Honors Program

Interdisciplinary Program Coordinator: Richard White

The Honors Program gives students opportunities to enroll in honors versions of core courses and to engage in independent thinking, research and writing within their own major. Select and invitational, the Honors Program is open to entering first-year students upon the recommendation of the admission committee and the coordinator of Honors and Undergraduate Research. Well-qualified students may also enter the Honors Program at the sophomore level by submitting a completed application to the Honors Program in the spring semester of their first year.

Each semester honors courses are offered which fulfill a variety of core requirements which may include honors symposium, mathematics, lower-division fine arts, social science, natural science, theology and humanities as well as upper-division humanities, social science, Judeo-Christian heritage and senior seminar. These courses are specially designed to develop students' writing and discussion skills beyond the norm, as well as their ability to think critically and to use primary sources. In addition to regular honors courses, honors reading groups (under Honors 270 and 370) provide honors students with an opportunity to discuss great books of mutual interest with a professor and small group of classmates outside of the usual classroom.

Students in honors may also earn up to eight honors option credits by contracting with instructors of core or departmental courses to supplement normal course work with an additional reading, research or writing project. Students interested in such an honors option should contact the program director. Students are encouraged to plan honors core courses and the senior project into their four-year plan of study carefully, especially if they intend to spend one or more semesters abroad.

To graduate with "All-College Honors" students must earn 32 credits or more in honors courses, including 8 credits in 300-level courses and achieve at least a 3.4 cumulative GPA. Two Honors Options may be used to fulfill 8 of the 32 credits required. For students who enter the program in their sophomore year or who spend a semester abroad, the 32 credit requirement is reduced to 28 credits. Two Honors Options may be used to fulfill 8 of the 28 credits required.

To graduate with “All-College Honors with Thesis or Departmental Distinction” one of the required Honors courses must be the Honors Thesis and the 0 or 1 credit Proposal course.  If the grade received on the thesis is B or AB students will receive All-College Honors with Thesis. If an A or H is earned, the citation will be All-College Honors with Departmental Distinction.
First-year honors students need to achieve a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 by the end of their first year to remain in the program. Sophomores must achieve a cumulative GPA of at least 3.2 each semester to remain in good standing. Juniors and seniors must maintain a 3.4 cumulative GPA to remain in good standing.

Suggested Sequence

Students normally take one honors course each of the eight semesters they are enrolled for a total of seven courses plus the senior honors thesis. However, students who want an additional challenge are encouraged to take two or more honors courses in a given semester on a space-available basis.

First year: 100 and 101.
Sophomore year: One or two 200-level courses each semester.
Junior year: One or more 200- or 300-level course each semester or an honors option. In addition, Honors 396 in the spring semester.
Senior year: Honors 398 in the student's major field (normally required first semester of a student's senior year) and an additional 300-level honors course or an honors option.

Courses (HONR)

Courses may be repeated for credit, if the content varies, with the permission of the director.

100-101 Honors Symposium. (4, 4)
A two-semester course with an emphasis on developing the skills in interpretation, writing, discussion and research which characterize all honors courses. Themes may vary to accommodate faculty and student interests. Fulfills First-Year Symposium requirement and eight credits toward graduation with "All-College Honors."

210 Honors Natural Science. (4)
An introductory study of great scientists, scientific ideas, and/or the most influential of scientific developments and revolutions in our culture. Fulfills one course of the core natural science requirement.

220 Honors Social Science. (4)
An introductory study of the most significant ideas and developments in the history of the social sciences. Fulfills the lower-division core requirement for the social sciences.

230 Honors Fine Arts. (4)
An introductory study of great authors for the theater, artists and/or composers and their works. Fulfills one course of the core fine arts requirement.

240 Honors Theology. (4)
The Christian Tradition rests on the Bible in combination with the received wisdom and practice that has been handed down for over two-thousand years.  Students study and apply the interpretive methods for understanding the sacred text.  The course then examines the major questions of Christianity by incorporating theological works, novels, the arts, and film into class discussion.  Fulfills the lower-division core requirement for theology.

250 Honors Humanities. (4)
An introductory study of great literary writers, philosophers and/or historians. Emphasis of these courses (whether literature, philosophy, or history) will be determined by student and faculty interest. Fulfills one course of the lower-division humanities core requirement.

270 Honors Special Topics. (0-4)
Special topics courses offered according to student and faculty interest. Honors reading groups (0-1 credit) fall under the special topics heading. Honors students play the main role in determining the theme and frequency of such groups.

271 Individual Learning Project. (1-4)
Supervised reading or research at the lower-division level. Permission of the coordinator of honors and undergraduate research required. Not available to first-year students.

310-311 Great Books, Great Ideas. (4,4)
A year-long discussion-based seminar for juniors which concentrates on many of the world's greatest works of literature, political philosophy and intellectual history. Authors include Plato, Aristotle, Biblical writers, Augustine, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Goethe, Marx, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Freud, Woolf, Faulkner, O'Connor, Nadine Gordimer and Toni Morrison. Students selected for this seminar are asked to read a number of novels and plays to prepare themselves for participation in the course. Interview required in the Spring semester of a student's sophomore year.

320 Honors Social Science. (4)
A study of great ideas and developments in the social sciences. Fulfills the upper-division core requirement for the social sciences.

340 Honors Judeo-Christian Heritage. (4)
An in-depth study of great writers, texts, developments and ideas of our Judeo-Christian culture and its traditions. Fulfills the upper-division core Judeo-Christian heritage requirement.

350 Honors Humanities. (4)
A study of great philosophers, literary authors and/or historians and their works. Emphasis of this course (whether history, literature, or philosophy) will be determined by student and faculty interest. Fulfills one course of the core upper-division humanities requirement.

370 Honors Special Topics. (0-4)
Special topics courses offered according to student and faculty interest. Honors reading groups (0-1 credit) fall under the special topics heading. Honors students play the main role in determining the theme and frequency of special topics courses.

371 Individual Learning Project. (1-4)
Supervised reading or research at the upper-division level. Permission of the coordinator of honors and undergraduate research and completion (or concurrent registration) of 12 credits within the program required. Not available to first-year students.

390 Honors Senior Seminar. (4)
Analysis of societal and personal ethical issues. Topics are interdisciplinary and are chosen because they defy easy answers and widen the field of moral vision. This honors course fulfills the core senior seminar requirement.

396 Proposal for Honors Essay, Research or Creative Project. (0-1)
Regular meetings with an advisor from the student's academic major and completion of a proposal for a senior honors essay or project. Normally taken spring semester of the student's junior year.

398 Honors Senior Essay, Research or Creative Project. (4)
Close work with a faculty advisor from the student's major department in writing a thesis, conducting research or executing a creative project, often in an area closely related to the advisor's own research or creative work culminating in a public defense. Students receiving a grade of A or H receive departmental distinction within their major. Normally taken fall semester of the senior year within the student's major (e.g., CHEM 398, ENGL 398, PSYC 398). Note: also available to students not in the Honors Program. Prerequisites: HONR 396 and approval of the appropriate departmental chair and the coordinator of the honors and undergraduate research program.