Honors Students Frequently Asked Questions

College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences

Frequently Asked Questions

What a wonderful question! I’m glad you asked. But if we are being honest here, you have probably asked yourself this question at one point or another. Let's delve into the remarkable advantages of being part of the Utah State Honors Program:

  • Forge enduring connections with fellow Honors students and esteemed faculty members, and engage in networking opportunities with Honors alumni and communities both locally and far beyond Utah State.
  • Enhance your graduate school and job prospects with the prestigious "University Honors" designation, nationally recognized for academic excellence.
  • Earn additional distinctions on your transcript (Undergraduate Research Scholar, Global Engagement Scholar, and Community-Engaged Scholar) by completing Honors coursework.
  • Qualify for exclusive Honors scholarships at various levels of the program.
  • Apply for up to $5,000 in funding for Honors research projects and study abroad experiences.
  • Participate in Honors-specific course sections, which can offer smaller class sizes and the potential for more profound learning experiences.
  • Active Honors students enjoy the perk of early registration each semester, even before seniors!

In essence, the Honors Program at Utah State University opens doors to a wealth of opportunities, enriching your academic and personal growth in myriad ways.

To achieve Honors upon graduation, a minimum of 28 points must be earned. While there are no fixed semester or yearly point requirements, here is a recommended guideline for maintaining a steady pace:

  • End of Year 1: Earn 5-10 points (5-10 total points)
  • End of Year 2: Earn 5-10 more points (10-15 total points)
  • End of Year 3: Earn 5-10 more points (15-20 total points)
  • End of Year 4: Earn 5-10 more points (28 total points if graduating)

If this applies to your situation, feel free to tailor the guidance provided above to your unique circumstances. There is no prescribed cap on the number of points you can accumulate in a single semester. If you anticipate spending more or less than four years at USU, you have the flexibility to distribute your earned points accordingly.

The USU Honors Program is designed to supplement and enrich your educational experience by helping you develop skills in:

  • Thinking critically and respectfully about your own and others’ ideas.
  • Conducting research by engaging in the process of discovery and sharing findings with others.
  • Connecting ideas and developing academic/professional relationships across disciplines and finding active, positive engagement with local, national, and global communities

Fortunately, you can achieve this without significantly increasing the demands on your already hectic schedules. There are multiple avenues for accumulating Honors points, which will be explained below


  • Honors Co-curricular Engagement: You can earn half a point for writing a reflection about how a campus, community, or virtual event contributed to your college experience. You must write a short reflection about the event within two weeks after it has taken place. You can earn up to 6 POINTS in your college career from co-curriculars.
    • Example Co-curriculars from CAAS Students: Talking with a faculty member at any extracurricular club at Utah State, volunteering at a local food bank, playing intramural sports with peers, and going to Honors events.

  • Honors Courses: Honors students are required to complete at least one Honors Introductory Experience during their first year at USU, which not only satisfies USU General Education breadth requirements but also earns you 3 POINTS. Furthermore, you have the option to enroll in Honors sections of other courses, each of which contributes an additional 3 POINTS. To stay informed about the Honors courses available each semester, consult the Honors website or keep an eye on the weekly 'Honors in the Know' emails sent to all Honors students.
    • Example Honors Courses from CAAS Students: Honors sections of English 2010; Honors PE Courses (Hiking, Yoga, Spikeball, Karate); Honors Depth Education Think Tanks.

  • Honors in Practice: This component empowers students to extend their academic knowledge beyond the classroom through engaging projects. One such opportunity is the 'Honors Mentoring Agreement (HMA),' where students collaborate with a mentor of their choice – whether a professor, employer, coach, or another guiding figure – to pursue self-defined goals. An HMA involves a minimum commitment of 20 hours and requires tangible evidence demonstrating how Honors learning objectives have been acquired and applied. Each completed HMA rewards you with 3 POINTS, allowing you to accumulate up to 18 points through various Honors in Practice experiences. For a comprehensive understanding of what an HMA entails and other Honors in Practice opportunities, consult the Honors Canvas page.
    • Example Honors in Practice from CAAS Students: Establishing and leading a campus club under the guidance of a professor; acquiring new skills and responsibilities in a job or internship setting; participating in the Undergraduate Research Symposium with the support and mentorship of a professor.

  • Honors Capstone: During your last semesters, Honors students undertake the Honors Capstone Project, offering the potential to accumulate a total of 5 POINTS. These points are divided into 1 point each for the proposal and work plan (designed to equip students for success), followed by 3 points for the capstone project itself. The Honors Capstone is the embodiment of 'Dare to Know,' providing you with the opportunity to explore your intellectual curiosity, channel your passions, and showcase your personal growth as you oversee a long-term project centered on a topic of your choosing.
    • Example Honors Capstones from CAAS Students in Various Departments:
      • Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences: Analyzing Fear Free Veterinary Practices and Their Effectiveness in Managing Client and Patient Fear, Anxiety, and Stress, and the Profitability of These Techniques
      • Applied Economics: Limits of Growth - An Ecological Approach to Mainstream Economics
      • Applied Sciences, Technology, and Education: Change in Social Movement Engagement and Leadership Should Equal a Change in Civic Education
      • Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning: Designing Technology for Different Scales of Irrigation Scheduling
      • Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science: A Study on the Impact of Diet on Unified Fire Authority Firefighter Performance
      • Plants, Soils, and Climate: Applying the Extended Parallel Process Model to Climate Change Communication

YES! Don’t lose confidence in yourself, and don’t give up on the Honors Program! As highlighted in an earlier question, there are no fixed semesterly point requirements. This means you have the flexibility to catch up and realign your path toward graduating with Honors. If you're unsure how to begin, consider scheduling an advising appointment. Our advisors are available for in-person and Zoom meetings and are eager to assist you in devising a strategic plan.

Contact Information

CAAS Student Representative: Mia Knight (A02301180@aggies.usu.edu)

Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences: Dr. Kara Thornton-Kurth (kara.thornton@usu.edu; 435-797-7696 or AGRS 241)

Applied Economics: Dr. Ryan Bosworth (ryan.bosworth@usu.edu; 435-797-0594 or AGRS 220B)

Applied Sciences, Technology, and Education: Dr. Joseph Furse (joseph.furse@usu.edu; 435-797-1802 or IS 112D)

Aviation and Technical Education: Professor Matt Bunnell (matt.bunnell@usu.edu; 435-797-5787 or TECH 106)

Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning: Dr. Ole Sleipness (ole.sleipness@usu.edu; 435-797-0510 or FAV 260)

Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science: Dr. Katie Kraus (katie.kraus@usu.edu; 435-797-5530 or NFS 112)

Plants, Soils, and Climate: Dr. Jeanette Norton (jeanette.norton@usu.edu; 435-797-2166 or AGRS 340)

Technology, Design, and Technical Education: Professor Mark Koven (mark.lee.koven@usu.edu; 435-797-3410 or IS 108)