Finding The Right Honors Program at University of Texas Austin

If your student is driven and curious, they might be looking for a more rigorous curriculum than what standard majors offer. At UT Austin, that comes in the form of freshman honors programs. 

There's no central honors college at UT Austin. Instead, the university offers a mix of college-wide honors programs, department-specific honors programs, and honors majors that are open to freshmen applicants based on their first-choice major. After students submit their application for admission to the university, they will then gain access to the honors program application.

While each program offers something different, honors programs usually include the following:

  • Program-specific classes open only to honors students
  • Individualized advising
  • Research opportunities
  • Exposure to innovators in their fields
  • Access to dedicated honors housing

College-Wide Honors Programs

College-wide honors programs require that students complete a separate major within the college. For example, you might major in Mexican American Studies within the Liberal Arts Honors program. Here are the options for college-wide honors programs:

  • Liberal Arts Honors Program
  • Engineering Honors Program
  • Moody College Honors Program
  • Natural Sciences Honors Programs: Dean's Scholars, Health Science Scholars, and Polymathic Scholars

Department-Specific Honors Programs

The Natural Sciences Honors Program also includes two department-specific honors programs, which means that the program is only open to students in a specific department within the school. Those two programs are as follows:

  • Turing Scholars (Computer Science)
  • Human Ecology Honors (Advanced Human Development and Family Sciences or Advanced Nutritional Sciences)

Honors Majors

Perhaps the most well-known honors programs are UT Austin's honors majors:

  • Business Honors Program (McCombs School of Business)
  • Plan II Honors Program (College of Liberal Arts)

Students can pursue these majors alone, but most complete at least one other major. 

Maybe because of its unusual name, there's some mystery surrounding Plan II Honors. Plan II is a true interdisciplinary liberal arts degree with a reputation for being one of the most prestigious college honors programs in the U.S. Students who apply to Plan II frequently have Ivy League and other state flagship institutions on their college lists. Plan II Honors graduates enter a variety of career fields and often pursue graduate/professional programs, including medical and law schools. 

Given the wide variety of honors program options at UT Austin, we recommend that students conduct thorough research on each program, which should include attending information sessions for programs of interest. And remember: if a student is genuinely interested in pursuing an honors program, there's no reason not to: their honors application will have no effect on their general admission to UT.