The University Honors Program offers an enriched course of study for academically talented and venturesome students.
Honors Scholars take courses especially designed to encourage creative thinking and independent learning, and they complete an original research project as the capstone of their experience.
Newly admitted freshmen and continuing or transfer students with fewer than 45 credits (exclusive of college credits earned in high school or in summer sessions) and Community College graduates are eligible to apply to the University Honors Program. Part-time students should have at least five semesters of enrollment remaining. As a guideline, applicants are expected to be in the top 15% of their respective high school classes and/or have achieved at least a 1250 on the SAT (combined score for the verbal and math sections), and continuing or transfer students should have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or above. The most important qualifications of all is a commitment to learning and an enthusiasm for intellectual challenges.
Standards for Retention
To maintain good standing in the program students must (1) meet the following minimum cumulative GPA standards: Freshman 3.30; Sophomores 3.40; Juniors 3.45; Seniors 3.50 (2) complete at least one Honors course per academic year, and (3) demonstrate active involvement in the co-curricular activities of the Honor’s Program and the University community.
Why Become an Honors Scholar?
The University Honors Program offers students excellent opportunities to develop attributes that typify those who are willing and capable of assuming leadership roles in their respective communities. These opportunities are provided through intellectually challenging courses, working with other highly motivated students, involvement in student-initiated projects/activities, and completion of an independent research project under the supervision of a faculty mentor. In addition, the Program provides opportunities and encouragement, as well as financial support, for Honors students wishing to participate in local, regional, and/or national conferences. The Program offers an excellent preparation for professional or graduate schools, teaching, or any competitive career. Students who complete the program are recognized as University Honors Scholars at commencement and on their transcripts.
In addition, all freshmen entering the program who live on-campus receive a scholarship covering their full in-state tuition, to cover up to 18 credits per semester, as well as a $2,000 housing credit. Scholarships for students living off-campus cover in-state tuition only. These scholarships are renewable for up to eight semesters for those who maintain the program’s standards. Also offered is a $1,000 scholarship for participation in an international experience, research opportunity, or internship. Incoming Honors freshmen who wish to live on campus are housed on the same floor in Constitution Hall. Participation in the Honors Program improves the chances of continuing students obtaining the housing residence of their choice in subsequent years. The curriculum of the Honors program satisfies part of the University’s Liberal Arts Core requirement. Honors Scholars, who may major in any four-year program offered at Eastern, often find that their capstone research project may also satisfy a requirement in their major, as well as the LAC’s Tier III course requirement.
Honors courses are designed to integrate and complement the work students accomplish fulfilling the LAC requirement and requirements of their major. The program consists of 23 credits, up to 6 of which may be waived for continuing or transfer students.
All entering freshmen honors scholars take FYI 100 (Honors First Year Introduction) as a 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, campus life, and the liberal arts philosophy at Eastern.
The freshman cohort of Honors Scholars take HON 150 (Great Ideas in the Advancement of Knowledge) in their spring semester. This team-taught course explores examples of aesthetic, ethical, and cultural values through the study of art, literature, and economics. Honors Scholars participate in an intellectual discourse of a scholarly community, while working through various texts that examine the ways in which various disciplines and works depict society and the individual’s place within it.
During their sophomore and junior years, Honors Scholars take 3 Honors Colloquia (Honors 360-362). These are innovative interdisciplinary courses designed specifically for the program by outstanding scholars and respected teachers. Topics covered in recent colloquia include: Popular Music in a Global Context, Psychology of Attraction, Globalization, and New England and the Sea. Colloquia may feature off-campus excursions and international travel. The three required Honors colloquia fulfill any three of the five Tier II categories of the LAC.
In the fall of their junior year, students design and begin work on an Honors thesis (HON 380/488) under the direction of a faculty advisor in Honors 380. During spring of their junior year and fall of senior year, Honors Scholars draft, revise and complete their respective research projects in Honors 488. The Honors Thesis allows students to complete an original research or creative project, and is excellent preparation for advanced study and challenging careers.
In addition to their academic lives, Honors Scholars become involved in a variety of programs and activities sponsored by the university, their major department, and the Honors Program itself. The Honors Club, a student organization, meets twice a month throughout the academic year. It sponsors trips to cultural events and other college campuses. Each spring, for example, several students, along with the Director, participate in the Northeast National Collegiate Honors Council Conference (NE-NCHC) as presenters.
The Student Honors Council makes recommendations concerning the Honors curriculum and requirements, the Honors curriculum and requirements, and sponsors cultural and social events on campus, including the activities of Honors Week, usually the last week in April. Other Honors student initiatives include social service and educational activities in the Windham/Willimantic area, hosting prospective freshman, and mentoring programs for new students.
In addition to applying for admission to the University, prospective students need to complete a separate on-line application form which can be found on the homepage of the Honors website. Completed applications will require transcripts, recommendations, and an example of the applicant’s writing.
The deadline for applications is February 1.