students and instructors should feel free to design an agreement in addition to general course expectations that is tailored to the specifics of their interaction, the expected work, and the course. Both instructors and students should be able to benefit from the honors enrichment contract work.   

Honors contracts are:

  • An opportunity for undergraduate research
  • A chance to delve deeper into your area of interest
  • A chance to do in-depth learning with a mentor
  • An opportunity to prepare for graduate level work

Honors contracts are not:

  • Part of the expected workload of the class
  • Busy work 

Timing:  Students should meet with the faculty member during the first two weeks of class to arrange the honors contract.   Students are expected to meet individually with the faculty outside of class time to discuss the project(s) at least once prior to submission of the project(s).  Additional meetings are recommended as agreed upon.  Meetings can be in-person, via zoom, via phone, or via email as agreed upon by the instructor and the student. 

Honors Contracts must include additional elements of labor beyond that of the already required coursework.  Below are examples of some but not all enrichment opportunities that the student and instructor might agree upon.   

  • Conduct an individual research project or assist with instructor research
  • Create, test, and/or evaluate a program
  • Prepare and present a class lecture
  • Complete a small group project with other honors students
  • Produce a research paper
  • Design and test a lab project 

To received honors designation, the additional elements of labor should be a minimum of 10 additional hours (in class and/or out of class work) beyond the regular course work and not including the meetings to arrange the honors enrichment contract.   

Please note that Honors activities are supplemental to regular course work and honors credit will be independent of the final grade. 

Sample Projects

Sample Honors Contract

Blank Honors Contract

Submit co-curricular credit here. 


The following courses are pre-approved and do not need Honors Contract

Course NumberTitleCredits
BIOL 2030Honors Organisms to Ecosystems (Gen Bio) 3
BIOL 2031Honors Organisms to Ecosystems Lab (Gen Bio) 1
BIOL 2040Honors Molecules to Cells3
BIOL 2041Honors Molecules to Cells Lab1
CHEM 2XXXMajors General Chemistry I lecture3
CHEM 2XXXMajors General Chemistry I laboratory2
CHEM 2XXXMajors General Chemistry II lecture3
CHEM 2XXX or 2069Majors General Chemistry II laboratory2
CHEM 2XXXHonors General Chemistry I3
CHEM 2XXXHonors General Chemistry I Laboratory 2
CHEM 2XXXHonors General Chemistry II Lecture3
CHEM 2XXXHonors General Chemistry II Laboratory2
CHEM 3XXXMajors Organic Chemistry I4
CHEM 3XXXMajors Organic Chemistry Laboratory I1
CHEM 3XXXMajors Organic Chemistry II 4
CHEM 3XXXMajors Organic Chemistry Laboratory II2
COMM 4700Thesis and Project Practicum3
ECON 4850Honors Independent Study: ECON1-3
ENGL 4720Honors in English3
ENGL 4740Honors in Writing3
GEOG 4950Honors Thesis 3
MARC XXXXMaximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC)1-3
MKTG 4051Honors Applied Marketing Management3
PHIL 4950Honors Thesis3-6

Final course grades must be B- or higher for the courses to count towards the certificate.


  • Current CU Denver student or newly admitted with a GPA of 3.25 or better
  • Students must begin the program before completing 105 credit hours
  • Students must maintain a 3.25 GPA or higher to maintain eligibility

How to Apply

If you are a current CU Denver student or have accepted admission to CU Denver, email us for a link to the application

Apply below for Undergraduate HSP Certificate Admission

Apply Now



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