The Honors College

Faculty Director: Jeffrey Edwards
Administrative Director: Oliver B. Street, III
Office: N-3070 Library
Phone: (631) 632-4378
Web site:

The Honors College, the most selective academic program for undergraduates at the University, offers a limited number of exceptional students from each class the opportunity to become members of a special community of scholars. Through the college, these students pursue a challenging four-year curriculum designed to promote intellectual curiosity, independence, and critical thinking.


Honors College admissions decisions are based on both quantitative and qualitative criteria. Among these are a record of high academic and creative achievement, extraordinary motivation, diversified interests, intellectual curiosity, and sufficient maturity to carry out a challenging program of study. To enter the Honors College as a first-year student, an applicant must demonstrate overall academic excellence in high school by such accomplishments as achieving high grade averages in major subject areas, a minimum unweighted cumulative average of 93 (on a 100 point scale) or 3.7 (on a 4.0 scale), combined critical reading and math SAT scores of at least 1300, a record of advanced or college-level coursework, and evidence of superior writing ability. Demonstrated talents in the creative arts are also considered in the admissions process. Similar criteria apply to students who wish to enter as sophomores or juniors. The Honors College Academic curriculum is designed as a four-year formative experience. Thus, students who have been enrolled in college for more than one year are not typically admitted.


Honors College students must fulfill Skills 1, 2, 3, and 4 (see Note below) as outlined in the D.E.C. requirements for the College in which they are enrolled.

A. Honors College students who enter as first-year students must take HON 105, 106, 201, 301, 401, 495, and 496 or their equivalents. Students shall take both HON 105 and 106 in the first year. HON 201, HON 301, and HON 401 are to be taken in their numerical order during the three subsequent years. Students may take only one Honors College seminar in a given semester, and one seminar during an academic year. Students who enter the Honors College after the first semester of their first year are required to follow a modified course program according to the time spent in the College. (Those entering as sophomores, for example, must take HON 105 and 106 or substitute equivalent courses.)

Course Sequencing

First year             HON 105 and HON 106
Second year         HON 201
Third year            HON 301
Fourth year          HON 401

B. Students who receive a grade of C- or lower in an Honors College course (those with the HON designator) may repeat the course toward Honors College requirements. No HON course in which a grade of C- or lower was received may satisfy an Honors College requirement.

C. Each student entering as a first-year student is required to take four topics courses (HON 110-120). Students entering as sophomores are required to take two topics courses; those entering as juniors are required to take one.

D. Honors College students must take four additional complementary electives within the two disciplinary domains (including at least one course in each) other than that of their major (or one of their majors). The three disciplinary domains are: natural sciences and quantitative disciplines, fine arts and humanities, and social sciences. One of these courses must be from D.E.C. category K. Students are urged to take at least one of these courses in a foreign language at the intermediate level or higher or in the literature of a language other than English. These complementary elective courses must be passed with a grade of C or higher, and each course must be at least 3 credits. A course used to satisfy a skill requirement cannot also be used to satisfy a complementary elective requirement.

E. Every Honors College student must submit a letter of intent containing a detailed description of the student's intended senior honors project. The Letter of Intent must be submitted to the Honors College Faculty Director for approval no later than the midpoint of the final semester of each student's junior year. A progress report must be submitted at the end of the first semester of project work. An appropriate thesis (single-authored by the student) must be submitted at the end of the second semester and an oral report must be made at the annual Honors College Symposium. The grade on the senior project must be C or higher. These rules apply to students doing their senior honors projects under the HON designator or under a departmental designator. Students must obtain Honors College approval for registration under a designator other than HON.

Note: Students who need to satisfy the Skill 3, Elementary Foreign Language Competence requirement, through coursework must earn a B or higher in the second semester of an elementary foreign language course to satisfy the requirement.