Honors Studies Program

Do Honors students have an advantage when applying to medical school?

Choosing to do Honors is a way to distinguish yourself in the highly competitive medical school application process. Taking advantage of undergraduate research opportunities as an Honors student is highly regarded by medical school admissions committees and is an essential factor considered when students apply for a highly-competitive combined M.D./Ph.D. program.

University of Arkansas Honors College

In 2002, the Honors College received a generous gift of $200 million from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation to enhance the honors program for undergraduates. The gift funds the prestigious UA Honors College Fellowships ($50,000 over 4 years), provides support to faculty who teach in the honors program, and provides support for study abroad scholarships. Honors students have numerous opportunities for undergraduate research with one-on-one faculty interaction, priority registration, special housing. They also receive guidance when applying for prestigious national and international scholarships such as the Barry Goldwater, Gates Cambridge,Truman, and Rhodes scholarship through the Office of Post-Graduate Fellowships within the UA Honors College. For more information please visit UA Honors College.


A Letter from Dr. Suzanne McCray:

Dear Premed Student,

Congratulations on choosing a career in the challenging and quickly evolving medical profession. You are clearly an intellectually curious and academically successful student or you would choose a different path. I am writing this note to encourage you to also consider participating in the Honors Program. Since 1990, only two students who have graduated with honors from the University of Arkansas have not been accepted into medical school. A 98% acceptance record is tough to beat anywhere.

The University of Arkansas does not restrict applications to medical school. The field is open to any applicant --honors or not. Do you have to be an honors student to be competitive? No. Does participating in Honors increase your chances of attending medical school anywhere in the country? Absolutely. Just look at the record. All but three students who have gone out of state in the last ten years have been Honors students. Does it increase your chances of being accepted at UAMS? Yes, again. Should you be in the honors program if you wish to pursue an MD/PhD program? Without question. All the UofA students who have been accepted in an MD/PhD program in the last ten years have been Honors graduates.

When you join the Honors program, you send the message that you are exceptional within an already competitive group of students. You participate in honors research. Departmental Honors students complete 12 hours of honors course work, six hours of which are directly connected to research in the department. Four-Year scholars participate in a rigorous but rewarding curriculum completed by 2% of the graduating population, and these students also complete an undergraduate research project. Letters of recommendation reflect these accomplishments, and make you even more competitive for admission to medical school.

The most important single factor for admission to medical school is, of course, your course preparation throughout your four undergraduate years. Taking a demanding course load, keeping your grades as high as possible, is essential. Each course you take helps you prepare for doing well on the MCAT, and eventually for attending medical school. Some students worry that participating in Honors will interfere with maintaining a high grade point average in the face of already tough semesters. This is rarely the case. Most premed students thrive in classes that provide extra faculty/student interactions, and the rewards in terms of gaining a competitive edge fro a variety of scholarships and for admission to top schools are immeasurable. We have a long list of success stories in terms of medical school admissions from the Honors program (Josephine Ta, Barry Goldwater Scholar, UAMS; Brent Ragar, Washington University School of Medicine; Nam Le, Barry Goldwater Scholar, MD/PhD program, Wash U:, Bao Dang, Barry Goldwater Scholar, UAMS; Amy Drake, Johns Hopkins Medical School; Kyle Harrison, Stanford; Anna Terry, Rhodes Scholar, accepted to UAMS, Vanderbilt, Washington University, and Johns Hopkins Medical Schools)

Suzanne McCray
Vice Provost for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions


Office of Nationally Competitive Awards 
Suzanne McCray
232 Silas Hunt Hall

Visit the Office of Post-Graduate Fellowships web site for information about:

  • Barry Goldwater Scholarships
  • State Undergraduate Research Fellowships
  • Merck Undergraduate Science Research Scholarship Awards
  • National Institutes of Health Fellowships
  • National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)

This photograph was taken when Berumen was doing his Senior thesis research work on the Great Barrier Reef in AustraliaMichael Berumen

Summa Cum Laude
B.S. Zoology

Title of Thesis:
"Diet and Condition of Butterflyfish in Habitats with Varying Coral Composition"

ChangMegan Chang

Cum Laude
B.S. Biology
AED President 2005-2006

Title of Thesis:
"Control of Programmed Cell Death"

DietzDavid Deitz

Summa Cum Laude
B.S. Biophysical Chemistry
B.A. Political Science, European Studies, Philosophy

Title of Thesis:
"The Study of the Cyclization Mechanism of Non-Aromatic Annulated Trienyl Iron Complexes in the Formation of o-Quinone Methide Analogs"

Links to Honors Programs