Mar 04, 2024  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Bulletin 
2022-2023 Undergraduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Lewis Honors College

Christian Brady, Ph.D., is Dean of the Lewis Honors College.

The Lewis Honors College at the University of Kentucky is integral to the University’s commitment to excellence in undergraduate education. Through its special curriculum and related academic activities, the College provides a challenging academic learning-experience for outstanding, highly motivated students.

The mission of the Lewis Honors College is to better the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the world by helping students to explore their purpose, develop intellectually, and lead with integrity.

Selection of Honors Students

The Lewis Honors College seeks students with intellectual curiosity, demonstrated academic achievements, and leadership potential. Admission to Honors is competitive; students may apply as high school seniors or as current UK students. Students applying as incoming first-year students must complete the application through the University’s Office of Undergraduate Admission. The Admissions Committee considers all aspects of an applicant’s record, including the student’s GPA, the academic rigor of high school courses, the quality of the essays, and extracurricular activities.

Entering students ideally have taken a challenging high school curriculum and maintained an outstanding grade-point average. The Admissions Committee places great weight on the strength of the application essays, and on the evidence they provide of a student’s motivation to meet the challenges of the Honors program.

Current students at UK (in their first or second year) or transfer students with one semester or more of academic study at a college or university (with at least four semesters remaining) may apply to the Lewis Honors College for Upper Level Admission (ULA). Applicants are asked to submit a copy of their college transcripts, an essay, a letter of recommendation from a faculty member, and a writing sample (preferably discipline-specific). ULA applicants must demonstrate strong academic performance at the college level (preferably a 3.6 GPA or better).

The Honors Curriculum

An Honors education at UK opens up an exciting world of inquiry that may include research, education abroad, and service. Students are challenged intellectually and have access to creative and dedicated faculty who teach in small classes.  The program prepares students for advanced study and to make a difference in the world upon graduation. The Honors curriculum requires a total of 30 credit hours in Honors course work. This includes the required 3-credit Foundations course, participation in at least six credit hours of Honors Experiences (typically research, education abroad, internship/co-op, or service learning), an Honors Thesis (for 3 credits), and the student’s choice of Honors course work and electives offered campus-wide. Students can contract with faculty members to do independent studies or to add Honors components to existing courses.

Program Requirements

UK students starting in Honors as first-year students must complete 30 credit hours in Honors courses, experiences, and an Honors Thesis.

Six Credits of Required Courses

*Students with credit for ENG 101  and ENG 102  before attending UK, can also meet this requirement by taking an appropriate COM course.

Twelve Credits of Honors Courses

Students choose 6 credits of lower-level Honors courses:

Students choose 6 credits of upper-level Honors courses:

**Must be approved by the Lewis Honors College.

Three Credits of Honors Elective

Any lower-level, upper-level or Honors experience course.

Six Credits of Honors Experiences

Students choose two or more experiences:

(may opt to do the same experience multiple times for a total of 6 credit hours)

Honors Thesis

GPA Requirement

Honors students must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.40. Probationary status will be applied to Honors students falling below this threshold. Students who have not emerged from probationary status after two consecutive semesters by establishing a cumulative GPA of 3.40 or above will be dismissed from the Honors College.

Suggested Distribution of Honors Courses Across the Four Year Plan

Total: 9

Second Year

  • One lower-level Honors course Credit(s): 3
  • One Honors experience Credit(s): 3

Total: 6

Third Year

  • Two upper-level honors courses Credit(s): 6
  • Honors elective Credit(s): 3

Total: 9

Fourth Year

Total: 6


Starting as a Second-Year Honors Student

(6-7 semesters remaining)

Three Credits of Required Courses

Six Credits of Honors Courses

Students choose 3 credits of lower-level Honors courses:

Students choose 3 credits of upper-division Honors courses:

  • Credit(s): 1 - 3 (Variable)
  • Honors courses/sections in existing UK courses Credit(s): 3-4
  • or graduate course that meets the needs and interests of the student Credit(s): 3 *
  • *Must be approved by the Lewis Honors College.

Three Credits of Honors Electives

Any lower-level, upper-level or Honors experience course.

Six Credits of Honors Experiences

Honors Thesis


Starting as a Junior Honors Student

(4-5 semesters remaining)

Three Credits of Honors Courses

Students choose one:

Three Credits of Honors Electives

Students choose 3 credits of upper-level Honors courses:

  • Credit(s): 1 - 3 (Variable)
  • Honors courses/sections in existing UK courses Credit(s): 3-4
  • or a graduate course that meets the needs and interests of the student Credit(s): 3 **

  • **Must be approved by the Lewis Honors College.

Three Credits of Honors Experiences

Honors Thesis



Graduating with Honors

To graduate with Honors from the Lewis Honors College and have the University Honors designation on the final UK transcript and diploma, students must complete the requirements described above.

Special Opportunities

Students in the Lewis Honors College have many opportunities, both in and out of the classroom, to develop and demonstrate academic excellence. The small class size and method of instruction in Honors courses foster active learning. Informal conferences, special speakers, trips, and workshops allow students to explore topics and issues not regularly considered within University departmental offerings. The Center for Personal Development provides career and other mentoring.

Students in the program may elect to live in the “Honors Quad,” which consists of Donovan, Johnson, Haggin, and Lewis Halls. Lewis Hall is home to the Honors College’s main offices, classrooms and the Scholars Lounge. Donovan also has classrooms and offices.

Extensive inclusive programming engages students socially and intellectually throughout the year. The social, service, and cultural activities organized by and for Honors students include the Lewis Honors College Ambassador Team (HCATs), a highly active peer mentoring team, and an active Honors College Student Council. Students will be encouraged to develop an ePortfolio over the course of their Lewis Honors College journey. This product of work will allow students to make critical connections between their Honors and major course work, career endeavors, and personal development. Content will include personal reflections, examples of academic work, a resume or vita, and references. The portfolio will serve as a demonstration of each student’s growth and accomplishments and can be shared with prospective graduate schools, employers, and professional organizations.

Honors students in good standing are eligible for a number of special grants and awards during and at the conclusion of their undergraduate career. These include grants to support independent research conducted in the U.S. or abroad and education abroad endeavors. Several awards are given to graduating students recognizing excellence in the various areas represented in our mission statement, service (Raymond Betts Crystal), research (Diachun Award), leadership, and academics (Evans Scholar and the Diachun Scholar).


The greatest benefits Lewis Honors College students enjoy are intensified intellectual development and a heightened personal awareness of the individual’s place in their culture. It is a shared experience enabling students to develop close personal connections to their peers through residential living-learning opportunities. Students also connect with Honors faculty and staff, who are dedicated to mentoring their growth as passionate scholars, public intellectuals, and engaged citizens of their communities.

How to Apply

For admission as a first-year student, please visit or contact the Director of Recruitment. The application deadline for first-year admission is December 1.

For Upper Level Admissions, please visit or contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies. The application deadline for Upper Level Admissions is December 1 and April 1.

Lewis Honors College
1120 University Drive
Lexington, KY 40526-0104
Phone: 859-257-3111
Fax: 859-257-6428