University Honors

Honors Diplomas

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Note: All diplomas only count 6 credits from each "way" (1 - 16) i.e. if a student has taken BIOL 1205H, 1206H (4 credits + 4 credits) 6 of the 8 credits will apply to the Honors diploma.

Honors Scholar

In order to receive the Honors Scholar diploma, you must:

  • Complete 18 hours of Honors credit.
  • Order your Honors diploma during the first part of the semester in which you will graduate. Watch for university-honors-g e-mails on the diploma order process.

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in Honors

In order to receive the in Honors diploma, you must:

  • Complete 21 hours of Honors credit including 6 credits of undergraduate research.
  • Meet the requirements of your major department(s) for this diploma.
  • Some departments have additional requirements (e.g. public presentation or faculty committee approval) for the Honors diploma. It is your responsibility to consult with the Honors advisor in your department(s) about any special requirements.
  • You must, in consultation with your faculty mentor, write a thesis in the format of the discipline in which the thesis is written. If you are doing thesis research in a department other than your primary major department, a faculty member in the primary major department should serve either on the committee that evaluates the thesis or should read and approve the thesis in conjunction with the faculty mentor
  • Once the thesis is complete, the faculty mentor must write a short letter stating that you have done Honors-level undergraduate research and that s/he approves the research and thesis for the Honors diploma. In place of a letter, the members of your thesis committee may sign the Thesis Approval Form.
  • Order your Honors diploma during the first part of the semester in which you will graduate. Watch for university-honors-g e-mails on the diploma order process. If you would like to schedule an appointment with Christina McIntyre or Russell Shrader, you are welcome to do so.
  • You must submit the final copy of your thesis and the letter from the faculty mentor or the signed thesis approval form to University Honors no later than the Friday one week prior to graduation by 5:00 p.m. Failure to submit the thesis and supporting letter or form will result in the diploma being held by the University Registrar.

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Honors Baccalaureate

In order to receive the Honors Baccalaureate diploma, you must:

  • Have a minimum of two majors or one major and two minors.
  • Meet with Christina McIntyre in the fall of your junior year to confirm plans for completing the diploma.
  • Create a committee of advisors with no less than two faculty members (one from each major if two majors). Consult with them about your thesis. Meet the thesis requirements of the department(s) of your major(s).
  • Meet with the honors advisors in the department of your major(s) at least four semesters before graduation to discuss the specific thesis requirements of each department.
  • Thesis requirements may vary by department and it is recommended that the student meet with the departmental Honors advisor to discuss specific requirements for the major (format, length, depth of discussion, presentation, defense, etc.)
  • Complete a minimum of 6 credits of tutorials (4974) with a member of the faculty.
  • Complete a minimum of 6 credits of undergraduate research (4994) with a professor in your major.
  • Complete an additional 12 Honors credits for a total of 24 Honors credits.
  • Write a thesis that is approved by a faculty member in each major in which you will receive the Honors Baccalaureate. The thesis approval form must be signed by the faculty members on your committee. NOTE: If the thesis is not relevant to both majors the Baccalaureate diploma will only be recognized for the major(s) for which the thesis applies.
  • Order your Honors diploma during the first part of the semester in which you will graduate. Watch for university-honors-g e-mails on the diploma order process. If you would like to schedule an appointment with Christina McIntyre, you are welcome to do so.

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Scholar in Health Studies

In order to receive the Scholar in Health Studies diploma, you must:

  • Complete the minor in Medicine & Society
  • Complete a minimum of 12 Honors credits
  • Order your Honors diploma during the first part of the semester in which you will graduate. Watch for university-honors-g e-mails on the diploma order process.
  • Note: Honors credit does not have to be in the minor.
    Keep in mind that many of the courses for the minor are not Honors credit, but can be raised to the level of Honors credit (see ways to earn Honors credit).

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Commonwealth Scholar

This diploma is used by students who:

  1. transfer from another college or university
  2. transfer into University Honors after their third semester; or
  3. choose the Accelerated Undergraduate / Graduate degree program.

It is ONLY available to students who enter University Honors five semesters or less from graduation or who choose the accelerated undergraduate / graduate degree program.

In order to receive the Commonwealth Scholar diploma, you must:

  • Complete 12 hours of Honors credit.
  • Order your Honors diploma during the first part of the semester in which you will graduate. Watch for university-honors-g e-mails on the diploma order process.

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Honors Global Scholar

The Honors Global Scholar Diploma requires a minimum of 12 honors credits. Students wishing to apply for this diploma are expected to meet with an honors director no later than the fall semester of their Junior year to discuss the requirements. The areas listed below may double-count toward the 12 required honors credits for this diploma if they fall under the ways to earn honors credit.

This diploma is used by students who:

  1. have one full semester or nine academic credits of an approved study abroad program(s).
  2. have six credits of university-level language study.
  3. participate in six credits of global context courses.
  4. Earn a minimum of 60 hours of service in the area of global engagement. Ut Prosim.


1. Study Abroad: this requirement may be fulfilled by more than one study abroad experience.

2. Language: high school (AP/IB/dual enrollment) credits will not be accepted in lieu of this requirement. Students starting a new language at Virginia Tech are expected to take a minimum of 6 credits in their new language. Students continuing foreign language study from high school are expected to take 6 credits at the 3000 level.

3. Global Context: University Honors views it essential that students have a more informed understanding of their international experiences both in preparation and following their travel. This requirement must be reviewed and approved by the Honors Global Scholar Diploma advisor. The material must emphasize the culture of the host country. Courses can be taken pre-departure, during your academic experience abroad, or upon returning to Virginia Tech. Credit-bearing pre-departure courses organized by the study abroad program may be used toward this requirement. Documentation of approved courses will be included in the student’s Honors file.

4. Ut Prosim: Students will develop a plan that must be approved and verified by one of the honors directors. Service by definition is without remuneration. A log sheet provided by University Honors should be kept to document hours, which must be verified by a supervisor. Below are examples of service in the area of global engagement:

  • Serve as an international program ambassador. These students generally promoteprograms as well as mentor and advise outgoing participants.
  • Serve as a Global Education Office peer advisor.
  • Serve as an ambassador or “buddy” to current Virginia Tech international students through Cranwell International Center or the Language & Culture Institute.
  • Serve as an English as a Second Language tutor or conversation partner.
  • Be an active participant in an organization that raises awareness of global issues.
  • Other service or service-learning activities with a meaningful international impact will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

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Accelerated Undergraduate / Graduate Degree Program

Graduate catalog link for more information

(Note: This is not an Honors diploma. Students electing this option can stay in Honors if they are accepted to the accelerated program. They can elect to earn the Commonwealth Scholar Honors diploma for their undergraduate degree)

In accordance with the new CGS&P policy, which began in Fall 2010 for the accelerated undergraduate/graduate degree programs, “each graduate degree program wishing to offer one or more accelerated undergraduate/graduate degree programs must submit a written description of their program to the Graduate School for review and approval before students may be admitted hereto”. 
Consistent with Graduate School policy, the standards for each program must meet the minimum requirements but can exceed these (e.g., GPA, fewer number of courses to double counted).  These regulations include the following:

  • Students must be accepted into the program prior to the beginning of the semester in which they would enroll in courses to be used on the accelerated program.  Students qualifying for the program must be in the last 12 months of their undergraduate degree
  • A maximum of 12 credits of graded coursework may be used in the program
  • No more than 6 of the double-counted credits may be at the 4000 level; all others must be offered for graduate credit
  • A grade of B or higher must be earned in each course to be double counted
  • Courses must not be taken pass-fail if a graded option is available

Programs that intend to accept students into an accelerated graduate program must submit a proposal to the graduate school that includes the following:

  • Accelerated program(s) you wish to offer
  • Graduate degrees included - master’s or doctoral degrees or both
  • Admission criteria and application materials required, including but not necessarily limited to student status, minimum GPA requirement, statement of motivation and career objectives, student’s experience and qualifications as reflected in a résumé, a portfolio, and/or letters of reference
  • the number of credits to be double counted towards undergraduate and graduate degrees
  • Process for identifying potential students and faculty advisors, and for mentoring during program
  • Tentative listing of courses that the department expects to be used for graduate plans of study for students in the program
  • Other conditions or aspects of the proposed program as appropriate.

** Other options for undergraduates taking graduate courses**

Undergraduates Taking Graduate Courses


Students in their senior year, with a 3.0 or better GPA, may enroll in 5000-level courses satisfying undergraduate degree requirements within their department with the permission of the course instructor and the Department Head.

Dual Student Status

Seniors in a bachelor's degree, who have a GPA of 3.0 or better may be eligible for Dual Status during the final semester of their undergraduate degree. To obtain this status, students must file an application for the master's degree and the Concurrent Undergraduate and Graduate Status Form (for obtaining Dual Status). The department reviews the student for master’s acceptance and, if this is recommended, indicates on the Admission Analysis form that the student will be accepted for Dual Status for the final semester of the undergraduate degree. This acceptance must  occur prior to the final semester of the undergraduate degree. Graduate coursework taken during the semester of dual registration may only be designated for use in the graduate degree when it is not used to meet bachelor's degree requirements (i.e., each course taken during the final semester is specified as being for either the bachelor's or the master's degree).

Combined Student Status (Architecture Only)

This status is reserved for qualified students in the bachelor of architecture program who: (a) are within 24 semester hours of graduation; (b) are proceeding toward one of the two-year master's programs in urban and regional planning or architecture; and (c) have at least a 3.0 GPA for the last two years (60 credit hours) of undergraduate studies. Combined students are permitted to take graduate courses.

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