Academic Advising and Honors Opportunities

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Academic Advising

At the time of admission to UCI every undergraduate student is assigned to the school that offers the student’s selected major. Students who have indicated “Undecided/Undeclared” as a major on their UC application for admission and scholarships receive assistance from the Undecided/Undeclared Advising Program until they select an academic major.

Jurisdiction over all questions of academic regulations and academic standing rests with the dean of the school to which a student is assigned or, in the case of undecided/undeclared majors, with the Dean of the Division of Undergraduate Education. Each academic unit provides academic advising for its students and processes requests to add or drop courses, waive or change graduation or other requirements, or change majors. Students are responsible for knowing the governing regulations of the school or program to which they are assigned.

While each academic unit is responsible for maintaining a system that provides academic advising, these systems differ from unit to unit. In some, all of the faculty serve as advisors; in others, only certain members of the faculty are designated as advisors. All advising offices include academic counselors, professionals who assist students in planning their program, selecting a major, and making progress toward a degree. Peer academic advisors (trained upper-division students) assist students in many of the same areas as academic counselors. In addition, they are able to answer questions relating to student life issues, providing a student perspective. Responsibility for informing students of the names of their advisors rests with the dean of the appropriate academic unit. This is normally done by letter; however, students may obtain information by telephone from the office of the appropriate dean. Telephone numbers for academic advising offices are listed in the academic unit sections of the Catalogue.

New students are required to plan their academic programs with an academic counselor shortly after being admitted. The optimum time to initiate contact with an academic counselor is before the student enrolls in classes. The academic counselor can help the student determine whether the classes the student wishes to take are appropriate to the student’s level of preparation, whether the proposed classes fit within the student’s educational goals, and whether the classes will help meet some of the requirements for graduation.

In some schools, consultation between students and their faculty advisors is mandatory. Regardless of whether or not consultation between student and advisor is required, students are responsible for initiating and maintaining periodic contact with their assigned faculty advisor. The actual frequency of these meetings will be determined by the desires of the student, the advisor, and the unit’s governing regulations.

Each quarter, students are encouraged to go to the appropriate academic dean’s office prior to registration for advice concerning class enrollment.

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Honors Recognition

Students who graduate during the academic year with academic honors, and those who receive special school awards, are honored in school-based ceremonies. Some honors societies may also hold special ceremonies for selected students. Of the graduating seniors, no more than 12 percent will receive academic honors: approximately 1 percent summa cum laude, 3 percent magna cum laude, and 8 percent cum laude. The criteria used in selecting candidates for these honors are available at the counseling office of each school. One general criterion is that students must have completed at least 72 quarter units in residence at a University of California campus. The student’s cumulative record at the end of the final quarter is the basis for consideration for awarding Latin Honors. Students who have on file recorded acts of academic dishonesty, as defined in University of California Policies Applying to Campus Activities, Organizations and Students, may be excluded by the Associate Deans from consideration for academic honors at graduation. For further information contact the academic counseling office of each school.

Honors Opportunities

UC Irvine offers many challenging and enriching honors opportunities to its most accomplished and motivated students. These include a comprehensive Campuswide Honors Program, which enrolls outstanding students of all majors from the freshman through senior years; a variety of major-specific honors programs at the upper-division level; the Humanities Honors Program, also offered at the upper-division level, but open to all majors on campus; and several Excellence in Research programs.

These programs offer some of the advantages usually associated with selective liberal arts colleges: rigorous, personalized classes and the intellectual exchange that creates a community of scholars. The difference, however, is that UCI’s programs are supported by and benefit from the resources of a major research university, including renowned faculty, research opportunities, and the 38-million-volume University of California Library system.

Honors students are also encouraged to participate in the UC Education Abroad Program, the International Opportunities Program, or the UCDC Academic Internship Program. Qualified students are also encouraged to take advantage of resources available in the Scholarship Opportunities Program (SOP) and the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). These programs are also described in other sections of this Catalogue.

Major-Specific and School Honors Programs

Honors programs for qualified junior- and senior-level students also are available to Drama, Music, and Art majors in the Claire Trevor School of the Arts, and to all qualified junior- and senior-level majors in the following Schools: Francisco J. Ayala School of Biological Sciences, Humanities, Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, Physical Sciences, Social Ecology, and Social Sciences; and to qualified junior- and senior-level majors in the Program in Public Health. The focal point of each of these programs is the development of analytical and research skills through the pursuit of research under faculty supervision. An honors-level thesis or creative project is required by most of the programs. CHP students are encouraged to participate in these programs as well as the Campuswide Honors Program. The honors thesis or creative project that is developed through these programs also satisfies the CHP research and thesis requirement. Additional information is available in the specific academic unit sections of this Catalogue.

Excellence in Research Programs

The Francisco J. Ayala School of Biological Sciences and the Departments of Cognitive Sciences and of Psychology and Social Behavior offer students the opportunity to pursue research through their Excellence in Research Programs. Students work on their research projects under faculty supervision and have the opportunity to present their results to peers and faculty and, in certain instances, to have their research papers published. Additional information is available in the specific academic unit sections of this Catalogue.

Phi Beta Kappa

Founded in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest and most respected undergraduate honor society in the United States. It supports and recognizes academic excellence and scholarly achievement in the liberal arts and sciences, and promotes the principles of freedom of inquiry and liberty of thought and expression. UC Irvine’s Phi Beta Kappa Chapter (Mu of California) was founded in 1974. Phi Beta Kappa is UCI’s most selective honor society, with only 5 percent of graduating seniors and 1 percent of juniors invited to become members each year. An annual initiation ceremony for new members is held in June. For additional information, including selection criteria, visit the Phi Beta Kappa website.

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