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Northwestern University

Honors in Your Major

Weinberg College students who do outstanding work in their majors may graduate with department or program honors. There may be several requirements for graduating with honors in your major, and details vary among majors, so be sure to consult with your major adviser or the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the department or program. 

Common requirements

Departments may add other criteria to this list. Each department and program offering a major has a written policy on honors that meets standards set up by the Weinberg Committee on Undergraduate Academic Excellence to preserve uniformity throughout the college.

You must be formally nominated for honors by your department or program in spring of the year you complete your honors project and then approved by the Weinberg College Committee on Undergraduate Academic Excellence. Nomination to this committee does not guarantee the award of honors; the committee makes the final determination.

If you are working on a thesis in a Weinberg major during your senior year and hope that it will be considered for department or program honors, you should not graduate in December or March. Decisions about honors are made in the spring, and students who have graduated are not considered. You don't have to register for classes through June, but should indicate a June graduation date on your Graduation Petition.

Plan ahead to pursue honors

If you are considering pursuing honors in your major, you should speak with your College Adviser and your major adviser as soon as possible, even if you don’t have a particular project in mind.  There are several reasons to plan ahead.  First, completing an honors thesis can influence a number of other decisions, such as whether to study abroad or complete a second major.  Second, departments have different timetables and methods for selecting students for their honors program and for when students begin work on their project, and you’ll need to know the protocol in your major.  For example, some select potential honors candidates in spring of the junior year. Finally, since your overall record plays an important role in determining whether you can pursue honors, the more you can prepare and strategize with your advisers, the better.

Honors in two departments 

A student with two Weinberg majors who is interested in pursuing honors in both subjects should indicate that intent to each department or program in initial discussions about honors and should mention it in department or program honors applications. If the projects are distinct, the student may pursue honors in each department. If, however, the projects overlap and inform each other, the student may do a single, synthetic project designed to lead to honors in interdisciplinary studies. See our webpage on Pursuing Honors in Two Departments or Programs if you are interested in either of these options.

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