Lower Division Honors Program Application

Students are urged to apply to join the Lower Division Honors Program (which is also known as the Honors Interdisciplinary Program or HIP) as incoming freshmen, but they may apply as late as the first semester of their sophomore year.  

Entering Freshman must demonstrate academic interest and aptitude through their entire application, and no specific minimum standardized test scores nor minimum GPA will be required. Generally, students with successful application will either have attained a minimum 3.75 GPA in high school or have an ACT score at or above 27 in at least one of the ACT areas or equivalent SAT. Students that do not meet these general guidelines but can demonstrate a strong desire to complete honors-level interdisciplinary work will still be considered.  

Prospective Honors students already enrolled at UNC or transferring from another college need a minimum 3.25 GPA and must provide at least one letter of recommendation from a college faculty member, professional or employer.

How To Apply

Incoming Freshmen or Incoming students with less than 45 college credit hours:

Before clicking on the application link, please read all of the instructions, and draft the answers to your essay questions in advance.

The three short essay questions are listed below. Please prepare your answers in a separate document:

The Honors Program at UNC builds a diverse community of scholars with the purpose of developing problem solvers for the complex issues our world faces.  The Honors Interdisciplinary Program provides you the opportunity to explore concepts and ideas that make connections between disciplines and courses.  You may either broadly explore "The Life of the Mind" through small seminars or designate your own theme for your lower division study.  Throughout the program you will reflect upon the theme, creating a portfolio that tracks this exploration. 

  1. In what ways would you add unique qualities, diverse ways of thinking, or specific skills or abilities to the honors community.  Please describe any special circumstances, obstacles, or other defining features of your life that impact who you are as a person. (300 words or less)
  2. Please identify an issue or problem in your community or in the world that you would potentially be interested in working with in the future, and why this particular issue is important to you (300 words or less total).
  3. In the space below either explain what you think "Life of the Mind" represents OR identify a potential theme, question, area of research, concept, idea or specific area of study that you would be interested in pursuing at UNC is that is more specific than your major. This DOES NOT need to relate to the issue identified in the question above nor does this theme need to be the one that you eventually explore. (300 words or less total).

The application also requests ACT and/or SAT scores, your current high school GPA and class size and class rank (if applicable). Please gather this information before beginning the application. Once you have your information gathered, including your test score information, reference letter, and have drafted the responses to the four questions above, please click on the link below to access the Honors Interdisciplinary Application.


The Honors Application has a rolling deadline. Early deadline is December 1st for the best chance to receive Honors Program Scholarships. Priority deadline for Honors Program, especially students interested in the Honors Residential Learning Community, is March 1.

Upper Division Honors Application

Looking for the Upper Division Honors application? Learn about Upper Division program here!