UMass Boston

About the Honors College

UMass Boston’s Honors College provides a home for a cohort of intellectually ambitious students who are eager to research complex local and global issues from multiple perspectives.

This unique experience fosters independent thinking, self-discovery, and leadership among undergraduate students who reflect the vibrant diversity of our urban, local and global communities. Seminars are taught by distinguished faculty from across the University in a collaborative and innovative environment that encourages active inquiry and rigorous analysis.

Aspirational Vision  

  1. To welcome students at all levels of entry or continuance of study at the University to participate in courses that require them to synthesize challenging material, drawn variously from the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural and life sciences, nursing and health sciences.
  2. To create for students an environment of ecological learning, in which students and faculty use different paradigmatic lenses and methodologies to construct new ways to understand the diverse challenges existing within our local and global contexts. 
  3. To attract students to the study of complex systems, trans-disciplinary ideas, and knowledge development.


  1. To enhance students’ intellectual curiosity
  2. To model and inspire academic excellence
  3. To adopt leadership and integral supporting roles in the work of inspiring or advocating for individuals and groups, as well as ideas.
  4. To cultivate an appreciation for the connections among seemingly disparate fields of knowledge
  5. To generate excitement for exploring complex intellectual terrain and to foster ethical responsibilities in conducting research
  6. To encourage critical social consciousness:  to recognize our interconnectedness with others in local and global communities and to act on our responsibility to bring about greater equalities therein.
  7. To demonstrate how students’ developing knowledge and skills can benefit their diverse communities.

Message from the Dean

"A transformative education is less about what you accomplish than about who you become.”



Welcome to the Honors College at UMass Boston! We are a collaborative community that joins students and faculty from almost every college and major at UMass Boston in a unique learning environment. Uniting us is our dedication to academic excellence and commitment to influencing our communities in positive ways. As one of the most diverse Honors Colleges in the United States, we emphasize access and mobility, connecting our curious, passionate students to the wide range of resources and opportunities available at a research university. Combining holistic and individualized advising, research and co-curricular opportunities, and small seminar-style classes, we bring together students, faculty, and advisors who understand the critical role that education can play in changing our local and global worlds.

Big challenges require novel responses, and our boldly transdisciplinary courses are a model of pedagogical innovation designed to work along with major classes to expose students to ways of thinking that expand their horizons. Our students and faculty traverse diverse fields of knowledge, bringing them together in new ways that open up fresh ways of thinking about intellectual and real-world problems. We provide travel-study opportunities that take students to places such as health care facilities in South Africa, Japanese-American internment camps in California, or hip-hop events in New York City. And we prioritize stay-study opportunities by bringing innovative speakers and experiences directly into the UMass Boston classroom. These include visits from human rights activists from Cabo Verde, former major league baseball players, and local authors or local trips to collaborate with the Boston Mayor’s office to present solutions to local problems, to learn about hops and malt varieties at nearby breweries, or to gain access to special events at local museums. Our advisors have different areas of expertise that allow them to connect students with targeted research, internship, and professional opportunities.

A transformative education is less about what you accomplish than about who you become. As a community of scholars dedicated to personal and intellectual transformation, the Honors College prides itself on investing its students with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to become leaders who can make a change in their communities, professions, and personal lives. So join us on our intellectual journey!

Susan Gauss
Interim Dean, Honors College
Associate Professor of Latin American and Iberian Studies