Honors Program Requirements
Honors is a student-centered program, designed to give motivated students more flexibility in pursuing their interests. You can use Honors in a number of ways:
- Be involved as long as you’d like, using Honors courses to fulfill some Essential Studies requirements.
- Submit a Sophomore Honors Portfolio and become a Full Member of the Honors Program.
- Complete 24 Honors credits, including the Senior Honors Thesis, to earn a degree in Honors.
Grade Point Average
Honors students are expected to maintain a 3.2 GPA throughout their academic career.
Occasionally students dip below that and may petition for an extension to meet this requirement. At three times, however, the GPA requirement is firm:
- When you apply for full membership to the Program by the end of your second year
- When you apply to do a Senior Honors Thesis at the end of the third year
- At graduation
In addition, students with tuition waivers must maintain this GPA every semester.
Honors Coursework Credits
Miscellaneous Honors credits (7 credits required)
- Inquiry classes: The Inquiry classes (social sciences, humanities and sciences) are a First-Year Experience, designed both to expose you to the academic fields and to introduce you 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. First-semester students enroll in one inquiry course.
- Honors sections: We offer Honors sections of several basic general education courses including Composition I, Composition II, Fundamentals of Public Speaking, Introduction to Psychology and Biology Lab. These special sections offer you an opportunity to take more classes with your Honors peers and work more closely with faculty members. Enrollment in these courses is optional.
- Independent Studies/Honors Modes: You also have the option of identifying your own learning project through Honors. An Independent Study is completed by partnering with a supervising faculty member, and an Honors Mode allows you to develop an independent project within a regular course offering. These credits are optional.
Colloquia Credits (8 credits required)
Every semester at least five or six Honors special topics colloquia are offered, including some from the social sciences, the sciences and the humanities. 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. Students can also earn additional miscellaneous Honors credits by taking additional colloquia.
Senior Honors Thesis (9 credits required)
The culminating project for the Honors degree is the Senior Honors Thesis, an independent project that offers students the opportunity to formulate a question, seek out knowledge and share their findings, all while working closely with faculty members. This project helps position you for graduate and professional opportunities.
Sophomore Honors Portfolio
By the end of your sophomore year and after earning at least 9 Honors credits, submit a Sophomore Honors Portfolio consisting of two to four pieces of work, introductory materials and a brief personal essay. The Portfolio gives both you and the Honors Program a chance to reflect on your educational experiences up to that time and determine a plan for the rest of your academic career.
Most students opt to enroll in the 1-credit class Hon 250: Sophomore Honors Portfolio Workshop, offered both fall and spring semesters, to help them polish their portfolios.
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 nine credits of Honors thesis.
Note about Honors and Essential Studies (ES)
The coursework in Honors has been specially designed and approved to meet the goals and requirements of Essential Studies, UND’s general education program. As such, Honors courses count for ES credit in various categories.
In addition, the full Honors major (including the 9-credit Senior Honors Thesis) fulfills the entirety of the ES requirement, as per the original Honors Charter passed by the University Senate. Students who choose to complete the Honors degree receive a broad education that mirrors the ES goals.