The Honors College, one of only seven in Texas, is a member of the National Collegiate Honors Council and the regional Great Plains Honors Council.

It was established in the late 1970s as a small College of Liberal Arts program comprising a freshman topics seminar and a year-long American studies sequence that integrated core courses in English literature, United States and Texas history, and United States and Texas state government. The limited course offerings of this program made it possible to work with annual student cohorts, the courses offered being the only means of fulfilling the hour requirements of the program.

By the mid-1990s, science core courses and a few advanced-level courses were added to the program in an effort to expand it to other colleges and schools outside of the College of Liberal Arts. In 1998, the University sought and received approval from the UT System to promote the unit to a college and the following year it was formally initiated on the UTA campus, becoming the third Honors College in the State of Texas.