Academic Components

Students accepted into the Honors Program will be designated as Honors Scholars, gaining access to unique interdisciplinary Honors coursework as well as the opportunity to create in-depth academic explorations in their regular coursework through collaboratively-designed Honors Contracts.  During their time at Southwestern College, Honors Scholars will get the chance to participate in travel experiences for college credit that will expose them to different ways of engaging with the world around us.  Finally, Honors Scholars will complete an Honors Thesis in their academic major, presenting their work at Southwestern College’s annual undergraduate research symposium as well as being required to share their work in a meaningful way with a community outside of the college.

Earning Honors Credit

Students may earn honors credit through one of three different mechanisms:  Honors Program Courses (designated with the HONR prefix), Departmental Courses with Honors Status, or Honors Contracts.

Honors Program Courses:

Specific information on these courses can be found on the Course Description page or in the Honors Program course descriptions in Main Campus Undergraduate Course Descriptions (designated with the HONR prefix) in hte Academic Course Catalog.

Departmental Courses with Honors Designation:

Some academic departments offer courses or sections of courses that have been approved by the Honors Program Chair to be counted as honors courses.  Honors Status is granted to departmental courses that go above and beyond the standard curriculum in a meaningful manner.  This may include but is not limited to interdisciplinary study, academically connected service projects and independent research.  Honors Status can also be granted to sections of standard courses that include additional work that broadens and/or deepens understanding of the course topic in a meaningful manner that emphasizes student-instructor interaction.

Honors Contracts:

Honors students may request that a non-honors course receive Honors Status by completing special honors-level work within the context of that course.  Students would need to complete an Honors Contract during course registration that would specify the additional work that would be completed.  The Honors Contract would need to be approved by both the Honors Program Chair and the course instructor.  The additional work would need to broaden and/or deepen understanding of the course topic above and beyond normal course requirements while emphasizing student-instructor interaction.  Special consideration will be given to Honors Contract work that embraces either interdisciplinary thought and/or service learning in a meaningful manner.

Senior Honors Thesis/Project

In order for a student to receive Honors recognition upon graduation, they must complete an honors thesis/project.  The honors thesis/project requirement can be fulfilled either by completing HON 401 or by completing a similar senior thesis/project through a specific academic department.

Any student pursuing an honors thesis/project must first submit a proposal for approval by the Honors Chair as well as an advisory faculty member in the associated academic department.  The advisory faculty member must be willing to supervise and evaluate the thesis/project.  Upon completion, the thesis/project must be submitted and evaluated by both the Honors Chair and the advisory faculty member.  The proposal must be proposed and approved prior to the semester in which the student will be completing the senior honors thesis/project for credit.  The proposal needs to contain a description of the project, the advisory faculty member, the nature of the final product from the project and the manner in which the project will be evaluated for a grade.

A completed honors thesis/project must satisfy two additional requirements: (1) Presentation of the thesis/project at the Southwestern College Undergraduate Research Symposium or other academic conference and (2) Sharing of the thesis/project in a meaningful way with a non-academic community such as civic groups (Rotary Club, Kiwanis, Soroptimists, PEO), youth organizations (Scouting, 4-H) or other clubs.  The purpose of this second requirement is to demonstrate that in order for our academic work to better serve the broader world, we must communicate our discoveries and explorations beyond the borders of our narrower academic communities.

Honors Program Graduation Recognition

During graduation, Honors Program Scholars can earn one of two designations based upon the number of honors credits successfully completed.

Honors Program Scholar

Successful completion of 9 credit hours of honors coursework including an approved honors thesis/project.

Honors Program Scholar with Distinction

Successful completion of 18 credit hours of honors coursework including an approved honors thesis/project.

Honors opportunities available to SC students:

  • Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, Summa Cum Laude - defined in catalog, announced at graduation, on transcript
  • Valedictorian, Salutatorian - defined in catalog, announced at graduation
  • Dean’s Honor Roll - defined in catalog, on matriculation and graduation programs per semester, on transcript
  • Scholar of the College - defined in catalog, announced at matriculation and honors convocations
  • Order of the Mound - defined in catalog, separate ceremony at graduation
  • Departmental Honors - defined in catalog, “passed with honors”
  • Junior Marshalls - recognized at Matriculation, Honors, and Graduation
  • Honor Societies: Pi Gamma Mu, Beta Beta Beta, Psi Chi, Sigma Tau Delta, Teachers of Promise, and others.
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