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Honors Program

The Honors Program is designed for outstanding students with intellectual initiative and the desire to pursue academic achievement beyond the level of standard course work. Its purpose is to provide these students the opportunity to broaden and deepen their knowledge of the major field.

Eligibility and Admission

To be eligible for admission to the Honors program a student should have:

  1. 18.5 or more units of completed work
  2. A cumulative grade point average of at least 3.3;
  3. 3.5 or more units in the major field (exclusive of courses primarily for freshmen) with evidence of distinguished achievement.

A student who does not meet these qualifications may be admitted to the Program with the special recommendation of the major department and the approval of the Faculty Committee on the Honors Program.

Students may request consideration by their department, or departments may invite a student to apply.

Each application will include a program of study planned in consultation with the major department and will indicate specifically how the student's Honors Program is to be accomplished. The application, along with an advising copy of the student's transcript, will then be presented by the department to the Faculty Committee on the Honors Program by about November 15th for the fall term applicant and by about March 15th for the spring term applicant.

Program of Study

Each student's program of study will include at least 3.5 units of Honors course work and must meet all Honors requirements set by the major department. Course work may include Honors seminars, Honors independent/directed study courses in which the student meets at least weekly with one or more professors, Honors research courses, and standard courses taken for Honors credit. Standard courses taken for Honors credit may be either (1) courses in the student's regular course of study that require extra work of a kind approved by the departmental Honors committee or (2) courses, approved by the departmental Honors committee, in the student's area of study, that are in addition to any departmental major requirements. Courses of type (1) are the norm. Any program that wishes to incorporate courses of type (2) as part of their Honors requirements must submit significant justification for approval by the Faculty Committee on the Honors Program. No more than two courses may be standard courses taken for Honors credit (and with work appropriate to Honors status).

To demonstrate superior achievement, Honors students are normally required to submit a written Honors thesis to the major department in time for a final grade to be submitted to the registrar. At the discretion of the major department an alternative work that presents a comparable challenge to intellectual initiative and academic achievement may be substituted. All thesis work should be read and evaluated by more than one reader and, if appropriate, presented publicly in a departmental or Arts and Sciences forum. Departments may also require that students pass written and / or oral comprehensive examinations.

All Honors students are to maintain a grade point average of at least 3.3 while participating in the program. Exceptions require approval by the Faculty Committee on the Honors Program.

If at any time the student or the major department decides that Honors work should not continue, the department should submit a request for withdrawal to the Faculty Committee on the Honors Program.

Recognition of Honors Work

A student who successfully completes the Honors Program will receive the degree with Departmental Honors, to be noted on the student's permanent record along with the title of the Honors Thesis or comparable work. The student's diploma and the Commencement Program will also indicate achievement of Departmental Honors, and the Honors Thesis or equivalent will be preserved in a separate collection in Boatwright Library.