University Honors

Students talking with a professor in a small classroom

University Honors is the heart of the Honors Program. Through this upper-level track, top students develop into highly competitive prospects for top-tier graduate schools or employers.

Beginning as early as the sophomore year, students take nine upper course credits (via contracts, advanced consortium courses, or graduate course). In the spring of their junior year, students develop their capstone proposal discussing what they want to do, how they want to do it, and who they want to work with. Students work closely with faculty mentors to develop a project worthy of a top graduate. The variety of projects range from creative fine arts to research-based projects to service learning; it’s not the kind of project, but the level of expectation. Students must demonstrate adequate knowledge or skill to carry out an advanced project, whether through a major or equivalent life learning and experience. Projects have included scientific research on turtles in Hawaii, a service learning project in Cameroon and another with a U.S. presidential campaign, a documentary movie about Deaf survivors of Nazi Germany, creative writing projects or other fine arts projects (a play adaptation, a production of an original script, memoirs with critical introductions, and a collection of short stories with a critical introduction,), a social work policy analysis, and an app creation. Some 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. As the crowning achievement in any portfolio, 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 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 who complete the Capstone have a concrete example of their high-level skills that they can show prospective employers and graduate schools. 

Students in the year and a half long Honors Capstone process receive a great deal of personalized support. 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 attend, along with numerous faculty members and other members of the university community. Students also receive prominent recognition at graduation, including attending a formal breakfast for students and families with the Provost and deans on graduation morning, wearing a royal blue graduation gown, marching first among the undergraduates, and watching the Provost describe their projects during the graduation ceremony. 

More information on University Honors can be found here:

Academic Catalog: Honors Program