To understand what it means to be part of the University Honors Program (UHP), students should first consider the question: what does it mean to come to a university like NC State? NC State is a research-extensive land-grant university, which is dedicated to excellent teaching, the creation and application of knowledge, and engagement with public and private partners. As a research university, NC State is unlike a typical high school or liberal arts institution. Here, students have the opportunity not simply to learn about past discoveries, but to actually participate in the creation of new knowledge. All NC State faculty – from the natural sciences to the humanities – are active contributors to growing fields of knowledge. As researchers and scholars, they are responsible for generating new ideas, making discoveries, and using their research to solve the world’s most pressing problems. The University Honors Program gathers the top undergraduates across every college at NC State and catalyzes them to participate in the research mission of the university. In this way, the UHP transforms undergraduates from being excellent students of their field to actually making their own discoveries that contribute to a field of research.
Why join Honors
First, its emphasis on creativity, inquiry, and discovery doesn’t mean students spend their undergraduate experience locked inside of a research lab. Instead, it means that UHP students view their lives as a kind of research lab. They have the kind of transformative university experience that can only happen by investing themselves in learning and inquiry. As our students explore an idea, issue, or a problem, they are also exploring themselves: their standpoint, their identity, what they hope to accomplish in the world.
Second, the UHP doesn’t stop at self-exploration. It’s designed to equip students with the tools, resources, and networks necessary to actually take action on the things that they care about. This is more than just narrow skill-building – it’s developing the habits of mind necessary to take their ideas and to bring them down to scale: to make them actionable.
Last, and a result of this transformative process, UHP students have had significant success at gaining entrance to institutions which put them on the path to realizing their big dreams. Last year’s graduating class entered graduate programs at Duke University, Oxford University, Cambridge, Cornell, MIT, Princeton, and Stanford, or were able to find employment at top companies in their industry or field.
The University Honors Program is a place for students who want to do more than take forty courses and earn a degree, but want to take ownership over their educational process in order to find their place in the world.