2004-2005 Honors Program

2004 - 2005 Honors Program (HON)

Program Description | Program Goals | Admission Criteria | Benefits | Participation in Honors Courses by Non-Honors Program Students | Criteria for Remaining in the Honors Program | LE Certificate | Honors Degree Option | Course Descriptions

Director: Richard Badenhausen

Program Description

The Honors Program provides students who are academically and intellectually prepared with the opportunity to satisfy their college-wide LE Skills and LE Distribution course requirements in an alternative and unique manner. By completing a 7-course sequence of interdisciplinary, team-taught Honors courses, students earn an Honors certificate while satisfying their Liberal Education Distribution requirements. Moreover, by understanding their historical, scientific, and intellectual heritage, honors students are prepared to be articulate and responsible members of society and defenders of their own ideas. Students may also continue their study in the program and receive an Honors degree.

Program Goals

  • Students will develop confidence in their abilities to understand and discuss complex ideas and texts, as well as to engage in problem solving and research design.
  • Students will strengthen their written and oral communication skills.
  • Students will master an ability to work effectively in groups of diverse people.
  • Students will make connections between disciplines.
  • Students will learn to apply new knowledge and skills in meaningful ways that will help them succeed in their professional and personal lives following college.
  • Students will enjoy a range of supplemental experiences of an academic and social nature with similarly motivated and talented students.

Admission Criteria

Students expressing a desire to enroll in the Honors Program will be ranked according to the following criteria: ACT scores, high school GPA, and the quality of a written statement. The top thirty-five students will be invited to enroll in Honors courses. If accepted students decline the offer, the invitation process will continue until a class of thirty-five students is formed. Although a typical incoming Honors student has had a 3.80 GPA and a 28 Composite ACT score, the range of scores is quite broad. Students who fall near or above these standards and who sincerely wish to be in the program are encouraged to secure an application from the Honors Program or Westminster's START Center. Questions concerning the application process should be directed to the director of the Honors Program.

Benefits of Participating in the Honors Program

  • Academic distinction: the Honors designation on a transcript shows graduate schools and employers that you have achieved academic success in rigorous classes and worked with some of the college's finest teachers and students.
  • Small class size: restricted enrollment ensures classes have an intimate, seminar-style feel and allows for close student-professor interactions and mentoring-an important benefit when students require personal and informed letters of recommendation for jobs and graduate school.
  • Excellent faculty: professors teach Honors classes by choice and are some of the college's most committed and energetic instructors.
  • Interdisciplinary approaches: the interdisciplinary nature of Honors seminars brings students and teachers from different departments together, ensuring an exciting class atmosphere and preparing students for the interdisciplinary approach of most top graduate programs.
  • Research opportunities: the seminar-style approach to learning, the emphasis on writing and research in classes, and the program support of outside research allow students to investigate their academic interests more fully and create opportunities for the presentation or publishing of their work. The program also awards three independent summer research grants annually to Honors students.
  • Sense of community: Honors students take core classes together and interact with Honors faculty and students in other academic and social events, which helps establish a sense of belonging to the college community.
  • Access to supplementary resources: For example, the Honors Program listserv; the "Pizza with Profs" lecture series; the Honors Program resource library; the Honors Program newsletter; special enriched learning experiences such as attendance at cultural events and other field study; funding to attend and give papers at academic conferences; leadership training opportunities like the student Honors Council; special recognition opportunities like the Honors seminar book awards; and opportunities to participate in special meetings with distinguished visiting scholars and lecturers.

Participation in Honors Courses by Non-Honors Program Students

Since a number of high-achieving, upper-class Westminster College students may not have applied to the Honors Program as incoming freshmen but may still wish to participate in some of its classes, any undergraduate in good standing with a 3.5 GPA or higher is eligible to enroll in 300 and 400 level Honors seminars. The Honors Program is an active part of the larger college community and welcomes the energy, intellect, and diversity that students from different disciplines across the campus bring to Honors. Non-Honors Program students enrolling in Honors seminars should check with their program chairs, since these classes will sometimes fulfill certain requirements in a student's own major.

Criteria for Remaining in the Honors Program

  1. 3.25 GPA overall, and a 3.0 GPA overall in Honors courses.
  2. If an Honors student falls below these GPA minimums, a probationary semester will be used to allow the student to return to the minimum GPA standards for continued participation.

Honors Liberal Education Certificate Requirements

Students who complete seven courses in the Honors LE sequence will be awarded a special certificate recognizing this achievement (contingent on Westminster graduation). No more than one of these courses may be taken credit/no credit.

A complete description of the equivalencies between LE Honors courses and the standard LE courses is listed below.

Liberal Education Skills Requirements

Honors Course Equivalents

Computer Literacy:

CMPT 098 Computer Literacy or higher course, or passing score on Computer Competency Exam

No Honors Course


ENGL 110 Composition and Research
ENGL 111 & 112 (required for Int'l students)

HON 201-202 Humanities I and II

Public Speaking:

SPCH 111 Public Presentations

HON 201, 202, 211, 212, 231 (4 of 5 required for SPCH credit)

Mathematical Sciences:

MATH 120 Quantitative Reasoning
MATH 141 College Algebra
MATH 150 Elementary Statistics

No Honors Course

Foreign Language:

Determined by major

No Honors Course


Liberal Education
Distribution Requirements

Honors Course Equivalents

Group 1: Life Sciences

BIOL 102 The Natural World
BIOL 210 Environmental Biology

HON 222 Science, Power, and Diversity

Group 2: Physical Sciences

CHEM 103 Introduc. to Chemistry
ESS 110 Introduction to Geology
PHYS 102 The Physical Universe
PHYS 104 Explorations in Science

HON 221 History and Philosophy of Science

Group 3: Social Science I

ECON 105 Intro. to Economics
ECON 253 Elem. Macroeconomics
PLSC 101 Intr. to Political Science
PLSC 121 American Nat'l Gov't.

HON 211 Perspectives in Social Sciences I

Group 4: Social Science II

ANTH 160 Intro. to Anthropology
PSYC 105 Intro. to Psychology
SOC 105 Introduction to Sociology
SOC 253 Sociology of the Family
ANTH/PSYC/SOC 200FN Social Sciences II Foundation Course

HON 231 Perspectives in Social Sciences II

Group 5: History

HIST 112 Western Civilization I
HIST 113 Western Civilization II
HIST 212 World History to 1500
HIST 220 United States History
HIST/PHIL/ENGL 200FN Foundation in Humanities Course

HON 201-202 Humanities I and II

Group 6: Literature

ENGL 220 Introduction to Literature
HIST/PHIL/ENGL 200FN Foundation in Humanities Course

HON 201-202 Humanities I and II

Group 7: Arts Survey

ART 110 Survey of Art
MUSC 110 Survey of Music
THTR 124 Survey of the Theatre
ART/MUSC/THTR 200FN Experiencing the Arts

HON 212 Seminar in the Arts

Group 8: Arts/Physical Activity

ART 101 Beginning Drawing
ART 103 Beginning Painting
ART 148 Fundamentals of Pottery
MUSC 115 Griffin Chorus
MUSC 125 Westminster Jazz Combo
MUSC 135 Westminster Chamber Orchestra
MUSC 315 Westminster Chamber Singers
PE Any physical education class
THTR 127 Stagecraft
THTR 180 Acting I
ART/MUSC/THTR 200FN Experiencing the Arts

HON 212 Seminar in the Arts

Group 9: Philosophy/Religion

PHIL 100 Intro. to Philosophy
PHIL 102 Critical Thinking
PHIL 206 Introduction to Ethics
REL 101 Religions of the World
HIST/PHIL/ENGL 200FN Foundations in Humanities Course

HON 201-202 Humanities I and II


Honors Degree

The following requirements must be satisfied in order to be awarded the Honors Degree (in the major) at graduation:

  1. Maintain a minimum GPA of 3.00 in all Honors course work, including those courses listed below for the Honors degree, and a minimum GPA of 3.25.
  2. Completion of the 7-course Honors LE sequence, with no more than one of these courses taken credit/no credit.
  3. Completion of 4 semesters of college-level instruction in a single foreign language. For those Honors students who have 12 hours CLEP or proficiency exam credit in a single language, they may satisfy the remaining 4-hour requirement in one of the following ways: a) take 4 hours of coursework in a different language; b) take 4 hours of study abroad credit in a non-English speaking foreign country, of the language of proficiency or some other language; or c) take 4 hours of a foreign language literature in translation course, or the language of proficiency or some other language. All coursework that meets this requirement must be taken for a letter grade.
  4. Completion of 6 hours of course work in Honors 300 or 400 seminars. May not be taken credit/no credit.
  5. Completion of a senior project in the student's major for a minimum of 3 credit hours. The nature of this project will be determined in conjunction with the Director of Honors and the student's major advisor. All students completing a thesis or senior project for the Honors Degree must fill out the thesis topic approval and completion forms, which are available in the Honors office, and present their completed work in some public setting like a regional academic conference, Westminster's undergraduate research fair, or some equivalent venue.

Please contact the Director of the Honors Program for more detailed information concerning the requirements for the Honors Degree.