Honors Program

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The University Honors Program (UHP) at Detroit Mercy offers students a unique opportunity to challenge themselves and each other through deeper academic experiences and meaningful campus and community engagement.

As students in the UHP, you will learn and grow together, explore ideas and develop skills with some of the very best faculty members at the University of Detroit Mercy, and clarify your own sense of purpose and vocation through service in the city of Detroit.

Whatever your career path, the individualized attention of the UHP will help you achieve your personal and professional goals, all while you develop lasting relationships with peers as well as professors who have your best interest at heart.

How do you join University Honors Program

ahmed headshotThe Honors program has stopped me from turning into an engineering robot. It's helping me become a well-rounded person, thinking not only about academics, but also about life outside of school and our purpose in this world. And I am very grateful for that.

—Ahmad Chalhoub, ‘22, Mechanical Engineering.

Scholarly Excellence

University Honors students work closely with outstanding faculty members who are committed to their academic, personal and professional success. 

Honors students take required classes together, learning and bonding through classroom discussion and projects.


Join a vibrant Honors community.

  • Movie & Pizza Nights in the Gardella Honors House
  • Group service projects
  • Film, theater, dinners, opera, the symphony, the DIA, Tigers games, even curling in Metro Detroit.
You will immerse yourself in this intimate community and make friends for life.


Students in the University Honors Program perform 100 hours or more of community-engaged service over their four years in the program.

You positively contribute to our city, region, and world; to grow as citizens and neighbors; and to clarify their own sense of purpose and vocation.


All UHP students are members of the Honors Leadership Council, and actively plan UHP social events, lectures, forums and film nights. 

Honors students are also members of the Emerging Leaders Program at Detroit Mercy where you explore your leadership potential and abilities through involvement in programs, events, activities and service on and off campus.

sarah buhay headshotWe learn in an intimate community consisting of peers who are similarly driven toward scholarship and achievement.

Our classroom environments allow for free, scholarly discussion that has not only helped me continue to focus on my love of learning, but has broadened my knowledge through the interaction with my peers and their unique perspectives.

—Sarah Buhay, ‘20, Biology (Pre-Med)

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    Honors Program Application

    You will be invited

    Once students are accepted to Detroit Mercy, the Honors Program Coordinators will invite those students who have a least a 3.5 GPA to apply for the program.

    In special cases, they may look at students who have a minimum 3.3 also, but they are selective about who will get an invite.


    Students must submit an essay in order to be considered.

    Essay Prompts

    1. Detroit Mercy's Mission and Identity states that universities are places where students learn to "understand reality from many different perspectives." Why do diverse perspectives matter in higher education? What perspective do you bring to Detroit Mercy?
    2. A Jesuit and Mercy education strives to graduate "men and women for others." What does this mean to you and how would you live it out?

    Upload your essay to the Admissions portal.


    The Honors Program Directors will make the decision as to who will be accepted and you will be notified.


    Honors Curriculum

    University Honors students work closely with outstanding faculty members who are committed to their academic, personal and professional success.

    Over their first three years, students take a one-credit First-Year Honors Seminar and six Honors courses drawn from the University’s Core Curriculum. Honors students take required classes together, learning and bonding through classroom discussion and projects.

    Honors courses

    Current Honors courses include Academic Writing, Introduction to Philosophy, Elements of Political Thought, Ethics, and Diverse Voices in Literature.

    In your junior and senior years, UHP students write an Honors Thesis in the discipline of their choice under the guidance and mentorship of a faculty thesis advisor. Writing an Honors thesis is excellent preparation for graduate and professional school and all career paths and is rated as a High Impact Practice by the National Survey of Student Engagement.

    Graduation Requirements

    Members of the University Honors Program will graduate with Honors if they have earned a 3.3 cumulative GPA and fulfilled the requirements of the program:

    1. Completion of the 19-credit Honors Curriculum
      • First-Year Honors Seminar (HON 1000) (1 credit in students’ first semester)
      • Six Honors courses (18 credits—one course per semester for the first three academic years). All of these courses fulfill requirements for the University’s Core Curriculum.
    2. Honors Thesis
      • Three credit hours devoted to writing an Honors Thesis under the guidance of a faculty advisor (1 credit in each of students’ final three semesters)
      • Successful defense of an Honors Thesis
    3. Hold cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher by the time of graduation/degree certification.
    4. Fulfillment of 100 hours total of community-engaged service
      • These hours will be documented by the Institute for Leadership and Service.
      • Students may fulfill the service requirement through service-learning courses within the University, service undertaken by UHP as a group, and service performed individually or in small groups on or off-campus.
      • Along with participating in events affiliated with the Emerging Leaders Program, including select meetings of the University Honors Council, these service hours will earn students a Leadership Pin, which will be presented upon their graduation.

    See Detroit Mercy Undergraduate Catalog and UHP Student Handbook for additional information on UHP requirements.

    Accelerated 6-Year Law Scholars Program: Students in the 6-Year Law Scholars Program are welcome to participate in the University Honors Program. Interested students should contact Dr. Evan Peterson for more information.

    Transfer Students: Students who transfer to Detroit Mercy from another institution may petition to join the University Honors Program. Petitions will be granted on a case-by-case basis.



    Honors Recognition

    Honors Recognition at Graduation

    Members of the University Honors Program who maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.3 and complete all of the graduation requirements for the program will:

    • Have “Honors” printed on their diplomas
    • Receive the University Honors Program certificate
    • Wear golden Honors cords at Commencement
    • Receive transcripts that bear the Honors designation

    Latin Honors

    University Honors students will graduate with Latin Honors if they have earned a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher. Students will be awarded cum laude honors with a GPA of 3.5 or higher, magna cum laude honors with a GPA of 3.7 or higher, and summa cum laude honors with a GPA of 3.9 or higher.

    Emerging Leaders Opportunities

    As part of their involvement in ELP, Honors students will have the opportunity to achieve either the leadership pin or medallion during the Detroit Mercy academic career.

    Leadership Pin

    One of the requirements for the leadership pin is 125 hours of service, which students will fulfill as part of their participation in the University Honors Program.

    Leadership Medallion

    The leadership medallion requires an additional 125 hours of service, in addition to the other requirements listed on the Emerging Leaders website.


    Study Abroad Options

    The University Honors Program recognizes the value of study abroad and encourages students to participate when possible. Living and working with people from other cultures is an invaluable learning experience for any college student, particularly given the increasingly global nature of business, science, art and politics.

    Honors students can substitute one approved study abroad course for one required Honors course at University of Detroit Mercy. University of Detroit Mercy offers several study abroad programs in places like Australia, Brazil, Cuba, China, El Salvador, England, Greece, Italy, Mexico and Poland.

    Interested students should consult with the departments sponsoring these programs for more information and contact the University Honors Program directors to request a course substitution for an approved study abroad course.

hannah headshotThe Honors Program gave me a chance to research what I'm passionate about and pushed me past what I thought I was capable of within both my majors. All of the professors I had within the program were so dedicated to making sure I succeeded, and their commitment to my growth solidified my experience at Detroit Mercy as a good one.

—Hannah Tillman, ‘19, Psychology and English

Meet your Directors and Faculty

If you have any general questions regarding the Honors Program, feel free to contact one the program co-directors below.

Also, our Honors Facebook group is meant to serve as a virtual forum for all members of the Honors Program. Members are encouraged to post anything that may be of interest to the group or Honors Program.


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Evan Peterson
* Arnold Jarboe Chair of Business Administration & Director of Undergraduate Business Programs


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Mary-Catherine Harrison
Associate Professor of English
* Department Chair

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J. Todd Hibbard
Professor of Religious Studies
* Chair of Religious Studies

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Nick Rombes
Professor of English
Co-Director University Honors Program