Curriculum Overview

Commonwealth Honors College encourages students to develop broad perspectives and engage in deep analysis through its four-year curriculum comprised of General Studies and Advanced Scholarship.

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

General Studies

Focusing on honors breadth of study, 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 general studies honors courses is that they encourage interaction among  talented students with a wide variety of disciplinary interests. Coursework includes a variety of honors General Education courses, 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

Advanced Scholarship offers students a choice of sub plans:

  • Multidisciplinary Honors (MH) serves as the default AS sub plan and allows students to pursue advanced honors study in multiple areas of interest.  Learn how to earn MH.
  • Departmental Honors (DH) is encouraged for students who wish to pursue advanced honors study in their major.  Admission is by request and requirements vary by department.  Learn how to earn DH.

Regardless of which Advanced Scholarship sub plan a student pursues, each student will contribute original knowledge by completing a senior year honors thesis or project.  For comprehensive information about this six-credit research requirement, see the Honors Thesis or Project section of our website.


For students admitted to UMass:

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

CHC Curriculum Sub Plans Comparison Chart