The Honors Program provides a comprehensive education for students enrolled at Gallaudet. Students may apply for Honors before their first semester, or at a later date when they feel ready. To accommodate the needs of our students, we have two tracks available to students who are admitted to Honors. The first track is General Studies Honors, which is geared towards students in their first and second years of college. The second track is University Honors, which is geared towards students in their third and fourth years. Both tracks provide students with an exemplary education and maximize student opportunities after graduation.
On the left side of your screen you will see two sub-tabs for the Bridge to Honors Program and Honors Option Contracts.
General Studies Honors
Students who are just beginning college begin with courses for General Studies Honors for their first two years. Students in General Studies Honors must collect a total minimum of 18 Honors GSR credits, or 1 - 2 courses per semester. Classes include the First Year Seminar, English, and 200- and 300 level Honors sections, as well as electives. Students in the Honors General Studies courses receive excellent exposure to high-level critical thinking and writing skills. These skills are essential for employment or entry into graduate school after graduation. Honors courses typically feature smaller class sizes, more engaging readings, more vibrant class discussions, and enhanced opportunities for deeper learning such as field trips, innovative assignments, and other opportunities. Students seeking specialized skill development within their major (or possible major) may complete an Honors Contract with the course instructor. The Honors General Studies curriculum provides rigorous academic training within a wide variety of environments that allows deaf and hard of hearing students of all backgrounds to develop personally and socially in a fully accessible environment. These courses prepare students for the University Capstone, where students will enhance and polish the professional skills needed for graduate school or the work force.
While Honors provides students with enhanced critical thinking development, we also understand the value of immersing in a primarily deaf/hard of hearing environment. Many of our students become athletes, actors, and student leaders. Students are also encouraged to do internships, join social organizations, and find employment on campus. In fact, students get the most out of Honors if they merge their intellectual development with social development!
Additional information on the requirements for General Studies Honors, as well as the course sequence, can be found in the course catalog link on the left of your screen.
Capstone / University Honors
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. More detailed information on the requirements for University Honors can be found in the course catalog on the menu on the left.