Honors Program


The core curriculum represents the College’s vision of what a liberal arts education should be. Since the Honors Program aims to promote academic excellence in the Western tradition of the liberal arts and Great Books, it is based firmly on that common vision. To that end, the Honors curriculum consists of two complementary components: a more rigorous version of the core curriculum, and a sequence of Honors seminars designed to emphasize the connections between the various parts of the core.

The Core Curriculum

The first tier of the core curriculum requires students to take two semesters of English, history, and science. Students in the Honors Program satisfy this part of the core by taking Honors 101 (Freshman Honors Seminar) and Honors sections of Freshman Rhetoric and the Great Books, The Western Heritage, and American Heritage. It is recommended that Honors students also complete the Heritage sequence by taking History 206 (Western Heritage Since 1650). In addition, all Honors Program students must complete Mathematics 120 (Calculus I), and two introductory science courses: one course from either Physics 101 or 201 or Chemistry 101, and one course from either Biology 201, 202, or 308. Appropriate Advanced Placement credit will be accepted in fulfillment of the mathematics requirement.

Honors Seminars

Each semester, sophomores and juniors in the Honors Program participate in one-credit seminars, which are broadly interdisciplinary in focus. These seminars emphasize the common themes, which link the liberal arts, thereby encouraging students in the program to integrate the insights they have gained from their core courses. Each seminar requires students to write and present one or more essays. While all sophomores and juniors are required to take at least one seminar each semester, they frequently take more than one, and freshmen are also encouraged to participate in the seminars.

Senior Thesis

At the end of the junior year, each student develops and presents to the Program Director a proposal for an inter-disciplinary senior project or thesis. The senior year is then devoted to the creation and presentation of the thesis, culminating in the annual Honors Colloquium, at which seniors present their completed research to their fellow students, faculty, and interested members of the community.

For further information about the Honors Program, contact Professor Richard Gamble at rgamble@hillsdale.edu.