College of Engineering Honors Program


Questions or suggestions about the Engineering Honors Program should be sent to honors@engineering.ucsb.edu.  Please use your @ucsb email address when contacting the College.

Program Description

The College of Engineering (COE) Honors Program is designed to enrich the educational opportunities for outstanding students within the College. Students in the Honors Program will be encouraged to participate in early experiences in research and scholarship through special seminars and individualized work in regular courses, and as members of research teams. 

Advantages of membership

Students in the program are benefited by:

  • Graduate student library privileges (extended book check out and library locker request)
  • Honors advising (schedule appointments at: https://coefrances.youcanbook.me or come by 1006 Harold Frank Hall)
  • Priority registration for continuing students
  • Scholars Floors, located in several university-owned residence halls, are available to eligible first-year students


Upon UCSB Admission: The College of Engineering invites approximately the top 10% of incoming freshmen into the Honors Program based on a comprehensive review of the applicant, including high school GPA and SAT or ACT scores, personal statements and accomplishments. Select transfer students will be invited to join the Honors Program.

Students who are not eligible for the Program at the time of admission may request to enter the program after attaining a cumulative UCSB GPA of 3.5 or greater after two regular quarters at UCSB.  The application period will change to a once a year entry in the 2019-2020 academic year. See details below.  The last day for continuing students to apply for the Honors Program before the change to an annual application cycle is Friday, September 20th, 2019.

Students may not join the Honors Program after July 1, the summer between the junior and senior curriculum year.  

New for fall 2019:

For all new and continuing students, effective fall 2019, admittance to the Honors Program may occur during three windows of opportunity:

  • Prior to your first term at UCSB: Eligible freshmen will be notified about joining Honors when notified about UCSB admission (note: Regents Scholars are automatically admitted).  Select transfer students will be invited to join the Honors Program.
  • By applying to the program between your freshman (first-year) and sophomore years, if you have completed at least 36 letter-graded units with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above. 
  • By applying to the program between your sophomore and junior years, if you have completed at least 72 letter-graded units with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above.

Annual Program Requirements

To maintain status in the program, all students must:

  • Complete 10 hours of community service each year and report hours by June 15.
  • Maintain a 3.5 cumulative GPA at the end of each spring quarter.

To graduate as an Honors Program "Scholar"

Honors Program scholars wear a golden scholar stole at commencement and may list their status on their resume:

  • Complete 6.0 total Honors units during the junior and/or senior years; comprised of coursework from departmental 196, 197, 198, 199 courses, graduate level courses, or completing courses toward their engineering major through the UC Education Abroad Program with grades of B or higher.  Notes: Capstone participation/courses do not apply to honors credit, nor do graduate courses taken to satisfy requirements for a graduate degree.
  • Complete 10 community service hours for each year the student was a member of the Honors Program.
  • Maintain a 3.5 or higher cumulative GPA.
  • Report community service and academic enrichment information by May 1 of the year they are graduating to ensure recognition for this honor.
    • Submit your volunteer hours for each service activity using our Honors Community Service website. You will log on with your UCSB Net ID and password.

Have you completed the Honors Program requirements to graduate? Click here for the Honors Program Completion Form.


Honors Program parameters and requirements subject to change.

Honors Program Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who is admitted to the program upon UC Santa Barbara acceptance?

A: The College of Engineering invites approximately the top 10% of incoming freshmen into the Honors Program based on a comprehensive review of the applicant, including high school GPA and SAT or ACT scores, personal statements and accomplishments. For the fall 2019, transfer students with a pre-major UC transferable GPA of 3.75 or greater are invited to join the Program upon acceptance to UC Santa Barbara

Q: I wasn’t invited into the program upon UC Santa Barbara acceptance. When I can I apply? 

A: Effective fall 2019, students may apply after completing 3 quarters at UCSB with 3.5 cum GPA, at least 36 letter-graded units.

Q: How can I apply to the Honors Program?

A: Please complete the online application to apply to the Honors Program https://engineering.ucsb.edu/college-engineering-honors-program-application

Q: If I apply to the program, what is the effective quarter of my honors program status?

• If you apply in the first two weeks of a term (FWS), you will be accepted into the program for that quarter. 
• If you apply after week two of the current term, your honors status will begin the following quarter. Please note changes to program effective fall 2019.

Q: When does my priority registration start? 

A: You will have priority registration for the next registration quarter after being admitted to the program.  For example, if you’re admitted to the program effective in a fall term, you will receive priority registration when registering for the winter quarter.

Q: Will I always have priority registration if I’m in the Honors Program? 

A: You will have priority registration for regular quarters (fall, winter, spring) through the quarter you graduate as long as you remain in the Honors Program, pay your tuition, and register for courses each quarter.  Summer session registration is assigned according to your class level.

Q: How do I start my graduate library privileges? 

A: To implement these privileges, take photo identification to the Circulation Desk at the UCSB Library, where they have a list of all current Honors students.
To obtain book locker privileges, please fill out the following online form through the library website: http://www.library.ucsb.edu/lockers.  This online form can also be used to renew and return lockers.  Once you fill out the form, you should receive all the necessary information regarding your assigned locker.

Q: How do I stay in the program? 

A: Maintain a 3.5 cumulative GPA. Annual review conducted after spring term.
Complete required yearly community service.

Q: How do I complete the program and graduate with Honors Program Designation?

• Maintain a 3.5 cumulative GPA
• Complete yearly community service (10 hours each year)
• Complete 6 honors units during junior and senior years
• Fill out the Completion of the Honors Program Form

Q: What qualifies as 6 units of “honors” curriculum?

• Conduct independent research and enroll in a departmental 196, 197, 198 or 199 (e.g. ME 199)
• Must earn grade of B or higher.
• Paid research positions cannot apply
Grad courses:
• Graduate courses taken for a graduate degree may not apply
• Graduate courses must be in STEM fields
• Must earn grade of B or higher
• EAP can count as honors coursework, as long as you take Engineering related courses (i.e. major). The amount of honors coursework completed corresponds to the number of units earned per course.
• You may earn all 6 units while on EAP, as long coursework is Engineering appropriate.

Q: What qualifies as community service?

A:  Community service is volunteer work that benefits someone other than you!  Iit must be a service for which you are not paid or otherwise given credit.  The organization may not profit monetarily from your service.  In general, we suggest you consider opportunites with a governmental or nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.  View this list of local Santa Barbara organizations.  Students may not receive community service credit for volunteer work done in private homes due to safety and liability issues.  Hours will not be counted for transportation to and from a service event.  Serving as an officer in a club does NOT count as community service.  Nor does tabling for your club to attract new members.

Q: Who can verify my community service?

A: The organizer/coordinator of the event can verify your hours, even if another UCSB student.

Q: If I join the program in a winter or spring, how many hours of community service do I have to complete?

A: Students who enter the program mid-year are responsible for completing 5 hours of community service by the end of June.

Q: How/When do I report my community service?

• Community service can be reported as soon as it is completed using our online portal:  Honors Community Service
• Complete an online entry form for each activity, indicating the number of service hours and the contact email for your service supervisor.  Your volunteer supervisor will get an email regarding your service and will notify our office of any errors.  You will be copied on the email to your supervisor.  Please allow two weeks for processing each entry.

Q: How do I find General Community Service Opportunities?

A: You can review this list of local organizations which may have ongoing events or check out the service opportunities that are publicized at the Community Affairs Board (CAB)