Curriculum Overview

Commonwealth Honors College encourages students to develop broad perspectives and engage in deep analysis through its four-year curriculum. 

  • General Studies (GS), typically undertaken during first- and sophomore years, emphasizes breadth of study and is designed to overlap with University General Education requirements. 
  • Advanced Scholarship (AS), undertaken during junior and senior years, emphasizes depth of study in the student's major or in two or more areas of special interest. 

Select the appropriate link below to view the curriculum requirements or compare CHC sub plans.

CHC Curriculum Requirements

For students admitted to UMass:

prior to summer 2013          • summer 2013 thru spring 2015           • summer 2015 onward

CHC Curriculum Sub Plan Comparison Chart

General Studies

The first portion of the honors curriculum focuses on honors breadth of study through which Commonwealth Honors College students build the skills and knowledge to grapple with both the timeless issues of humanity and the current dilemmas facing our culture. An added benefit of these honors courses is that they encourage interaction among  talented students with a wide variety of disciplinary interests.

Honors students take a variety of honors general studies courses, including  College Writing 112H; Honors 201H: Ideas that Change the World; and Honors 391AH: Topics (1-credit seminars taught by the University's research faculty).

Advanced Scholarship

Usually during the sophomore year, honors students decide how they would like to pursue honors advanced scholarship—most pursue a CHC sub plan of Departmental Honors through their major, others combine honors study in two or more disciplines through a CHC sub plan of Multidisciplinary Honors.  Regardless of how honors students focus their coursework, all contribute original knowledge through their honors theses and projects.


The Departmental Honors (DH) sub plan is available in most majors. DH is recommended for students who wish to undertake advanced research within their major, especially those who intend to pursue graduate study in the discipline of their major. Criteria for admission to and requirements for completion of DH varies by department.

See our web section on Departmental Honors for specific requirements by major.


The Multidisciplinary Honors (MH) sub plan allows highly motivated honors students the opportunity to design honors programs of study outside their major or between their major and other disciplines.  

Learn how to earn Multidisciplinary Honors.


Note:  MH is a program of study within Commonwealth Honors College; it is not a replacement for a major. Advanced Scholarship students interested in designing their own multidisciplinary major do not complete the MH track; they should instead seek admission to the Bachelor's Degree with Individual Concentration (BDIC) major and pursue the BDIC Department's DH Track.


Honors Thesis or Project

For comprehensive information see our web section on the Honors Thesis or Project.