The honors curriculum consists of 26 honors credits. Of these,
- twelve credits may be at the lower level (100-200-level courses),
- at least nine credits must be at the upper level (300-400-level courses), and
- an additional five credits are earned over three semesters in preparing and writing the capstone Honors thesis (HO 296, HO 396, and HO 496).
The honors curriculum is delivered via a combination of approaches. Students choose a combination that best meets their individual needs and interests:
- Honors courses (designated HO),
- Honors sections of regular courses (designated by an H preceding the course’s section number),
- Honors credit by contract in regular courses, an honors learning contract in addition to a regular course’s requirements, and
- Waiver of Honors requirement via portfolio submission, which reduces the number of honors credits based on documented learning experiences that occur outside of classroom settings, such as study abroad and peer-reviewed scholarship.
The honors curriculum has integrative, collaborative, and individual elements, resulting in a personalized honors learning experience for each student.
- Collaborative Integration. Most first-year honors students fulfill their General Education requirements in honors sections of regular courses that integrate two disciplines in a themed cluster. The same group of no more than twenty honors students is enrolled in both courses in a cluster. Often, these students live in honors housing together, study together, and collaborate on classroom projects.
For example, the cluster “Cross-Cultural and Psychological Perspectives on the Human-Animal Relationship” integrated Anthropology and Psychology courses. The cluster “Performing Music, Performing Identity: The Evolving Role of Music in Culture” integrated English and Music courses. Honors students in clusters are encouraged to use their cluster projects as a basis for proposing presentations at national and regional honors conferences, for which the Honors School provides generous support.
- Individual Integration. All honors students complete a three-semester thesis process, HO 296 Thesis/Capstone Preparation, HO 396 Thesis/Capstone Proposal and HO 496 Thesis/Capstone Completion. Students choose their own thesis topic, and with the guidance of faculty members, develop it in one of five thesis tracks: case study, content analysis, creative portfolio, laboratory research, or survey research. The resulting thesis is used by some students as a writing sample in graduate-school applications and by others in peer-reviewed conference presentations or as academic journal submissions.
In general, Honors School theses tend to be disciplinary (solidly within a major field) or interdisciplinary (combining major fields). A disciplinary thesis may apply some current method or approach to some new subject matter, or may apply a recent method or approach to old subject matter. An interdisciplinary thesis may apply one discipline’s method or approach to subject matter thought of as being in another discipline, or may integrate methods or approaches from two or more disciplines and apply them to subject matter that may be thought of from the perspective of both disciplines.
To graduate from the Honors School and to have that status noted on the transcript and diploma, a student must:
- be a member of the Honors School,
- complete the 26-credit honors curriculum, and
- have a final overall cumulative GPA of at least 3.3.