Frequently Asked Questions about the CSB/SJU Honors Program

By Honors students and members of the Honors Planning and Advisory Council (HPAC)

What are the benefits of the CSB/SJU Honors Program?

The Honors Program is an intellectually enriching program within the classroom and provides camaraderie outside the classroom. It prepares students to think critically, tackle difficult topics, and develop discussion skills. Honors courses are engaging and dynamic, as well as relevant to everyday life. The Honors Program also prepares students for graduate-level studies because of its small seminar-style classes and particularly with the All College Thesis program, which can be taken for Honors credit. 

--Molly Mendel ‘21, Biology/Creative Writing, Yoga Sculpt instructor, Chemistry Club (Edina MN)

How are Honors classes different? 

Honors classes are not about "being harder" or "giving more homework." They are intended to facilitate deeper conversations in class, curiosity outside of the classroom, and a richer learning experience. Honors classes are set up to have discussion-based learning. Professors value students’ conclusions about course readings. Honors classes will challenge you to go more in depth to expand your understanding and knowledge of the course topic.. 

--Lydia Glen ‘19 , Political Science/Math, HPAC co-president, editor for The Record, the CSB/SJU newspaper (St. Cloud,  MN)

How do I graduate with All College Honors?

To graduate with All College Honors, students take 8 courses (or 7 courses, if you study abroad).  To get there, you can take four-credit Honors classes are offered in different academic disciplines each semester; they also count toward your common curriculum requirements. You can write All College thesis in your major, which counts as an Honors course.  You can take a regular four-credit course in a field of your choice as an Honors Option*. You can even design your own course in conjunction with a professor. The Honors Program at CSB SJU gives students multiple opportunities to deepen knowledge across a variety of disciplines and successfully graduate with honors.

--Marissa Behounek ‘20, Chemistry/History, CSB Swim Team (La Vista, NE)

What is an Honors Option?  

If you choose, you can take one of your regular four-credit classes for Honors credits. To earn honors credit, you work with your professor to identify a topic you would like to dig deeper into and do reading and writing (or lab work, artistic creation, etc.) that goes beyond the course material. Exact details will vary depending on each specific professor and course.
- -Molly Kluever ’20, English/Theology, HPAC co-president, sacristan for CSB Campus Ministry, Attention-Starved Children improv group (Malone, WI)

Can I study abroad and still finish the Honors Program?

Yes! For students who wish to spend a semester abroad, the 32-credit (8 course) requirement to complete the Honors program is reduced to 28 credits (7 courses)! The CSB/SJU faculty highly value the opportunity to study abroad because those who return from an international experience have gained a greater awareness of cultural values of both the host country and their own country, demonstrate growth in their independence, and exemplify better approaches in integrating their education abroad experience with their CSB/SJU liberal arts experience. If you wish to study abroad, set up meetings with your advisors and Honors faculty to work it into your schedule – the sooner the better!

- Carisa Hilton ‘20, Nutrition/Dietetics, CSB/SJU Joint Events Council, Benedictine Friends (San Diego, CA)

Can science majors complete the Honors Program?
While it can be a challenge to fit in Honors courses in a science major, it is doable! The Chemistry department is now offering Honors sections of its introductory course.  If you want to explore courses in other fields, look for Honors courses. You can take most of your common curriculum courses as Honors. Additionally, you can work with a professor to take a course as an Honors Option*, and there is always the possibility of doing this with a science course in your major. And remember you can always take Honors courses for the extra insight, challenge and camaraderie you will find there, even if you don’t end up completing the program. Choose your path in the Honors Program and make the most of your four years at CSB/SJU!

--Valerie Doze ‘21, Biochemistry Major/German Minor, Benedictine Friends, Writing Center tutor  (Grand Forks, ND) 

How will I know which Honors classes will be offered each semester? 

Each semester, there is an Honors Reception held around the time of class registration. There you can learn about which courses are being offered, meet the professors who teach them, and other students who are there to give advice too. Students enrolled in the Honors Program also receive a special Honors course pamphlet that provides up-to-date course offerings and descriptions.  Most Honors courses fulfill common curriculum requirements, such as First Year Seminar, Theology, Ethics, and a variety of Humanities, Natural Science, and Social Science courses so you will have a broad choice of courses to take.

-Lydia Glen ‘19 , Political Science/Math, HPAC co-president, editor for The Record, the CSB/SJU newspaper (St. Cloud,  MN)

Does the Honors Program extend beyond the classroom?

Yes! HPAC is the Honors and Planning and  Advisory Council and its members are Honors students who provide feedback and advice to the Honors Program Director and plan fun and enriching events for students. HPAC events are open to all students and are designed to bring the intellectually stimulating, curiosity-sparking, in-depth experiences of Honors courses out of the classroom. But most of all, HPAC events provide fun and camaraderie for students. HPAC plans a wide variety of events, from discussion events bringing together professors from several departments to discuss a curious topic, to providing students with food and study supplies. Past HPAC events include “The Science of Creepy,” “Documentaries and Donuts,” and “Food for Thought” in the libraries.

If you would like to join HPAC, talk to one of us at the Honors meeting at First Year Orientation, attend one of our meetings, or email us at  [email protected] once the semester begins!

--Molly Kiley ‘21, Psychology/Theatre, Bonner Leader Program (Rochester, MN) 

Whom should I contact with questions about the Honors Program?

Dr. Beth Wengler is the Honors Program Director.  You can email her with any questions or concerns you have at  [email protected].  Another good resource is your academic adviser  who is also your First Year Seminar professor during the first year. They are happy to help you create a four-year plan.  

--Molly Johnson ‘21, English/Secondary Education, All College Choir (St. Paul, MN)