Frequently Asked Questions - University Honors College Scholar Designation

I don’t live in honors housing; can I still pursue the University Honors College Scholar designation?

- Yes. Any undergraduate student can register to become a candidate for the University Honors College Scholar designation, and once they successfully document completion of requirements in a final application, the annotation “University Honors College Scholar” will appear on their official Pitt transcript.

When are the application deadlines?

- Registration for candidacy and final application forms are accepted by the UHC on a rolling basis, year round.

Is registration for candidacy required?

- No. For example, a senior preparing to graduate can file a final application for the designation without having previously registered for candidacy. However, other undergraduate students are encouraged to register for candidacy, as the exercise can help them project pathways toward completion and resolve any uncertainty about whether certain aspects of their body of work will satisfy designation requirements.

Do "honors courses" have to be sponsored by the UHC?

- Yes. To count as an honors course in the Honors College Scholar designation, the undergraduate class must be sponsored by the UHC. Such courses usually are offered in conjunction with individual departments at the University. Here is a listing of current UHC-approved honors courses; the Dietrich School course description website also lists UHC-approved honors courses in that school. At Pitt, some departments or schools offer honors courses in honors tracks that operate independently of the UHC, and their honors courses may not have been vetted by the UHC. Students taking such courses and seeking the UHC Scholar designation might encourage their department or school to submit those courses for UHC approval.

What courses in the Business Honors Program count as honors courses towards the UHC Scholar designation?

- At this time, CBA has designated “UHC Market Manipulations” as the only business elective course that will be counted toward the UHC Scholar designation for business students. However, a number of honors courses taken in other schools at the University of Pittsburgh (e.g., the Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences) can be counted for business honors students who are interested in receiving the University’s Honors Scholar designation that also will be counted toward completion of the BSBA degree. Please consult the CBA website for details or contact Liz Adams, Director of CBA Advising for assistance (email: Note that only CBA students in the Business Honors Program can pursue the UHC Scholar designation.

Does an honors course that I pass without a letter grade count toward the academic attainment requirement?

- Honors courses passed with an “S” (on the “S/NC” grade option) will not count toward the three honors course requirement, but they can count as HCEs.

I am pursuing a dual major that includes multiple fields of study; would this satisfy the intellectual curiosity requirement?

- Some dual majors offered at Pitt (e.g., Politics & Philosophy, Economics-Statistics, Mathematics-Economics, Africana Studies-English) include multiple fields of study and therefore can automatically satisfy the requirement for academic breadth.

I have a multidisciplinary BPhil thesis. Can it satisfy the "intellectual curiosity" requirement for the Honors College Scholar designation as well as for three honors courses?

- Yes, assuming that the primary appointments of the Pitt faculty members on the thesis evaluating committee are not all from the same department that is sponsoring the thesis (which typically is the student's disciplinary major).

I’m not sure if one of my activities will count as an Honors Course Equivalent. How can I find out for sure?

- Ask the question on your Registration for Candidacy form, or check with a UHC staff member.

Do all study abroad experiences count as HCEs?

- No. Credit earned on Pitt transcripts from student participation in study abroad or exchange programs count as HCEs (each 3 course credits = 1 HCE, up to a maximum of 3 HCEs).

Does registration to become a candidate for the University Honors College Scholar designation constitute membership in the University Honors College?

- No. The University Honors College is not a membership organization, and the University Honors College Scholar designation is a credential that any Pitt undergraduate student can earn if they successfully complete the designation’s requirements.

If I decide not to pursue the University Honors College Scholar designation, can I still participate in other University Honors College activities?

- Absolutely, and you are encouraged to do so.

If, after I register, I change my mind and do not want to pursue the University Honors College Scholar designation, do I have to notify the Honors College or explain anything?

- No. You simply do not submit a final application for the designation.

I am a transfer student and took honors courses at another institution prior to matriculating at Pitt. Can those courses and/or HCEs count toward designation requirements?

- No. We encourage transfer students to complete a Registration for Candidacy form early in their tenure at Pitt in order to identify pathways toward completion of requirements for the University Honors Scholar designation.

After I successfully complete the final application, how soon will the University Honors College Scholar annotation appear on my official Pitt transcript? 

- A new list of students who have completed the requirements for the University Honors College Scholar designation will be submitted to the Registrar three times each academic year, two weeks after the end of each semester. Shortly after that, annotations will begin to appear on official student transcripts. Thus, students who are finishing up work to complete requirements have two weeks after a term has ended in which to learn their grades, complete their final application form, and submit it to the UHC. Doing so is especially important for students who complete requirements in the semester before graduation because this annotation cannot be added to the transcript after the two-week period.

How can I get in touch with the Honors College to discuss additional questions?

- Send an email query to or contact a UHC staff member.