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Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Honors Program?
The Honors Program serves motivated, accomplished students by nurturing creativity, critical thinking, and scholarship beyond the usual academic frameworks. Through classes, co-curricular activities, service projects, and advisement, the Honors Program creates a learning community that emphasizes intellectual exploration.
What are Honors students like?
Honors students have personalities and interests as diverse as the rest of the student body. Some major in professional fields such as engineering, aviation, computer science, and pre-law, while others are in the liberal arts. As the common denominator, members of the Honors Program tend to be genuinely and deeply interested in ideas. They read widely, talk with enthusiasm on many different subjects, and like to write. Students often form lasting friendships with other Honors students.
What are the benefits to joining the Honors Program?
- Stimulating Classes - The most important reason for joining the Honors Program at the University of North Dakota is the value of the Honors classes themselves. These small, interdisciplinary classes bring students in close contact with some of the most exciting faculty on campus and with other bright students like themselves.
- Flexibility - Honors Program requirements substitute for the General Education Requirements, which enables students to explore other subjects of interest and design their own program of study.
- Leadership - In Honors, students help to shape the Program itself. You might suggest classes, serve with faculty on the Honors Committee, or plan activities through the Honors Program Student Organization.
- Advisement - Honors faculty work closely with students to help them meet their personal education goals.
- Accomplishment - Students graduate with solid evidence of real accomplishment, demonstrated both in the Honors seal on the diploma and transcript, and in the thesis, a substantial independent project that shows off their abilities to prospective employers and graduate schools.
What does the Honors Program involve?
Most students take an average of one Honors course a semester, except for their first semester at college when they often sign up for more. (That's because the Honors Program offers a number of Honors sections aimed specifically at first-semester students.) All these courses count for credit toward graduation and toward fulfilling general education requirements. As part of this coursework, students complete an Honors Thesis in their senior year.
I'm already a college student. Can I still join Honors?
Honors is happy to have students who enter our program with post-high school college experience—either from UND or from another institution. We can work with you individually to help you participate in Honors and/or complete an Honors degree. We are a flexible, student-centered program, and can make accommodations to compensate for your previous college coursework.
If you’d like to discuss the possibility of joining Honors, please schedule a meeting with Robin David (firstname.lastname@example.org, 701-777-6185), our Associate Director. You can also fill out the special application form for transfer students. (As students are expected to maintain a 3.2 GPA once they are in our program, we hope to see students doing similar work before they join.)
Students who do not yet attend UND are also eligible for our competitive Honors Program Tuition Waivers. Be sure to apply by February 5th of the previous academic year to be considered.
Will Honors fit with my major?
Yes-Honors can work with any major on campus. You can participate in Honors while pursuing other majors on campus, or you can create your own program of study through the Honors Program. Most Honors students do have a major outside of Honors. Even students in fields with very structured requirements (like engineering or aviation) can be part of the Honors Program. In fact, they are often the students who most enjoy Honors courses because our broad-ranging courses provide a balance to the highly specialized demands of the major. Since Honors courses fulfill general requirements, credits earned for our program also count toward the major. Honors advisors work closely with students to see that all the pieces fit together.
What are Honors classes like?
Our classes are small (18 students or fewer) and are taught by specially selected faculty known for their ability to connect with students. We read and write outside of class, then gather together on comfortable couches to engage ideas in discussion. This size and structure allow students to become connected to the Honors community of faculty and fellow students who are excited about learning.
What kinds of classes are offered?
Students might start by taking Honors sections of general university classes, such as
- Fundamentals of Public Speaking
- American Government
- Biology Lab
The next level of courses is our colloquia, which are 200- and 300-level interdisciplinary classes. These are special topics courses, and they count toward General Education Requirements. Most of these courses are offered only once, but we do occasionally repeat a popular topic. Here is a list of some of our past offerings:
- The Evolution of Environmental Thought
- Free Speech
- Politics of Film and Fiction
- The Civil Rights Movement
- Ethics in the Media
- Drugs and Society
- Genetics and Bioengineering
- The Coming Plague
- Contemporary Religious Writers
- Making History
- The Brain
- Independent Filmmaking
- Approaching the Holocaust
- Black Comedy
- The Impact of Art on Science
Are Honors courses harder than others?
Not harder, just different. Honors classes generally involve more reading, writing and discussion, and for most Honors students this kind of work is genuinely interesting and pleasurable. We don't grade on a curve or in any other way slant a course so that participating in an Honors course might jeopardize your grade point average. In fact, the environment of a small Honors class stimulates students to do well and to develop skills such as writing and research that benefit their performance in other classes.
What else goes on at Honors?
Lots! The Honors Program Student Organization (HPSO) sponsors activities throughout the year, including trips to Minneapolis and Winnipeg. Honors students also coordinate and participate in service projects on campus and in the community. Students can submit their writing and artwork to The forum, our Honors student publication. At Honors, you might dance at the Fall Ball, attend a play, walk dogs for the Humane Society, play intramural sports, take part in game and movie nights, and get published! The Honors community also extends to the Honors wing of two residence halls for those students who choose this housing option.
What if I decide not to continue in Honors?
You may leave the Honors Program at any time. Credits earned through Honors count toward graduation and the general education requirements.
Does the Honors Program cost more?
You do not pay any additional fees for participating in the Honors Program. In fact, Honors is able to offer a limited number of partial tuition waivers to select students. Follow this link for more information on tuition waivers.
How can I contact an Honors student?
To contact a student, just email us and tell us your area of interest and any questions you might have.
How are students selected for the Honors Program?
For students applying from high school, the Honors staff looks at ACT scores, high school transcripts, and application essays. Selection is based on past performance, but, even more importantly, on the student's interests and enthusiasm for learning.
What do I do if I'm interested?
Fill out the application form. You can also come to the Honors Place on the ground floor of Robertson/Sayre Hall, (Oxford Street and University Avenue), to look around and talk to the program staff and students. Our secretarial office is Room 6. Check in there with your questions or to schedule a meeting with an advisor.
What is an Honors Program Tuition Waiver and how do I apply for one?
The Honors Program awards tuition waivers worth up to $1,000 per year for up to four years to a limited number of incoming students. All applications to the Honors Program postmarked by February 5th will be considered. There is no separate application process for the tuition waivers.
What are the requirements for students receiving a tuition waiver?
Each semester, tuition waiver recipients must enroll in at least one Honors class and complete 12 hours of Honors Program service projects, as well as a reflection on their service learning. Students receiving renewable waivers must also maintain a 3.2 GPA and advance through the stages of the Honors Program.