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 in preparation for independent research and inquiry.

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://shoreline.ucsb.edu/meetings/1336990/coefrances)
  • Quarterly honors programming, including special tours and lectures
  • Scholars Floors, located in several university-owned residence halls, are available to eligible first-year students

*Membership privileges are subject to change annually.


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. 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 three regular quarters at UCSB. 

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.

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

Annual Program Requirements

To maintain status in the program, all continuing 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.

Students are encouraged to pursue enrichment activities and should review the yearly program guide for enrichment suggestions and guidance.

*Due to the rapidly changing situation of COVID-19, the COE Honors Program strongly recommends that you follow all social distancing protocols and wait until the situation is safe to continue your volunteer hours, or to look for ways to volunteer virtually.  You may consider some of the following for ideas:  https://www.dosomething.org/us/articles/9-places-to-volunteer-online-and-make-a-real-impact

To graduate as an Honors Program "Scholar"

Honors Program scholars wear a 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 (numbered 200-299), 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.  Paid research positions cannot apply.
  • 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.  See exceptions above for the summer 2021 cycle.

Q: How can I apply to the Honors Program?

A: Please complete the online application to apply to the Honors Program. The application is only open July 1- July 31.

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

A: Applications are submitted duirng the summer and honors status will begin the following quarter, fall.

Q: How do I start my graduate library privileges (including request a book locker)?

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 (Courses #200-299):
• 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!  It 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: 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). There are also opportunities with the Education Outreach program of the Materials Research Lab. This program works with local schools and teachers to encourage STEM in K-12 settings. Projects generally involve developing science demonstrations or other education device and presenting in classrooms and elementary school science nights. For more information, contact Frank at frank_kinnaman@ucsb.edu.  Students interested in tutoring a local middle school student can check out opportunties with the Youth Innovation Club High Impact Tutoring Program: https://www.youthinnovationclub.org/high-impact-tutoring