Honors Program

The honors program is an interdisciplinary community of undergraduate students and faculty working together to create an intellectually stimulating and challenging environment for learning. Honors students take a common sequence of core curriculum courses, participate each semester in the Honors Explorations Seminar, and produce a professional quality paper or project as part of the Honors Capstone. The honors program also sponsors a variety of extra-curricular programs, such as travel to local and regional historical venues and cultural events, opportunities for presenting original research, and participation in conferences sponsored by the National Collegiate Honors Council and other colleges and universities. Program-related decisions are made and activities are planned with input from both honors faculty and students. Honors students also receive recognition on their transcript, at university awards ceremonies, and at commencement.

The academic portion of the honors program consists of three components. The first is an alternative 36-credit core sequence in the humanities and social sciences. All students must complete a core curriculum, but honors students take humanities and social sciences classes with a special emphasis on written responses (science and math requirements are taken as part of the regular core). Honors classes are not necessarily harder, but approach course material in different ways. They tend to be small and interactive, emphasize discussion and critical analysis, and use primary sources in addition to textbooks. Additionally, honors courses are interdisciplinary, linked by common principles and ideas. All honors core courses are listed as “Section 07” in each semester’s schedule of classes. In combination they include: two semesters of English, fine arts, history, philosophy, and religious studies, plus one semester of psychology and either sociology or economics. Elective honors courses in math, the natural sciences, and the health sciences also may be offered. A minimum of eight honors section core courses is required to graduate with honors.

The second academic component requires student participation in the non-credit Explorations Seminar (HNR 300), which meets three times per semester. Within this seminar, students and faculty together explore a theme or topic that often relates to issues being explored in the honors courses. While the seminar may take different forms, such as a debate, a roundtable, or a guest lecture, it always involves discussion among students and faculty.

The final academic component of the program is the Capstone Project (HNR 401) in which students create a professional-quality project that advances their research and presentation skills. Students develop their projects after a process of self-directed research and writing under faculty guidance. The final projects are presented in a public forum to the university community and published in the honors journal Honorus.

Students are admitted to the honors program by application only. Admission decisions for first-year students are based on high school academic record, involvement in extra-curricular activities, evidence of intellectual curiosity, and overall “fit” with the program. Application materials may be requested by any qualified, interested high school senior. In addition, current and transfer students can determine their eligibility for admission to the program by contacting the program director. To remain in the honors program, students must maintain a 3.15 GPA in their first and sophomore years, and a 3.35 GPA subsequently.

All honors courses are open to non-honors first-year students and sophomores with a 3.0 GPA or higher, and to juniors and seniors with a 3.25 GPA or higher, with the professor’s approval and assuming space is available.

For information contact Thomas Hajkowski, PhD.