About the University Honors Program

University Honors Program

Honors courses are frequently team-taught and involve off campus experiences, and most Honors courses satisfy requirements in the University’s Liberal Arts Core (LAC). The goal of the Honors Program is to provide academically talented and venturesome students with an intellectually stimulating alternate course of study, culminating in the completion of an Honors Thesis reflective of quality undergraduate scholarship. Small classes, interdisciplinary topics, and professors dedicated to teaching create an atmosphere conducive to the open discussion of ideas and active learning. The Honors Thesis requirement provides an opportunity for students to work independently under the oversight of a faculty mentor.

In addition to their academic pursuits, honors scholars become involved in a variety of leadership roles and rewarding activities. Many of these, like the weekend in April when prospective freshmen are invited to visit the campus and stay over in residence halls or apartments, are entirely planned and carried out by students. The Honors Club sponsors trips to cultural events, including the NE-NCHC conference each spring, at which more than a dozen students do regularly participate as presenters. The Student Honors Council makes recommendations concerning the honors curriculum and requirements, and organizes social and cultural events on campus, including the activities of Honors Week in the spring. All Honors students are welcomed to the campus at the beginning of each academic year at a semi-formal reception, and everyone connected with the program gets together twice a year for a fall and spring cookout. Honors students are encouraged to take part in exchange programs with universities throughout the United States and abroad.

Participation Requirements:

Honors courses are designed to be different from most other courses used to complete the LAC.

Entering freshmen take FYI 100 as cohort. This course is taught by the director of the honors program and is designed to give honors scholars an introduction to the honors program, while also introducing them to academics, campus life, and the liberal arts philosophy at Eastern.

In the second semester, freshmen take HON 150, Great Ideas, a team-taught course exploring examples of aesthetic, ethical, and cultural alue through the study of art, literature, and economics.

During the sophomore and junior years, students take three honors colloquia (HON 360-362); innovative interdisciplinary courses designed specifically for the program by outstanding scholars and respected teachers. Topics recently covered include: Tropical Biodiversity and Agriculture, Popular Music in a Global Context, The Psychology of Sexual Attraction and its Consequences, Site-specific Theater, and Native American & Ancient Cosmologies in Literature and Culture.

In the fall of the junior year, students take Directed Honors Research with a mentor, ordinarily a professor in their major department, and write a thesis proposal.  The Program’s capstone experience for students involves working with their respective mentors both semesters of the senior year to complete an Honors Thesis, a creative, scholarly, or scientific project.

Admission Process:

The Honors Program requires a separate application, due February 1 annually. Freshmen are admitted to the program by the University Honors Council on the basis of their high school standing, accomplishments, and recommendations, only after they have been accepted into the University. Successful applicants are expected to have at least a 3.5 GPA, combined SAT scores (evidence-based reading and writing, math) of at least 1250, and rank in the top 15% of their high school classes. The Honors Council is particularly interested in students who have participated in educational, social, cultural, or other extra-curricular projects or activities, and whose applications suggest enthusiasm, a willingness to get involved, leadership and the desire and capacity to produce quality undergraduate scholarship.

Scholarship Availability:

All entering freshmen who live on-campus receive a scholarship covering tuition (excluding fees); in-state residential students receive an additional $2,000 housing stipend toward on-campus housing. All Honors Scholars choosing to live at home will receive a scholarship covering tuition (excluding fees). These scholarships are renewable for a total of four years. In addition, need-based supplementary grants and jobs on campus are often available through the Financial Aid Office, which works closely with the Honors Program.

The Campus Context:

Founded in 1889, Eastern is located on a beautiful 175 acre campus on the edge of Willimantic, a New England mill town which produced internationally famous cotton thread and textile products in its heyday. It is a largely residential arts and sciences institution with some 4600 full- and part-time students from every region of Connecticut, over half of the states, and thirty foreign countries. This multicultural community thrives in Eastern’s small college atmosphere in which students readily get to know each other and their faculty. As Connecticut’s public liberal arts university, Eastern offers twenty-five undergraduate majors, including those in both professional studies and education, as well as arts and sciences.

For more information, or if you have questions, please contact:
Dr. Patricia Szczys, Honors Director, Eastern Connecticut State University
83 Windham Street, Willimantic, CT 06226
Phone: (860) 465-4324; Email: szczysp@easternct.edu