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University Honors Program

"Being in Honors has become one of my greatest academic achievements, it has shown me how much I am capable of accomplishing." ~ Karina Martinez, Sociology '23

Karina won the Honors Director's Civic Engagement Award at the 2023 Honors Spring Banquet and was awarded the Meritorious Thesis Designation with her Honors Research Capstone:
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF): Investigative Report on the Current Effectiveness of Case Management and the Justification for Continued Education trainings

Photo of Karina Martinez

University Honors Program Overview

The University Honors Program fosters outstanding students by providing enriched course and research experiences, extra faculty attention, a community of intellectually engaged peers, and appropriate recognition for making the most of an undergraduate education. The program engages students in the life of the mind and encourages them to raise their expectations for themselves and their education. Honors students become intrinsically involved in their own learning experience, develop heightened critical awareness and independent thinking skills, and participate in research or creative works at the university and in the community.

Students engage in honors seminars in their first year or two and then dive deeper into their own areas of passion and lines of inquiry to develop an honors capstone that may be in one of three different pathways:

  • Research Path – Students complete an Honors research thesis either in their selected discipline, or may complete an interdisciplinary thesis.
  • Creative Path – Students complete a creative works project at an honors level appropriate to their discipline. Creative projects may include those in art, music, creative writing, graphic arts, dance or theatre.
  • Applied Path – Students complete an Honors independent applied project that results in an actual implemented program, event, curricular method, initiative, business plan, non-profit endeavor, or other approved projects that fall “outside the box.”

Program Entry Options

The Honors Program offers several entry points for students with a desire to broaden or deepen their academic studies.

First Year Honors Experience

designed for both incoming students and continuing students who want an introduction to Honors education. The program curriculum is interdisciplinary and supports students to produce honors quality Students completing the Honors First Year Experience receive the designation “First Year Honors" on their UNC transcript.

University Honors Program

University Honors is designed for students who want to take full advantage of the intellectual breadth and depth of the Honors Program, providing access to upper-division electives and in-depth research experiences culminating in the creation of a Senior Honors Capstone project. Students who completed First Year Honors simply continue their journey, but all UNC students -- including transfer students -- may apply for entry to the program as late as the end of their sophomore Students completing the University Honors Program receive recognition at commencement and official designation as “University Honors” on both their transcript and diploma.

Honors Capstone Experience

Honors Capstone Only program is designed for juniors and seniors who discover Honors too late to take advantage of the full program or who want to explore their major discipline in-depth through the creation of an Honors Capstone project. This project may be in the form of a traditional research thesis, a creative work, or an applied project. Students completing the Honors Capstone-Only program receive an “Honors Capstone" designation on their transcript.

Honors Program Vision

University of Northern Colorado’s Honors Program vision is to build a diverse community of intellectually engaged, innovative student scholars who enrich the world as responsible global citizens.

Honors Program Mission

The University of Northern Colorado Honors Program fosters an inclusive  community of intellectually engaged student scholars through an enriched curriculum that supports scholarly and creative contributions and promotes self-driven integrative learning, critical thinking, creative problem-solving, and intercultural competence.

The program provides opportunities for engagement with faculty, peers, and professionals to develop important career and academic skills and networks.

Past Honors Program Capstone Projects

Virginia Poe; Walking in Moonlight: A study of the Werewolf People

All too often, creative fiction is not seen as a serious type of study, despite the versatility and immense potential of the form. However, one can take a vast amount of research in a variety of different areas, compile it, and use the juxtaposition to discover new insights about various fields involved. Writing an ethnography on werewolves incorporates a variety of research about werewolves (which reveals a little about their cultures), genetics (since these werewolves will have a genetic basis for their difference from humanity), and anthropology (since the ethnography serves as a perfect way to start thinking about culture), as well as other topics. In turn, the reader can glean knowledge about some of the research involved, and the information will be more memorable.

A.M. Fletcher; Living Dead in the United States: Felon Disenfranchisement and White Privilege

The purpose of this study is to re-examine the policy of felon disenfranchisement through an analysis of its historical lineage from the Jim Crow Era to the contemporary era of Black Lives Matter and identify the influence of White Privilege in its development. Review of previous research indicates a racial bias in the early implementation of felon disenfranchisement intended to prevent Blacks from exercising the right to vote as well as identifies racial motivations behind the use of the policy until present day.  The United States has a history of trying to bar Black people from voting.[1]  Disenfranchisement prevents the exercise of full citizenship for felons and ex-felons in the United States.  Primary and secondary sources that address the history of felon disenfranchisement will be interpreted through the lens of critical race theory to identify White Privilege in the development of felon disenfranchisement. This study provides a revised way of thinking on historical race relations in the United States and of the racially disproportionate disenfranchisement of Black United States citizens. This research indicates explicit and passive racial bias in the policy of felon disenfranchisement throughout its historical lineage.  It further defines the impact of White Privilege in the policy of felon disenfranchisement.

Carly Renee Browning; Interactions between O-benzyl-N-(9’-acridinyl)-hydroxylamines and Calf Thymus DNA: An evaluation of nontraditional thermal denaturation

Cancer is commonly treated with chemotherapy using therapeutic agents to inhibit cellular functions and divisions. These therapeutic agents are typically intercalating drugs, which bind to DNA rendering it nonfunctional. Intercalating therapeutic agents have poor selectivity and typically break apart into toxic metabolites under physiological conditions resulting in unwanted side effects. A main goal of research has been to discover and evaluate new therapeutic agents to find more effective treatments with lesser side effects. Groups of interest, the 9-acridinyl hydroxylamines, were evaluated and produced nontraditional thermal denaturation curves. Three variously substituted products with a) R1,2,3=H; b) R1,3=H, R2=NO2; c)R1,2=H, R3=OCH3 were synthesized to examine electron donating or withdrawing effects on intercalation, and thermal denaturation of calf thymus DNA.