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Honors Program

Studio art majors have the opportunity to gain unique studio and research experience through the department’s Honors Program. 

The Honors Program is a 12-credit combination of four courses designed to provide a special experience for a select group of qualified studio art majors. The four courses, all satisfying major requirements, are taken during a student’s senior year. There is some flexibility regarding when honors courses are taken (due to transfer status, change of major, etc.) but admission requirements and the course sequence are inflexible.

The Program consists of four courses:

  • One 300- or 400-level studio honors elective
  • One 400-level studio honors elective 
  • ARTT 480H “Honors Seminar” (fall)
  • ARTT 498H “Honors Thesis” (spring)

Faculty teach studio honors elective courses parallel with regular courses. The honors section may involve extra discussion, critiques and research. The honors seminar is team-taught by honors faculty and meets every Friday during the fall. The honors thesis, a one-on-one directed studies course led by honors faculty, consists of the development of a body of work, a thesis paper and a group exhibition in the Herman Maril Gallery.

Honors students are assigned private or semi-private studios for a period of one academic year (fall through spring), ideally for their final 30 credits (not to exceed the final 45) at UMCP. Under the supervision of the director, honors students are responsible for programming and installing student exhibitions in the Herman Maril Gallery. The honors director will act as a special advisor for honors students as it relates to honors courses only.

Admission to the program is highly competitive. Studio space and teaching facilities are limited, and the program is designed for students who have demonstrated excellence in studio courses and achieved a high level of academic success.


  • Minimum overall 3.0 GPA and 3.5 GPA in ARTT courses for best consideration.
  • Completion of all foundation art courses: ARTT 100, 110, 150, 200, 210 and 255.
  • Minimum of one 300-level intermediate studio course; more than one is highly recommended.
  • No less than 75 credits towards the degree though priority will be given to those entering their final two semesters (30 credits needed to finish their degree).
  • Full-time enrollment (earning 12 or more credit hours per semester).

Continuation in the Honors Program

The Honors Committee will review the honors students’ status during the academic year to see that the following criteria are met:

  • Overall 3.0 GPA and 3.5 GPA in art courses
  • Attendance, participation and completion of all assignments for the honors seminar as well as the studio elective components (“H” sections)
  • Minimum grade of “B” in Honors coursework

Ready to Apply? 

All applicants will use the Scholarship Universe portal to apply. The link will be activated on the first day of classes following Spring Break and will remain available until 4:00 p.m. on April 15th.

The Department of Art encourages you to consider application to the Honors Program with an awareness of the additional work and time that it entails.


Application Materials

  1. Digital portfolio of 12 single image files (Jpegs < 2 MB each), consisting of work from studio courses at the university (or other higher education institutions). Select artwork carefully. The portfolio should emphasize complete work and include some variety, without sacrificing overall quality. Photos should be clear, in focus, and of ample resolution. If submitting time-based or interactive work, upload one representative still image and include a YouTube, Vimeo or other online link.

    Please include the following information for each image: one-sentence description, media, creation date and dimensions.
  2. Unofficial transcript in PDF format.
  3. A brief cover letter to the honors director indicating your desire to be considered for the Honors Program.

You will be prompted to upload your materials and information as you work your way through the online application.

Applications that do not include all of these components are incomplete and will not be considered. Applications must be submitted by 4:00 p.m. on April 15th. No exceptions will be made.

Decision Process

All decisions about admission and continuation will be made by the Honors Committee, chaired by the honors director. Decision notifications will be made by email.

Contact the Director of the Honors Program

Cy Keener

Assistant Professor, Art

1211E Parren J. Mitchell Art-Sociology Building
College Park MD, 20742

(301) 405-1445