Frequently Asked Questions


What is Pitt Honors?

Pitt Honors is a small community within the University of Pittsburgh that gives the most talented, curious and socially conscious students access to the best opportunities of our big-city major research University. We emphasize creative thinking, self-discovery, and interdisciplinary exploration. 

We have our own innovative Honors programs that cross academic boundaries, plus personal mentors who help guide you to make the most our of your Honors experience. They will help you design a customized Honors path, and also connect you to new opportunities like community engagement, national scholarships, and more. 

We welcome all Pitt undergraduates in most of our programs, but Honors students get priority access and personal guidance.  

What are the benefits of Pitt Honors?

You will get the freedom to define your own success, and the support to shoot for it. A few notable benefits are: 

  • Priority for our unique courses, fellowships and awards.
  • Priority course registration*
  • Personal mentoring to guide you to the best opportunities.
  • A fun community with regular events, tickets to city events, and more.  
  • The chance to earn formal recognition for your Honors achievements. 
  • Guaranteed placement in the Honors housing community.

*Priority course registration will begin in fall 2019, for first-year students only


How do I apply to Pitt Honors?

Incoming freshmen apply to Pitt Honors during their regular University of Pittsburgh application process (including through the Common Application.) If you choose to apply, you'll answer 2 additional essay questions. 

Is it competitive? 

Yes, Pitt Honors is competitive. We accept about 400 incoming students each year.

We know you are more than your test scores. Although we don’t have set SAT/ACT requirements, on average, a Pitt Honors student has a 1450 SAT and/or 32 ACT. We will also consider your achievements both in and outside the classroom.  

Selection is also based heavily on your essay questions, which ask you to demonstrate your intellectual curiosity and interest in social good. 

Does Pitt Honors offer scholarships? 

You do not need to fill out a separate application for first-year Pitt Honors scholarships. You will be considered for financial awards based on your full University application.

Based on your application strength, you might be invited to compete for the University's highest first-year award, the Chancellor's Scholarship. (It's invitation only.) If so, we will let you know what extra steps to take to apply. 

Are transfer or upperclassmen students eligible?

Yes, we do allow students to apply as upperclassmen. If you transfer in, you will need to complete 2 semesters at Pitt before you apply to Pitt Honors. In the meantime, most of our programs are open to all undergraduates. Engaging with the Honors community before you apply can help your chances of being admitted as an upperclassman.



What's Pitt Honors housing like?

The energy in an Honors hall is infectious. You live together in a community with other curious, driven peers who will inspire you. And you'll also have a great time with fun events all year long — everything from movie nights and a big Halloween mystery to sharing your stories with TED-style talks.  

All first-year students are guaranteed a spot in Sutherland Hall West. If you choose to stay on campus as an upperclassman, you can live in the Irvis Hall dorm or Forbes-Craig apartment-style building. 

Why should I take Honors courses?

Honors courses cover topics in more interesting and in-depth ways. They're not just more challenging; they're more engaging.

They're small-group classes, so the environment is more dynamic and personal. Professors dig deeper into the material, leading you through richer analysis, incorporating cutting-edge tools, or even using pop culture and society as an academic lens. 

A few student favorites: 

  • A course on literature about the body, which actually includes an anatomy lab.
  • Analytics classes that use emerging science to predict who will win the big NBA game, or the big election.
  • A multifaceted class that looks at politics through the Broadway phenomenon Hamilton. 

If you're interested in the subject and willing to work hard to master the material, Honors courses will help you rethink the world.

Worried about your GPA? Don't be! Analysis shows that taking Pitt Honors classes doesn't significantly impact your GPA. Honors courses aren't weighted, but they are noted in your transcript, so reviewers can see that you took on more challenging work.

What is the Bachelor of Philosophy (BPhil) degree?

The BPhil gives your bachelor's degree the rigor and distinction of a master's-level degree. You can earn a BPhil in any subject by adding a research thesis to your regular course of study. 

You'll get the opportunity to defend your work before a committee that includes leaders in your field. We'll even fly in a prominent external examiner who's at the forefront of the topic you choose. It's a rigorous process, but you'll have dedicated mentors to guide you along the way with feedback at every stage. 

Can I visit to the Honors college?

Yes. Join us for drop-in information sessions every Monday and Friday throughout the year, at 1 p.m. on the 35th floor of the Cathedral of Learning. To schedule a 1-on-1 discussion, contact our Manager of Recruitment, Matt Schultz, at