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Honors Program FAQ

thall@stthom.edu
713-525-3587

Students in Crooker Center

If I meet the minimum academic requirements, am I automatically invited to be in the Honors Program?
No. There are always more students interested in entering the program than there are spaces to accommodate them. As stated, the program is selective. We have space for no more than 25 new students each year. Three times that many, or more, typically indicate a desire to enter the Honors Program. Admission is based upon your high school academic record, the Honors interviews, your University application, and the strength of your desire to participate.

Can I only enter Honors as a freshman?
Most students come into the Honors Program as freshmen. It is possible for you to enter the program first semester of your sophomore year subject to available space, your first-year UST academic record and the advice of the Honors Program Committee. Students who are offered this opportunity should be mindful that they typically will have to do in three years what other students do in four years in order to graduate with the Honors Program designation.

Once in the Honors Program, can I exit? 
Yes. We truly hope that each student invited into the Honors Program enjoys a satisfying experience and completes the program. We understand that sometimes matters do not work out; in such situations, students are free to leave the program with our best wishes.

Do I lose credit if I exit the Honors Program after the first semester? 
No. If a student leaves the Honors Program after completing one course, he/she will receive credit for English 1341.  

Students who leave the Honors Program after completing two or more courses may designate the appropriate number of blocks in the core curriculum requirements to which they wish to apply the honors credits (see below).

What must I do to remain in the Honors Program? 
You must maintain a 3.0 GPA in Honors courses and an overall 3.0 GPA to remain in the program.

Does my major determine the Honors courses I take? 
No. Every Honors student, regardless of major, takes the same sequence of seven Honors courses. There are no Honors biology, Honors English, Honors philosophy courses, etc. Each Honors course includes a diverse group of students pursuing a variety of majors working on a common syllabus of readings from a variety of intellectual disciplines. However, the Independent Research Project (HNRS 4394) will be completed in a student’s major discipline.

How does the Honors Program count towards the core curriculum?
Upon completion of HNRS 1391: The Tribe and the City, the student will be given three credit hours for ENGL 1341: The Classical Mind.

Upon completion of the course sequence HNRS 1392, 2391, 2392 and HNRS 4395: Contemporary Problems Seminar, the student will be credited with fulfilling an additional nine credit hours in the core curriculum in the following way:

  • History (any core course)
  • Social science (any core course)
  • The Synthesis course in philosophy, theology or Catholic Studies

No course may be applied to the mathematics, natural science, language, oral communication or fine arts block of the core curriculum. Upon completion of HNRS 4394: Independent Research Project, the student will receive three credit hours in his/her major field. The Honors Program adds only three credit hours to any major program already in place at the University – HNRS 3391: Community Service Project. 

What are Honors classes like? 
The first four Honors classes (commonly referred to as “Great Books” seminars) are seminar-style classes and are team-taught by two professors. Typically your professors will be from different disciplines. For example, a professor from the Philosophy Department and another professor from the History Department recently shared teaching duties for a seminar. Other discipline combinations include an International Studies Department professor teamed with a Business School professor and a French professor teamed with the Dean of the Master of Liberal Arts Program. Diverse disciplines and multiple perspectives create a dynamic approach to the Great Books program. Students will learn to interpret texts critically with considerations from disparate viewpoints.

Small class sizes encourage discussion between students and professors. One professor teaches HNRS 3391, Community Service Project, and HNRS 4395, Contemporary Problems Seminar. These courses are also conducted as seminars.

Will I be able to do a semester abroad and still have time to take all the Honors courses? 
Yes. If you look at the sequence of seven courses as listed in question three above, you will notice that there are no Honors courses scheduled in the spring term of the junior year. This semester off is designed to create the opportunity for Honors Program students to study abroad.

It seems that the Honors Program is especially suited for liberal arts majors. Can science majors be in the Honors Program? 
All majors are equally welcome in the Honors Program, including persons majoring in biology, chemistry, environmental science and mathematics.  Many Honors graduates are science majors. The program is strengthened immensely by the participation of majors in these areas. Students from  a wide range of majors have graduated from the Honors Program at the University of St. Thomas.

Will I have time outside the Honors courses for other academic and personal activities? 
Yes. Students can still have a life outside of the Honors Program. Though the standards of achievement in the Honors Program are challenging, Honors students are not shackled to their books morning, noon and night (OK, maybe a few days out of the semester we are, but, thanks in part to caffeine, we survive!). Many Honors students are able to successfully pursue joint or double majors, participate in university sports, take an active role in campus activities and clubs, work and just have fun. Honors students are frequently leaders on campus.

Additionally, there are a number of social events sponsored by the Honors Program itself, such as the fall Honors cookout, the annual Dionysian Festival in the spring, the Honors Christmas Party, Honors pizza and movie parties and the like.

Each year, several Honors students from the junior class travel out of state to attend the annual conference of the National Collegiate Honors Council, held in cities such as Chicago, Denver, Washington, D.C., Salt Lake City, New Orleans and Boston. The Honors Program covers the cost of this trip.

Is there an Honors dorm at the University of St. Thomas?
All UST students live in the same University housing — Guinan and Young Halls. 

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