University Honors Program

Program Director: Michael E. Sloane, Ph.D.
Associate Director: William J. Rushton, IV, Ph.D.
Program Manager: Donna Andrews, M.P.A.
Student Counselor: Rebecca Freeman, M.A.

The University Honors Program draws on the wide range of resources available at a comprehensive research university and concentrates those resources within a small, personal, liberal arts setting. Designed for students who want to satisfy their intellectual curiosity both inside and outside the classroom, the program accepts about 50 students a year representing a wide variety of disciplines, backgrounds, and interests. The program offers an innovative, interdisciplinary arts and sciences curriculum taught by faculty who are known for their excellence in teaching and scholarship. Without delaying progress toward a degree, the University Honors Program provides students an opportunity to participate in a community of committed scholars, to form close relationships with faculty, to explore new ideas, and to share their ideas and interests in the friendly confines of the Spencer Honors House. 


Students in the University Honors Program (UHP) receive a more intensive and innovative education that consists of a 33 credit hour interdisciplinary arts and sciences curriculum that replaces a student’s regular core curriculum without adding any additional time to degree completion. Students take two, nine-credit hour interdisciplinary courses and five UHP honors seminars on topics not offered in the regular academic departments. Since the five UHP honors seminars are capped at 16 UHP students, they get to know their instructors and other students very well, providing a sense of community and identity within the larger university context. UHP students have the opportunity to develop their leadership skills by involvement with several student-lead UHP committees and university-wide organizations and initiatives. UHP students receive priority registration and are typically involved in undergraduate research mentored by renowned faculty.

The Spencer Honors House, with all of its facilities, belongs exclusively to students in the UHP and is accessible to them at all times. UHP students have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of cultural, social, and scholarly events and are funded to present their research at state, regional, and national honors conferences.  After completing the program, students graduate with a special designation on their transcripts. In addition, UHP students are recognized annually at the UHP Honors Day ceremony. Graduation from the UHP, with its broad interdisciplinary arts and sciences curriculum gives students a distinct advantage when applying for national awards and scholarships as well as graduate or professional schools.

Spencer Honors House

The center of identity and community for the University Honors Program is the Spencer Honors House, located on campus in the spacious and attractive environment of the Old Church at 1190 10th Avenue South. All instructional and social activities of the University Honors Program take place there. The Spencer Honors House is also available for day-to-day use by UHP students for recreation, studying, meeting, and relaxing. The facilities include a kitchen, lounge areas, library, computer clusters, and pool and Ping-Pong tables. The offices of the director, associate director, program manager, and student counselor are also located in the Spencer Honors House.


The Hess-Abroms Honors Scholarships, awarded annually, are valued at $24,000 each and provide $6,000 per year. Application is open to incoming freshmen. The award is based on superior academic achievement, creativity or talent, strong motivation, character, and intellectual promise. Application materials are made available at the time of interview. The University Honors Program also has a number of smaller ($1,000-$2,000) annual scholarships that are awarded in May each year. Students who have committed to entering the program can apply for these scholarships that are distributed based on merit and need.


For more information on applying to the Honors College or its programs, visit

Honors Coursework

Instead of the 41 semester hours of Core Curriculum requirements, students in the University Honors Program take 33 semester hours of honors coursework and three semester hours in mathematics. In addition, they participate in a variety of special events, most of which are centered in the Spencer Honors House. While in no way delaying progress toward a degree or interfering with commitment to a major, the University Honors Program provides a stimulating range and depth of scholarly pursuits within an interdisciplinary arts and sciences context. Students have frequent individual contact with the teaching faculty and have unusual opportunities for independent projects and research.

Honors students have two options for completing their 33 semester hours in honors:

  • Two 9-semester-hour fall-semester interdisciplinary honors courses plus five 3-semester-hour honors seminars (only two of which can be related to the student’s major or minor); or
  • Two 9-semester-hour fall-semester interdisciplinary honors courses, a minimum of three 3-semester-hour honors seminars (not related to the student’s major or minor), and up to six semester hours of departmental honors coursework within the student’s major (with the total number of semester hours adding up to 33).

The interdisciplinary honors courses are offered during the fall semester and are open only to University Honors students. These courses are team-taught by faculty members (usually six) from different schools in the university and by guest lecturers from the medical center, the business, and other areas. Each interdisciplinary course is organized thematically and designed to cover a broad range of material so the student is introduced to all areas covered by the Core Curriculum and to a wide variety of other areas as well. Topics of past interdisciplinary courses have included “Minds and Realities," "In Search of Human nature," "It's About Time," and "The Anatomy of Desire." As part of the course, each student works on an independent project related to the central theme. Since instructors are committed to full-time teaching of this course, students receive ample advice and guidance on their projects.

The University Honors program offers about 18-20 different honors seminars each year. Some are cross-listed in other departments and so are open to all students at UAB. These seminars are offered during the fall semester, spring semester, and summer term and are limited to 16 students. Honors seminars are available in a variety of different fields and focus on issues that are of major interest within the field and also have implications and applications beyond it. Examples of honors seminars which have been taught are "Ethnographic Filmmaking," " China's Next phase," "Cognitive Brain Imaging," Philosophy, Psychology, and the Economics of Happiness," Existentialism and Modern Literature."

Additional Information about the Curriculum Core Requirement in Mathematics

In addition to the honors coursework, University Honors Program students must fulfill the mathematics requirement of Area III of the Core Curriculum.

Credit for Participation in Honors

Students may receive up to three semester hours of credit, graded on a pass/fail basis, for participating in the range of special events sponsored by the University Honors Program. Those events include:

  • The monthly lecture
  • First Thursday Lecture series
  • Afternoon receptions for visiting speakers
  • The fall film series
  • Workshops
  • Field trips

Credit for Community Service

Students may receive up to three semester hours of credit, graded on a pass/fail basis, for completing long-term service projects. Available projects are announced before each semester and typically include:

  • Work at a recycling center
  • Homeless shelter
  • Public school

As well as regular meetings to reflect on these service projects.

Independent Study

Students may propose an internship or independent study project in place of one seminar. An example of such a project is an internship at city hall, leading to a policy proposal on some area of city government. Proposals for these projects must be approved by the Honors Council.

Honors Research

Students can register for one, two, or three credit hours of Honors Research, and receive a letter grade for their research. Students arrange for a research mentor and conduct a project under the guidance of a faculty mentor.

Continuation in the Program

A student who leaves the University Honors Program for any reason will receive full credit toward graduation for all coursework completed in the program. The director of the University Honors Program will designate which of the Core Curriculum requirements have been fulfilled by the individual student’s honors coursework. In addition to the UAB Honors College's requirement to maintain a 3.0 cumulative UAB GPA, UHP students are expected to maintain a 3.0 average in University Honors Program coursework.

First TermHoursSecond TermHours
Select three 100 level Honors courses - selection is dependent on Fall offereing19One Honors Seminar 3
Select two (non-honors) courses in major/pre-professional courses6Select four (non-honors) courses in major/pre-professional courses12
 15 15
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
Select three 200 level Honors courses - selection is dependent on Fall offering29One Honors Seminar3
Select two (non-honors) courses in major/professional courses6Select four (non-honors) courses in major/pre-professional courses12
 15 15
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
One Honors Seminar3One Honors Seminar3
Select four (non-honors) courses in major/pre-professional courses12Select four (non-honors) courses in major/pre-professional courses12
 15 15
First TermHoursSecond TermHours
One Honors Seminar3Select five courses in major/minor/pre-professional courses15
Select four (non-honors) courses in major/minor/professional courses12 
 15 15
Total credit hours: 120

Select 3 of the following: hon 101, hon 102, hon 103, hon 104,hon 105, hon 106, hon 107, hon 108, hon 109,hon 111, hon 151, hon 152, hon 154,hon 155, hon 156, hon 157, hon 159, hon 161,hon 162


 Select 3 of the following: HON 201, HON 202, HON 203, HON 204, HON 205, HON 206, HON 207, Hon 208, HOn 209, HON 211, HON 251, HON 252, hon 254, hon 255, hon 257, hon 258, hon 259, hon 261, hon 262


HON 377. Seminar: Quilting. 3 Hours.

This course focuses on the art of quilting and its social and cultural context. The history of quilting is examined in an interdisciplinary context. Quilts will be made as part of a group project.