Honors Program Requirements
Since the Honors Program was created, in part, to give motivated and accomplished students more flexibility in designing an academic program, we try to avoid creating additional requirements. Instead, we aim to tailor the Honors Program to meet your needs. Here are the basics of our requirements:
A. 3.2 Grade Point Average.
You are expected to maintain a 3.2 grade point average throughout your academic career. Occasionally students dip below that and may petition for an extension to meet this requirement. At two points, however, the grade point average requirement is firm: at the end of your second year, when you apply for full membership in the Program (see Sophomore Honors Portfolio below); and at the end of your junior year, if you apply for senior thesis approval (see Senior Thesis below). In addition, students with tuition waivers must maintain this grade point average every semester.
B. 24 Credits of Honors Coursework
Most Honors students take an average of one Honors course a semester, but you have the flexibility to meet the 24-credit requirement in whatever way best suits your needs, so long as you complete at least 9 credits by the end of your second year at the University of North Dakota, if you entered the Program in your first semester. (Students who enter the Honors Program after the first year will have a portion of their Honors requirements waived, as recommended by their Honors advisor and approved by the Honors Committee.) Note, however, that to be eligible for early registration or to maintain a tuition waiver, you must register for an approved Honors course.
To fulfill this 24-credit requirement, you may take:
1. Inquiry classes. The Inquiry classes (in the social sciences, humanities, and sciences) are aimed primarily at beginning students, both to give them the exposure mentioned above and to introduce them to the style of learning that lies at the heart of the Honors Program. These courses allow you to hone writing skills, read broadly, discuss freely, forge independent ideas, and create friendships with like-minded students. We encourage first year students to take at least one inquiry class.
2. Honors sections. We offer Honors sections of several basic general education courses including Comp I, Comp II, American Government, Introduction to Psychology, and Biology Lab. These special sections have limited enrollment so you have more opportunities to explore your own ideas than in a typical section. Students generally take 3-9 credits in Honors sections, but there is no specific requirement.
3. Colloquia. Every semester at least 5-6 Honors colloquia are offered, including some from the social sciences, the sciences, and the humanities. Honors students often provide considerable input on the colloquia topics. Students are required to take at least 8 credits of colloquia; generally students average about a colloquium a semester during their sophomore and junior years. The colloquia are the academic heart of the Program; we take great pride in the range and quality of the courses we offer. If, however, your academic goals conflict with the colloquia requirement, other Honors credits may substitute for the colloquia credits, as recommended by your Honors advisor and approved by the Honors Committee.
4. Independent studies/Honors modes/senior thesis. Honors credits earned through approved independent projects also count towards fulfilling the 24-credit requirement. We strongly encourage you to take the initiative in identifying what you want to learn, and as you do so, we will work with you to see how you might accomplish your goals within UND. Honors has many opportunities for independent and interdisciplinary studies including the 1 credit Honors Mode option which permits you to develop a independent project within a regular course offering.
C. Essential Studies Requirements and the Honors Program
The coursework in Honors has been specially designed and approved to meet the goals and requirements of Essential Studies (UND's program in general education). Because of the ways in which Honors courses are designed, students will satisfy their Essential Studies work through their Honors Major. The goals of the Honors Program - Thinking, Scholarly Inquiry, Writing, Speaking, Perspective, and Civic Engagement - mirror Essential Studies Goals. These goals are addressed within Honors courses.
Students who continue in the Honors Program and complete the 9-credit Senior Honors Thesis will graduate with a major in Honors and this will satisfy their ES requirements, (as per the Honors Charter passed by the University Senate). Students will complete some of their coursework in Honors and some of their coursework in majors/programs outside of Honors. Students who do not complete the Honors Major requirements should work with an Honors advisor to determine which ES requirements they will complete through their Honors coursework and which they will need to complete "outside."
One of the benefits of the Honors Program is that students have a freer hand in deciding what courses they want to take beyond the requirements of the major. Honors advisors help students plan an individual program of study that includes exposure to the thinking and methodology of the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. This individualized program plan will include at least some traditional course work in Essential Studies, including English Composition and Public Speaking. Since all Honors courses are, to a greater or lesser extent, interdisciplinary, your academic experiences will occur within small, interactive learning environments such as colloquia or seminars.
Note: it is a good idea to make regular use of the electronic degree audit to check your academic progress—both for ES and for your major(s).
D. Sophomore Honors Portfolio
By the end of the sophomore year (or as soon as they have completed 9 Honors credits), students submit a Sophomore Honors Portfolio consisting of 2-3 samples of work to date and a brief personal essay. No credit is given for this portfolio unless you wish to write a new paper or substantially revise a previous work, in which case you may sign up for the 1 credit Sophomore Honors Essay course that will help you prepare your work for submission. Guidelines are available on how to go about preparing a Sophomore Honors Portfolio. Basically, the Portfolio gives both you and the Program a chance to reflect on your educational experiences up to that time and determine a plan for the rest of your academic career.
E. Honors Thesis
The capstone project of the Honors Program, the thesis is usually undertaken in the senior year. Students work on a lengthy independent project of their own choosing--but with lots of support from a faculty committee and, often, other students as well. Although they sometimes approach the thesis with some trepidation, most Honors graduates look back on this accomplishment as the most valued experience of their academic career. Students take 9 credits of Honors thesis.
Through these options, students generally can fulfill their 24 credit requirement with no difficulty, often by using an Honors course to fulfill a major requirement at the same time. In fact, many of our students choose to take far more than 24 credits. Again, we put the emphasis on meeting your interests and goals, assuming that they match the objectives of the Honors Program, rather than simply checking off a list of requirements.