Self-Designed Experiences

Students crossing street in autumn

Self-designed experiences allow students to intentionally seek out and participate in opportunities that explore the UHP vision. Unlike seminars or pre-approved experiences where faculty, staff, or programs dictate the structure, self-designed experiences empower the student to author their own experience and timeline.

From learning to cook or play an instrument, to leading student organizations or community engagement efforts, UHP students can turn nearly any passion into a self-designed experience! Students are encouraged to pursue research and internships as self-designed experiences as well; however, UHP cannot provide grants for unpaid research or internships. 

Below is a list of the stages to complete a self-designed experience. Click on each stage to see it in further detail.

Self-designed experiences are just one option for completing honors experience requirements. Students may also enroll in honors seminars or engage in pre-approved experiences to complete their requirements. 

International Self-Designed Experiences

There is additional information to be aware of if you plan to develop a self-designed experience with international travel. Please reference the material on our International Travel resources.

If you intend to propose an international honors experience independent of UC faculty or staff-led opportunities, official university student organizations, or partner organizations/exchanges, you must submit your international self-designed honors experience proposal by the following deadlines:

  • October 5: Winter break experiences
  • January 5: Spring break experiences
  • March 5: May/June experiences
  • April 5: July/August experiences
  • June 5: Fall experiences

If you have any questions, please check-in with your honors advisor.

Proposal Examples

Time Commitment

Self-designed experiences must consist of at least 75 hours of work. Time spent in a UC class cannot count towards the 75 hour requirement.

Work with your honors advisor

While many students independently conceive of their self-designed experience, some would like extra support from their honors advisor to brainstorm ideas for their experiences, prospective project advisors, opportunities to share your learning, or other questions.

Whether you have an experience in mind or you're starting from scratch, we encourage you to start thinking about what you hope to learn. Honors advisors or potential experience advisors are fantastic people to help you consider options, additional ideas, and resources. They can assist you as you draw on your passions, skills, and goals to shape your personalized learning experience.

The proposal is a required component of self-designed experiences. Please use the standard proposal form (below). Please maintain the format of the proposal. It's important when we provide you feedback.

There is additional information to be aware of if you plan to develop a self-designed experience with international travel. Please reference the material on our International Travel resources.

Proposals must be submitted to the database and approved BEFORE a project begins. The deadline to submit proposals to the database is 11:59pm on the 5th of every month.

You may submit a proposal to the database at any time; there is no need to wait until a deadline to submit. Your proposal will be reviewed by the Honors Proposal Review committee. Your advisor will contact you by the 20th of the same month with the committee's approval to start the experience or a request for revisions. If revisions are required, you must submit your revised proposal no later than the 5th of the following month. Your advisor may request an earlier date depending on your exeprience start date.

Important note: Advisors will not consider proposals for experiences that have already passed. The value of a self-designed experience is realized when you can plan ahead and participate in the on-going reflection. There may be instances where there is less than a month to submit your proposal before your experience would start. You should communicate this to your honors advisor as soon as possible. 

Actively reflect throughout the experience

The ongoing reflection section of the proposal should lay out a plan for reflecting throughout the experience. The active reflection should begin at the project start date and continue through the project end date.

We recommend reviewing the list of alternative reflection examples and other tips before getting started. Your plans for a final reflection might help determine your methods for ongoing reflection.

Submit the self-designed experience reflection to Honors database

Purpose: Reflect upon your experience and articulate your learning and the impact of the experience.

Audience: You (and your honors advisor).

Guidelines: Use the following prompts to guide your reflection:

  • What happened in your experience? What did you learn connected to your experience and personal goals?
  • What impact did this experience have on you? Why does it matter to you and society?
  • How will this experience impact your future?

Format: A written reflection or an alternative form of reflection. We recommend reviewing the list of alternative reflection examples and other tips before getting started. Suggested length for a written reflection to reach sufficient depth and breadth is 750 words.

Timeline: Submit your reflection to the UHP database within 1 month of the conclusion of the self-designed experience.



The learning portfolio showcase is a requirement for all honors experiences (honors seminars, pre-approved, and self-designed).