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Honors Orientation

Welcome to the KU’s honors community! We’re excited to work with you to launch your KU education at Orientation, your next step toward joining both the broader Jayhawk family and our close-knit honors community.

Academic Information Meeting

Accessible prior to Orientation, the AIM serves as an overview of graduation requirements, program features, and  honors-specific aspects of Orientation.

Honors Welcome

This presentation, which takes place during the morning Opportunities Fair, highlights the events and opportunities students can expect during their first year in the program. Program staff are present each session, giving students access to informed members of the honors team.


If you’ve already been admitted to a professional school at the University of Kansas, you will meet with your professional school advisor for Orientation. The KU Honors advising team collaborates with professional school advisors to ensure all students are on track to complete both school requirements and honors program requirements from their very first semester.

Parents: While you are invited to Orientation and welcome at presentations and programming throughout the day, you will not be able to join your student for advising. Discuss academic plans with your student prior to Orientation, should you feel it necessary. An advising help room is available to students, parents, and guests after enrollment.


To graduate with university honors, you will need to take one honors seminar in your first semester, earn a minimum of 18 credit hours in at least six honors classes, and fulfill four Enhanced Learning Experiences. You can use these curricular and co-curricular goals to frame your plans for the fall semester. 

Honors seminars

All honors students enroll in a seminar during their first semester. The seminar serves as an introduction to the intellectual life of the university. While closely examining a specific topic within — or, ideally, outside — their discipline, students develop skills in research, reading, writing, and in-depth discussion. They also make connections to enhance their transition to KU, including to their seminar’s instructor, who serves as their honors faculty mentor. Explore the honors seminars available and come to Orientation with a few in mind.

Honors courses

Students in the honors program take a combination of honors and non-honors courses throughout their time at KU. Honors courses are offered either by the program or an academic department. During your first semester, you are encouraged to take at least one honors course that is not your seminar — but keep in mind that honors courses can meet requirements for the KU Core, the major, and the degree, and certain degree paths may lead you to take more in your first year. Your advisor will help you determine what’s appropriate. (In addition to honors-specific courses, students can acquire honors credit through an honors contract, graduate courses at the 700-level or above, and a maximum of two semesters in a language other than Spanish, German, or French.)

Enhanced Learning Experiences

An Enhanced Learning Experience (ELE) is a co-curricular experience that allows you to apply material you have learned in the classroom to a real-world experience and/or utilize and learn valuable leadership skills. ELEs are loosely defined because we don’t want to prescribe these experiences for you but have your explore opportunities. Many students dedicate an ELE to undergraduate research at KU. Seminar instructors, who also serve as honors mentors, can help facilitate connections to departments and faculty. Research articles on department websites can also give students a sense of professors to contact about opportunities. 

48 business hours after your individual appointment, your schedule will be locked for the duration of Orientation, then unlock shortly before the fall semester, on July 27. Courses can be changed then, but redeclaration of majors should be discussed with an advisor first.

Keep in mind that priority enrollment, a benefit of University Honors Program participation, begins after an honors student’s first semester on campus. Orientation enrollment is dependent on a student’s Orientation date.


To maximize the value of in-person advising, and to ensure each student enrolls in the correct courses for their respective field of study, the University Honors Program performs pre-enrollment in natural science sections for students pursuing either: 1) a degree in biological sciences or 2) the goal of attending medical school, in both college-level biology and chemistry courses for their introductory semester at the University of Kansas. 

Each biology and/or pre-medical student admitted to the University Honors Program and signed up for Orientation will be pre-enrolled in the level of biology and chemistry that both most closely satisfies the requirements of their degree and complements previously declared coursework. 

We have worked closely with the Departments of Biology and Chemistry to make the best placements possible using information available to us at this time, including ACT/SAT scores, AP credits, and transfer credits. If you have additional transfer credits, AP scores, changes to major/concentration plans or any other credits to report, please do so as soon as possible. 

Pre-enrollment is based on information available in the student’s academic record. Students will have the opportunity to change their pre-enrolled schedule at Orientation, if necessary, with assistance from advisors.

Our advisors will work with you closely at Orientation to ensure you are in the right courses for the degree that you seek. If you applied without test scores this year, your advisor will work with you to determine placement.


Students with a declared biology major or pre-medicine concentration will be pre-enrolled in BIOL 150, which is designed to address the needs of pre-medical students, and placed in lab sections exclusive to honors students. In May, a select number of students with evidence of preparation or experience will be invited to enroll in BIOL 151 (Honors Biology), which focuses on advanced principles and research participation.


Students with a declared biology major or pre-medicine concentration will also be pre-enrolled in a section of chemistry (co-requisite for biology) that best fits their skills and academic requirements. Most students will be pre-enrolled in CHEM 130 (General Chemistry) which is required for any student pursuing either a degree in the biological sciences or admission to medical school. In May, an invitation to enroll in CHEM 190 (Honors General Chemistry) and CHEM 191 (Honors General Chemistry Lab) will be extended to students with advanced chemistry and mathematics skill, IB or AP Chemistry completion within the last year, and a score of 30 or higher on the MATH ACT.