The Honors Opportunity Program (HOP) is the Honors in the Major program for the College of Education. It offers a plan of study rooted in scholarship, research, and practice leading to graduation with Honors.

Key goals for HOP are:

  • To promote an inclusive program

  • To foster mentorships between researchers and future educators

  • To provide challenging experiences designed for high-ability COE students  

If you have questions, please email Randy Lange at

Program Information

All students begin the process by completing the online application on this website. Once accepted, HOP participants usually begin the program with Honors Seminar in Education (EHOP:4100). This two-semester hour course introduces basic research principles and orients students to the research agendas of College of Education faculty. This course provides students the opportunity to learn about current research and imagine the research they may choose to pursue.

HOP participants, however, can request a meeting with the Honors Advisor at the Belin-Blank Center to develop a timeline for its completion. At this meeting, the options for the Enhancement Experience (listed below) requirement can be reviewed, the time to enroll in the Honors Seminar can be determined, and/or an Honors contract for a course can be discussed.

With a faculty mentor (typically during junior or senior year), students develop a plan and immerse themselves in a research-based exploration. Products of the Honors Exploratory can be a research thesis, co-authored article, or an original project. Students enroll in the two-semester hour course, Honors Exploratory (EHOP:4101), during this time.

All the requirements to graduate with Honors through HOP are found in the “Program Information” section. Completion of the Program is determined by the Honors Opportunity Program Advisory Board.

  • Honors distinction at graduation
  • Faculty mentorship
  • Presentation of original work
  • Experiential Learning requirement (12 s.h.) of University Honors Program met
  • Blank Honors Center study space access
  • Learn with and from intellectual peers

Any College of Education student (TEP or ESHR) who is motivated and interested in HOP is invited to apply. While a cumulative GPA of 3.5 in the major (and a cumulative university GPA of 3.33) is required to graduate with Honors in the major, we encourage all to apply.  

Students with a GPA below the targets stated above will be able to submit a personal statement to petition for graduating with Honors in the major during their last semester.

  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above in the major and a cumulative university GPA of 3.33 (individual circumstances will be considered)
  • Complete two required courses (EHOP:4100: Honors Seminar in Education and EHOP:4101 Honors Exploratory)
  • Submit an Honors Exploratory final product
  • Complete five Enhancement Experiences
  • Successful completion of all requirements in major

Enhancement Experiences (Must complete five)

At least one Enhancement Experience must come from EACH area (Scholarship, Research, and Practice).


  • Establishing an Honors contract for a course in the Colleges of Education or Liberal Arts & Science (see below)
  • Participating in an Honors course section (beyond University Honors requirement)
  • Participating in graduate seminars (designated with course numbers of 3000 or higher)
  • Attending the entire event at a national or state conference (includes submitting a one-page reflective summary to the Belin-Blank Center advisor)
  • Presenting at a national or state conference

An Honors contract allows an undergraduate to earn honors credit for a course that can be applied to an Honors requirement even if the course is not formally designated as an Honors offering. The student works directly with the instructor of the course, with the student proposing an additional   project to be completed during the student's enrollment in the course.

Before requesting an honors contract for a non-honors course, the student must meet with the HOP advisor from the Belin-Blank Center to gain approval. If the honors contract course will be used for the University Honors Program’s requirements, that program must also approve the contract.

Deadlines to request an Honors contract are found on the Registrar's academic calendar.


  • Completing an alternative research-oriented assignment in a required class (typically for University Honors)
  • Completing the UI Human Subjects Protections training modules
  • Completing research-based coursework within or outside the COE (approved COE courses include: PSQF 1020, PSQF 4143, PSQF 4150, PSQF 4740)
  • Participating in a research project with a UI faculty member (typically through Independent Study)
  • Documenting research experiences prior to acceptance into HOP


  • Developing a creative use of technology (beyond major or licensure requirements)
  • Completing extra practice or extended field experiences (e.g., attaining additional Teacher Leader Certificate)
  • Participating in outreach program activities above and beyond requirements of the major (e.g., community service, summer programming for youth, tutoring at a local school)
  • Participating in UI outreach programs or activities that are aligned with the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative
  • Participating in special student teaching placement sites (these must be approved and are typically Title I schools, those with majority minority populations, or international placements)
  • Holding a leadership role in a registered UI student organization or professional organization

In addition to the above requirements, membership in honors organizations (e.g., Phi Beta Kappa, Pi Lambda Theta) and/or professional organizations are encouraged.

Students may earn both University Honors and Honors in the Major (through HOP). However, HOP students are NOT required to participate in the University Honors Program. The University Honors Program allows students to satisfy the 12-semester hour experiential learning requirement through the completion of HOP. It is not necessary for HOP students to submit their research thesis or project to the University Honors Program because they receive information about the Honors in the Major through the UI record system.

Students who participate in University Honors Program and HOP graduate with double Honors. Secondary education can choose to also do Honors in their specific field (e.g., History, Mathematics) resulting in graduating with triple Honors.

Faculty Opportunities

Faculty are an integral part of the Honors Opportunity Program (HOP). Students benefit from the mentorship that faculty provide through the program specifically during the Honors Exploratory. Past students have noted the value of the student-faculty relationship developed through HOP, and how it served as inspiration to strive for excellence in education.

Creating an inclusive program is a top goal of HOP. Because of the direct contact faculty have with students, you are in an excellent position to discover students with high potential for success in HOP, especially students from backgrounds and cultures who have not been well represented in HOP in the past.

If you want to get involved, have any additional ideas for faculty involvement, or have questions, please email Randy Lange at

There are several ways faculty can get involved in HOP.

  • Recommend high-ability students from all populations to apply to HOP
  • Participate in the Spring Honors Seminar
  • Serve as a research mentor during Honors Exploratory
  • Invite an HOP student to assist with your research
  • Partner with students during the development of an honors contract or an alternate assignment
  • Serve on the Honors Opportunity Program Advisory Committee

HOP-involved faculty shared …

"met very capable students in education”

“were able to discuss research with them”

“met eager students who wanted to make the most of their educational experience in the college and at the UI”

“felt the program was a real win-win."

“enjoyed opportunities to help future teachers initiate classroom-based research”