University Honors Program

California State University, Long Beach                                              Policy Statement


April 25, 2022

University Honors Program


(This policy supersedes PS 16-16 and 08-12. It was recommended by the Academic Senate on April 14, 2022 and

approved by the President on April 18, 2022.)




1.         University Honors Program

The University Honors Program exists to meet the needs of diverse high-performing students who want an enriched undergraduate experience. It offers two main options: Plan 1 is for freshmen and Plan 2 for transfer and continuing students. The University Honors Program also offers specialized options, “tracks,” such as General, Business, and Engineering. There is also a Global emphasis option. 


In order to graduate from the University Honors Program, a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or better is required.


Guidelines for admission to the University Honors Program and changes to the curriculum are proposed by the Director of the University Honors Program and the

Honors Council and approved by the Curriculum and Educational Policies Council.


2.         Courses

               2.1      Approval of Courses

The identification and staffing of courses to be offered as a part of General

Education for students taking Honors are decisions made by the Director of the University Honors Program following consultation with the Honors Council.  


               2.2      Definition of Honors Courses

Honors courses are different from most undergraduate offerings both in content and in the way they are taught. Honors courses include deeper emphasis on theory and/or on addressing complex issues. The assigned readings are normally scholarly works, both books and articles, rather than textbooks. Class time is devoted to discussions designed to give students the opportunity for critical thinking and analysis. The emphasis is on written papers or projects, not standardized testing. Assignments are constructed to accommodate individual student interests and intellectual concerns. Students in the University Honors Program often embark on more challenging and creative assignments, are less dependent upon the assistance of their instructors in understanding assigned readings, and to function at a more advanced stage of critical analysis.



3.          Thesis/Creative Project

The thesis/creative project is intended to provide the opportunity for personal intellectual growth. It can take the form of original research or creative effort, and it may incorporate study abroad, community-based learning, or an internship component. It can also be a project that is demonstrated, performed, or exhibited. Accordingly, the form that the research preparation (UHP 496) and writing or demonstration or performance or exhibition (UHP 498) may take will vary with the student. The end product may be a scholarly paper, a performance, or an exhibition. A creative project must be accompanied by a reflective written component that speaks to its formation, artistic and other considerations, as well as lessons learned through the creative process. The Director of the University Honors Program will determine the appropriate format for the thesis/creative project in consultation with the faculty member supervising the student's work.



4.          Honors Council

The University Honors Program shall have an Honors Council composed of:  

  • The Director of the University Honors Program (ex officio, voting);  
  • The Provost, or designee (ex officio, non-voting);  
  • Up to 17 college representatives, preferably with experience teaching in the program and/or supervising honors thesis/creative projects. Representatives will be elected by the respective college Faculty Councils. They include:  o up to four from the College of Liberal Arts; o up to three from the College of Health and Human Services; o and up to two from each of the other colleges.   
  • Two honors students selected by the Director of the University Honors Program, in consultation with the Honors Associate Directors;
  • Honors Associate Directors (ex officio, voting).


Terms shall be for two years in the case of faculty and one year in the case of students. Members shall be eligible for re-appointment. 

The Honors Council shall conduct a minimum of one meeting each semester and shall conduct review of program admissions and scholarship applications beyond its primary function as a consulting body for the University Honors Program.


5.          Honors in the Major Programs

Honors in the Major differ from the University Honors Program. Students in University Honors whose major department offers an Honors in the Major Program may apply to participate in both programs, in which case the University Honors Program thesis/creative project would be satisfied through the Honors in the Major option.


Course proposals for Honors in the Major and the creation of honors-specific courses other than University Honors must be approved by (1) the Department Curriculum Committee and Department Chair; (2) the college curriculum committee; and (3) the

Director of the University Honors Program, following consultation with the Honors Council. The management and staffing of the thesis/creative project must be approved by the respective department chair, as well as by the Director of the University Honors Program for students completing both Honors in the major and the University Honors Program.


EFFECTIVE: Immediately