A group of Honors Program lunch attendees pose outside for a photo

The University Honors Program (UHP) is composed of two independent programs, each consisting of five courses (15 credit hours).

The Honors Student General Education Program for Freshmen and Sophomores

Freshmen and sophomores admitted to the UHP complete five of their regular general education requirements by taking Honors courses in the fine arts, humanities, and behavioral, social and natural sciences. Course scheduling is designed for you to complete the Honors Student program in four consecutive semesters. As an Honors student, you will take four required Area Courses (one in each general education area) and one general education Honors elective. Through these courses you will gain perspective on the array of studies available at Northeastern and learn to see the interconnections between academic disciplines. Successful completion of the Honors Student program earns you the designation “Honors Student” on your transcript.

  • ZHON-191 (3 cr.) Honors Introduction to the Performing and Fine Arts, offered fall semester
  • ZHON-192 (3 cr.) Honors Introduction to the Humanities, offered spring semester
  • ZHON-193 (3 cr.) Honors Introduction to the Social Sciences, offered fall semester
  • ZHON-194 (3 cr.) Honors Introduction to the Natural Sciences, offered spring semester
  • One Z-Honors Elective (3 cr.) in General Education. Choose one elective from courses such as Honors Ethics, Honors Economics, Honors Anthropology, and Honors U.S. History. 


Total: 15 credits

The Honors Scholar 300-level Program for Juniors and Seniors

The 300-level Honors Scholar program for juniors and seniors is designed to provide you with the opportunity to create your own honors curriculum and to build connections and skills above and beyond what you would otherwise gain during your undergraduate experience. Juniors and seniors complete requirements for their major or minor by adapting up to three 300-level courses of their choice for UHP credit. As an Honors Scholar, you tailor the curriculum to your own academic major and interests while building valuable connections with peers and faculty members and developing your research skills. Study abroad, international field experience, Honors electives, or graduate-level electives in your field can also partially fulfill 300-level UHP coursework.

The self-directed research emphasis of the Scholar Program culminates with your completion of a two-semester Capstone Project. In your senior year, you will take our Honors Seminar in Research and Creative Processes (ZHON-360) and an independent study in which you complete your project with the support of a faculty mentor of your choosing (ZHON-395: Honors Thesis/Creative Project). Students gain professional and academic confidence, preparedness and competitiveness in this process.

Successful completion of the Scholar Program earns you the designation “Honors Scholar” on your transcript and diploma, graduation from NEIU with Latin honors (cum laude, magna cum laude or summa cum laude), and a UHP Senior Project that is catalogued in the Ronald Williams Library Digital Commons.

  • Three courses at the 300-level (usually in your major or minor) that you adapt for Honors credit (also known as Adapted Courses). One of these courses may include ZHON-375 (3 cr.) Honors Colloquium: World Perspectives. 
  • ZHON-360 (3 cr.) Honors Seminar in Research and Creative Processes, offered fall and spring
  • ZHON-395 (3 cr.) Honors Thesis/Creative Project, offered every semester


Total: 15 credits

“The NEIU Honors Program has given me the chance to concentrate on and excel in courses of my choosing, as well as the chance to participate in collaborative research. Participating in the program has honed my research and writing skills, challenged me as both a student and a community member, and provided me with the tools and skills necessary to continue on to graduate school.” 

-Ethan Morgan, B.S. Biology and the UHP, accepted into doctoral program in Epidemiology at the University of Chicago

Adapted Courses

As an Honors Scholar, you will select up to three 300-level courses from your major or minor curricula to adapt for UHP credit. Adapted courses will appear on your NEIU transcript with a "Z-prefix" course number and “Hnrs” in the course title, identifying them as Honors courses for your Honors Scholar curriculum. Your UHP curriculum overlaps substantially with your degree requirements, providing you with multiple opportunities to:

  • sharpen research skills in your field,
  • build professional relationships with faculty,
  • pursue your interests in greater depth,
  • explore potential thesis/senior project topics,
  • and create your own UHP curriculum.

The UHP encourages innovation and creativity—adapted courses allow you to tailor your Honors experience to your research interests. Adapted courses also facilitate collaboration with your faculty members to devise projects that will open up new roads to discovery that you might not otherwise access. We particularly encourage UHP students to use their adapted courses to help identify potential senior project topics and advisors.

Every adapted course contract must include three main elements:

  • a research component in which you pursue a relevant area of interest and practice discipline-specific research processes;
  • one-on-one collaboration with the professor of the course to devise and carry out the research-based course contract; and
  • a way to share your project with the rest of the class.

During the semester prior to taking the Adapted Course, meet with the professor to discuss the possibility of adapting the course for UHP credit and discuss possible options for the three elements listed above. Complete the UHP Adapted Course Request form with the faculty member the semester before the course begins and submit it for review to the UHP.

UHP Senior Project: ZHON-360 and ZHON-395

All UHP Scholars design and complete a UHP Senior Project, a research-based thesis or creative work (depending on your major) that represents outstanding undergraduate achievement and the culmination of the 300-level Honors Scholar curriculum. Once accepted and approved, all UHP Senior Projects are catalogued in the Ronald Williams Library.

The process of designing and completing an extended project will distinguish you and set you apart as you apply to graduate programs or compete in the professional job market. UHP alumni routinely credit this aspect of the program with providing the tools they needed to be successful beyond Northeastern Illinois University.

The UHP Senior Project consists of a minimum of two semesters.

In the first semester of your final year, you will enroll in ZHON-360 (or approved equivalent course), where you will design and complete a project proposal that includes an abstract, a literature review, and an initial write-up of your proposed inquiry/project. As part of this class, you will seek out a faculty member (most often, but not exclusively, in your major) whose expertise overlaps with that of your own research interest and is willing to serve as your thesis advisor (and mentor you) through the completion of your project. You will also identify a Second Reader for your thesis, usually another faculty member (either at NEIU or elsewhere) whose expertise is relevant to your research topic and is willing to provide feedback on the second draft of your thesis.

In the second semester of your final year, you will enroll in ZHON-395: Honors Thesis/Creative Project. This takes a minimum of one semester to complete but can take longer. To be eligible to enroll in ZHON-395: Honors Thesis/Creative Project, you must successfully complete ZHON-360 (or approved equivalent course) with an approved project proposal and the support of a faculty thesis advisor. You will receive a grade of "Incomplete" until the project is completed, and you will have one more semester to finish your work. Completed projects are stored in the Ronald Williams Library Digital Commons.

For additional information and guidelines on ZHON-360 and ZHON-395, pick up a copy of the UHP Senior Project Manual and other related documents from the UHP Office, Room B 144.