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 Honors. Decisions on who to admit are based on your high school academic record, the Honors Interviews, your University application, and the strength of your desire to participate. [See Admissions Process].
Can I only enter Honors as a freshman?
Most students come into the Honors Program as freshmen. It is possible, however, for you to enter the program first semester of your sophomore year, subject to 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 will typically 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 Program, can I exit?
Yes. We very much desire that each student invited into Honors enjoy a satisfying experience and complete the Program. However, we also understand that sometimes matters do not work out in this way; in such situations, students are free to leave the program with all good wishes.
Do I lose credit if I exit the Program after the first semester?
No. If a student leaves the Honors Program after completing one course, he/she will receive credit for the Honors course as an elective. It cannot, however, be applied to fulfilling any requirements of the core curriculum.
If a student leaves the Honors program after completing two or more courses, he/she may designate the appropriate number of blocks in the core curriculum requirements to which he/she wishes 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. The Independent Research Project (HNRS 4394), however, will be completed in a student’s major discipline.
How does the Honors Program count towards the core curriculum?
[See Program Credits.]
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 instance, recent seminars have been taught by a professor from the Philosophy Department and another professor from the History Department, by an International Studies Department professor teamed with a Business School professor, by a French professor teamed with the Dean of the Master of Liberal Arts Program. This juxtaposition of diverse disciplines results in multiple perspectives on and interpretations of the books you will be reading. Classes are usually seminar-style, meaning that they are manageably small and encourage discussion between student and professors and between student and student. HNRS 3391, Community Service Project, and HNRS 4395, Contemporary Problems Seminar, are taught by a single professor. They, too, are conducted seminar-style and consequently encourage discussion.
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 3 above, you will notice that there is one semester for which no Honors courses are scheduled: the spring term of the third, or junior, year. This “off semester” is designed to create 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. In fact, this past year, 3 of the Honors graduates were science majors. The program is strengthened immensely by the participation of majors in these areas. From the beginning 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, you can still have a life outside of Honors! 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 coffee, we survive!!). The point is that many Honors students still are able to successfully pursue Joint or Double Majors, participate in university sports, take an active role in campus activities and clubs, work full- or part-time, and just have fun. Honors students are frequently leaders on campus. For example, last year's and the current year's President of the Student Government Association is a senior Honors student. The school newspaper's editor from two years ago was an Honors student. Last year, the president of Beta Beta Beta, the undergraduate biology honor society, was an Honors student. The year before, the president of Phi Sigma Tau, the undergraduate philosophy honor society, was also an Honors student.
Additionally, there are a number of social events sponsored by the Honors Program itself, such as the Honors Picnic at the orientation for new freshmen, the annual Dionysian Festival, the Honors Christmas Party, Honors pizza and movie parties, and the like.
Also, 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, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Salt Lake City, New Orleans and Orlando. This trip is paid for by the Honors Program.
Is there an Honors dorm at the University of St. Thomas?
There is no Honors dorm in the sense that all Honors Program students live in the same University housing. However, students admitted to the Honors Program have the option of applying for residence in Augustine Hall, a special community fostering a life of scholarship and learning, of friendship, service, and faith. Located on the UST campus, Augustine Hall offers apartment-style housing for some 24 students, perhaps half of whom are in the Honors Program. Augustine Hall is for freshmen only. Any student who is academically eligible for the Honors Program may apply for admission to Augustine Hall (also known as the Living Learning Center). Each applicant is interviewed by Honors Program faculty and by the Director of the Living-Learning Center, who make admissions decisions for the LLC Program. Like the Honors Program, this experience is open to men and women in any major program and of all religious faiths. Admission is not contingent on being awarded a place in the Honors Program, and the LLC provides an "honors experience" to students who might not elect to enter the Honors Program.
Augustine Hall integrates academic pursuits with social activities, service and opportunities for prayer and reflection. It both explores and embodies the fundamental values of Catholic higher education. As a residential community, the LLC stresses the values of justice, friendship and hospitality, which is the welcoming and understanding of differences in background, religious faith, etc. The academic program of the LLC consists of two 2-credit courses: Honors 1291- The Examined Life and Honors 1292 - The Good Life. These courses examine the prospects for living a life of virtue and integrity in the contemporary world.
Students in this program must take Honors 1291 and one of the following: HNRS 1391, PHIL 1311 or 1315 in the Fall Semester; and HNRS 1392, PHIL 2314 or 2316 in the Spring Semester. HNRS 1291 and 1292 are elective courses that count toward the total number of hours required for the bachelor's degree.