University Honors

Students talking with a professor in a small classroom

University Honors is the heart of the Honors Program. Beginning in the spring of their junior year, students take their upper-level course requirements and develop their capstone proposal where they write a project proposal discussing what they want to do, how they want to do it, and who they want to work with. Students will work closely with faculty mentors to develop a project worthy of a top graduate. Students may do any project they would like to, although students are strongly advised to develop and polish skills they have already acquired through coursework or professional/para-professional activities. Projects have included scientific research on turtles in Hawaii, service learning projects in Cameroon, creating a documentary movie about Deaf survivors of Nazi Germany, creative writing projects (play adaptations, short stories, or novels), and traditional thesis papers. Many students find it useful to connect their Capstone with an internship experience.  

The Capstone Project is a vital component of students' application to top-tier graduate schools, law schools, and medical schools.  The Honors Capstone has a unique qualitative value in the application and interview processes for life after graduation. The Capstone is the crowning achievement in any portfolio.  Students who complete the Capstone have a concrete example of their high-level skills that they can show prospective employers and graduate schools. The Capstone cannot replace the requirement for satisfactory test scores required for admission to many graduate or professional programs, but it is a powerful document for admissions committees to consider once the test requirements have been met.  Students in the Honors Capstone receive a great deal of personalized support during the process. Students work with approved professors, scholars, or professionals in their major or future career during the Capstone process to ensure their project is top-notch.  When they complete their Capstone, students are celebrated by the institution. Students will present their work to the Campus Community in a poster session, which the President and Provost, along with numerous faculty members, attend. Students also receive prominent recognition at graduation, including a formal breakfast for students and families with the Provost on graduation morning, wearing a royal blue graduation gown, marching first among the undergraduates, and having the Provost talk about their projects during the graduation ceremony. Additionally, the Honors program provides instructors for each of the Capstone courses. Both instructors are long-time Honors instructors who tailor the learning process to what the students want and need for success after graduation. Finally, the course instructors offer very successful mentoring to soon-to-be Honors graduates to help them plan and develop their applications for graduate or professional schools. Students may begin taking their upper-level Honors coursework as early as their sophomore year, depending on their academic load. 

Additional information on the requirements for University Honors, as well as the course sequence, can be found here:

Academic Catalog: Honors Program