Joining Commonwealth Honors College as a Current UMass Amherst Student

Application Process

A competitive application process is used to select students who demonstrate outstanding academic performance, are prepared for the rigors of an honors curriculum, and can contribute to the diversity and accomplishments of the honors college community. If you are a UMass Amherst student ready to take on the rigor of an honors curriculum, you can apply to join some of your most academically talented peers in CHC. 

Application Cycle

Next Application Period:



Decision Notification by:



Learn More

Before applying, learn more about the benefits of Commonwealth Honors College, the honors curriculum and requirements, the Commonwealth Honors College fee, and the credentials earned by graduating with honors.

If you have further questions, you may speak with a Peer Advisor by booking a "CHC Admission inquiry" appointment at


Current students are eligible to apply to Commonwealth Honors College if they have completed one full-time semester of 12 or more graded credits at UMass Amherst and earned an overall and most recent semester GPA of 3.400 or higher at UMass Amherst. Meeting minimum eligibility requirements does not guarantee admission to CHC. Admission is competitive.

Current Academic Status

Application Eligibility           

  • First-year student
  • Undeclared major
  • Pre-major (e.g., ISOM, ENGIN, Pre-Med)

Should apply to the full curriculum with Advanced Scholarship in Multidisciplinary Honors

  • Sophomore, junior, or senior with a declared major

Should apply to

  • the full curriculum with either Multidisciplinary Honors or Departmental Honors


  • one of the partial curriculum options:
    • Departmental Honors Only (DH) 
    • Multidisciplinary Honors Only (MH)

Curriculum Overview

See curriculum and requirements for details on each component of the Honors College curriculum. Depending on your academic status, you may choose to apply for entry into the full curriculum or into one of the Advanced Scholarship options. Consider your options carefully. It may not be possible to switch plans without reapplying to CHC.

Application Process

This application process is used to select students who demonstrate outstanding academic performance, are prepared for the rigors of an honors curriculum; and can contribute to the diversity of thought, which is the mission of the honors college.

Application Instructions

The Honors College application asks questions about your academic history, plans, and interests in Commonwealth Honors College. Paying careful attention to the quality of your writing, respond to each of the following questions with no less than 150 and no more than 200 words for each question.

  1. Using one or two relevant examples, tell us if you have engaged in any leadership, community service, student organization(s), or volunteer opportunities. What have you learned from engaging in those experiences? How would that benefit the CHC community?
  2. Using your UMass Amherst experience, tell us what course, presentation, or lecture that you found intellectually rewarding. Why? Tell us something new and different that you've learned. 
  3. What excites you about the opportunity to engage in research and complete an Honors Thesis/Project? What topics might you investigate or if possible, with which faculty member(s) would you like to work? (If you are applying to Departmental Honors, please answer this question with as much detail as possible.)

Keep in mind that your answers are an opportunity to articulate your commitment to the pursuit of academic excellence and are the only sample of your formal writing available to the application review committee. The review committee will expect clear, well-developed writing with compelling examples. The committee will also expect carefully proofed work that includes cohesive sentences and paragraphs.

Submission Tips
The online application cannot save drafts!  We recommend that you compose your answers in a word-processing program, save them on your computer, and then copy/paste them into the application.


Acceptance decisions are sent to students by email. Note that all official correspondence goes only to students’ ____ addresses.

Your admission to Commonwealth Honors College will be recorded on SPIRE shortly after the admissions decision is made. 

All accepted students must attend a CHC Orientation Session to learn more about their membership, requirements, and benefits, and to sign the CHC contract.

The Commonwealth Honors College Fee will be assessed for every semester in which you are enrolled in Commonwealth Honors College.