University of Wisconsin Madison College of Engineering
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The Engineering Honors in Liberal Arts distinction


EHLA Program


High-ability students who enter the College of Engineering as first-year students with particularly broad educational goals and exceptional academic skills may be interested in the EHLA program (Engineering Honors in Liberal Arts). It is a clone of the honors program in the College of Letters in Science, and as such gives selected students both access and motivation to take honors-level classes to fulfill basic engineering degree requirements. Note that the College of Engineering does not offer honors classes, except for a few honors independent studies courses.


Rationale for EHLA


Students choose many distinct routes through the undergraduate engineering degree program. The purpose of EHLA is to provide recognition and encouragement for those students who have both the motivation and ability to fulfill not only the basic requirements for the degree, but a higher level of achievement: completion of unusually focused, challenging courses which require substantial critical thinking and independent inquiry in diverse modes. By requiring EHLA students to take honors classes in humanities and social studies as well as physical and natural sciences, the College of Engineering acknowledges the utility of being able to solve complex problems from a number of different viewpoints.


As a sidelight, EHLA offers social opportunities for gifted students to meet and interact. EHLA is highly selective, because space is limited in UW-Madison honors courses. Prospective students should see EHLA as just one way to progress toward an excellent engineering education. It alone does not make a student successful. As a corollary, students should not see it as THE reason to enroll at UW-Madison: EHLA is only one of many opportunities for achieving excellence.


Requirements for the EHLA


The EHLA designation will be awarded to those admitted to the EHLA program who meet the following requirements at graduation:


  1. Satisfaction of requirements for one of the undergraduate engineering degrees
  2. A cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.3 in Honors classes
  3. Completion of at least 24 credits in Honors courses with grades of B or better
  4. Completion of at least 6 credits in Honors courses in the humanities, 6 credits in social sciences, and 6 credits in natural sciences
  5. Completion of at least 15 Honors credits in courses with the timetable designation "H" or "!" (special honors sections). The other credits may have % timetable designation or be taken for honors by special arrangement


The EHLA distinction is conferred at the point of graduation, and takes the form of a transcript notation. When students complete EHLA requirements (which could be as early as the second year), they are encouraged to note on their resume "All requirements for EHLA completed."


The EHLA Opportunity Fund


All students admitted to EHLA are eligible to apply for professional development funds through the EHLA Opportunity Fund, established through grants from the College of Engineering Dean's Office and the UW-Madison Honors Committee. The program gives EHLA students a chance to apply for up to $1,000 to fund educationally related opportunities such as the following:


  • Travel to and from a study abroad program or international internship/co-op opportunity
  • Travel to and from a domestic co-op/internship, in cases it is not covered by the employer
  • Registration and travel to a professional conference relevant to a student's career interests (priority given to students presenting at such a conference)
  • Registration and travel to a career-related seminar or continuing education course
  • Travel to investigate graduate or professional school opportunities (limited to schools at which a student has already been accepted)
  • Funding for research or development expenses for the Schoofs Prize for Creativity, Engineering EXPO, campus Undergraduate Symposium, or any other independent studies project expenses not covered by another agency


An EHLA student may be selected for a maximum of one Opportunity Fund activity before they complete EHLA requirements (contingent on a successful application), and two additional activities after they complete EHLA requirements, should they submit additional proposals which are accepted. EHLA Opportunity Fund awards are made in the form of re-imbursement for actual, documented expenses relevant to the activity.


Applications are accepted year-round, but must be made at least four weeks before the beginning of the proposed activity. Awards will be competitive, limited to the funds available (approximately 10-12 awards per years), and selected based on the value added to a particular student's education and professional development.

Download and submit the Application for EHLA Opportunity Fund Program Award application to apply. 


Questions about EHLA


Please contact the EHLA coordinator Andrew Greenburg (