Honors Program Suggested Four Year Plan of Study

In order to graduate with Honors, a student must maintain a GPA of 3.5 and complete twelve hours of Honors work completed over a minimum of two semesters. Three of these hours must be an Honors senior thesis, supervised by the Honors Director or appropriate faculty and publically defended before a committee including the Academic Dean, the President, and the Director of the Honors program. These requirements, however, merely constitute a minimum, and most students, in order to obtain maximum benefit from the program, will go beyond them.

The following four year plan is suggested:

Freshman and sophomore years:

The student should take at least two Honors classes in general education. It is strongly advised that the student attempt to either take an Honors general education class in the intended major or to try to turn a general education class in the major into an Honors-enriched class.

Junior year:

The student should try to find two upper-level classes related to the major to do either regular Honors or Honors-enriched work. Honors students should take every opportunity to deepen their understandings of their chosen fields by making full use of these classes, thereby taking maximum advantage of all of their educational options. In addition, during this year, the student should be discussing appropriate topics for an Honors senior thesis with their academic advisors as well as with the Honors Director.

Senior year:

Senior year should be devoted to the research and writing of a substantial (usually fifty pages or longer) research project that will deepen the student’s understanding of the field and serve as a “capstone” in the truest sense of the word; that is, the culminating act of a carefully-crafted four year curriculum. Students and faculty should also be aware that the Honors senior thesis can also be an inter-disciplinary project that allows the student to further expand his or her knowledge and vision, by integrating materials and research techniques from multiple fields of intellectual inquiry. (Students who already have a required capstone in the major can substitute the Honors senior thesis for the capstone in the major.)

In short, students who wish to graduate with Honors should look beyond the minimum requirements and carefully plan with their academic advisors in order to design the Honors sequence that best fits their particular needs, skills, and strengths. The program has been designed to offer maximum flexibility to a wide range of students from all areas of study on the campus.