2009-2010 Honors Program (HON)

Program Goals | Admission Criteria | Benefits | Participation in Honors Courses by Non-Honors Students | Criterion for Remaining in the Honors Program | LE Certificate | Honors Degree Requirements | Directed Studies | 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 Liberal Education 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 those 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

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 29.5 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 Admissions Staff. Questions concerning the application process should be directed to the director of the Honors Program.

Benefits of Participating in the Honors Program

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. Participation in 200-level Honors seminars is restricted to students in the Honors Program.

Criterion for Remaining in the Honors Program

  1. 3.0 GPA overall
  2. If an Honors student falls below this GPA, a probationary period of two semesters 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

Learning Community HON 201 Humanities I
Writing and other Communication Skills
Composition and Research HON 201-202 Humanities I and II
Information Literacy HON 201-202 Humanities I and II
Basic Speech Course

HON 201, 202, 211, 212, 231
(4 of 5 required for SPCH credit)
Courses with strong emphasis on critical, analytical, and integrative thinking in historical, literary, and philosophical contexts.
History HON 201-202 Humanities I and II
Literature HON 201-202 Humanities I and II
HON 201-202 Humanities I and II
Courses with strong emphasis on creative and reflective capacities.
Arts Survey HON 212 The Arts in Performance
Creative Arts HON 212 The Arts in Performance
Courses with strong emphasis on critical, analytical, and integrative thinking in mathematical and scientific contexts.
Mathematics: No Honors Course
  MATH 120 Quantitative Reasoning  
  MATH 141 College Algebra  
  MATH 142 Trigonometry  
  MATH 150 Elementary Statistics  
  MATH 201 Calculus I  
Physical Sciences
HON 221 History and Philosophy of Science
Life Sciences HON 222 Science, Power, and Diversity
Social Sciences
Courses with strong emphasis on global consciousness, social responsibility, and ethical awareness in a social science context.
Social Sciences I HON 211 Political Economy of Confict
Social Sciences II HON 231 Human Culture and Behavior
Living Arts
Courses with a strong emphasis on real-world, life-enhancing knowledge.
Living Arts HON 201 Humanities I
Courses integrate two or more of the following as a major component throughout the course: class, gender, race, ethnicity, geographic origin, ability, age, sexual orientation and/or religion.
Diversity HON 222 Science, Power, and Diversity

Note: While the Honors seminars satisfy Liberal Education requirements, Honors seminars do not satisfy major/minor requirements or prerequisites except in the following cases. Honors students who major or minor in Philosophy after completing HON 201 and HON 202 will have satisfied the PHIL 100 and PHIL 102 requirements for the Philosophy major and minor. Honors students who major or minor in Political Science after completing HON 211 will have satisfied the PLSC 101 requirement. Honors students who complete HON 201 and HON 202 will have satisfied the ENGL 220 requirement for the minor and/or will have satisfied the ENGL 220 prerequisite requirement for placement purposes into English classes beyond ENGL 220.

Honors Degree Requirements

Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.00 in all Honors coursework, including those courses listed below for the Honors degree, and an overall minimum GPA of 3.25. In addition, the following requirements must be satisfied in order to be awarded the Honors Degree (in the major) at graduation:

Requirement Description
Credit Hours
I. Foreign Language Requirement 16
  Honors Degree students must complete 4 semesters of college-level instruction in a single foreign language or the equivalent. The requirement can be satisfied by coursework or proof of proficiency. For example, an incoming student who begins in Spanish III and successfully completes that course and Spanish IV will have satisfied the requirement.(May term study abroad trips may not be used to satisfy this requirement.)

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 by taking 4 hours of coursework in a different foreign language. Students taking coursework in a foreign language in which Westminster does not offer 4 semesters may complete the requirement with coursework in an additional foreign language. All coursework that meets this requirement must be taken for a letter grade.
II. Lower Division Courses 28
  HON 201 Humanities I
HON 202 Humanities II
HON 211 Political Economy of Conflict
HON 212 The Arts in Performance
HON 221 History and Philosophy of Science
HON 222 Science, Power, and Diversity
HON 231 Human Culture and Behavior

To receive an Honors degree, no more than one of these courses may be taken credit/no credit.
III. Upper Division Courses 6
  Completion of 6 hours of coursework in Honors 300 or 400 seminars. May not be taken credit/no credit.  
IV. Senior Project/Thesis 3
  Completion of a senior project in the student's major for a minimum of 3 credit hours. Students whose majors do not accommodate a senior project may enroll in HON 402. 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 a public setting such as a regional academic conference, Westminster's undergraduate research fair, or some equivalent venue.  

Students who complete all the necessary coursework and satisfy the requirements for the Honors Degree, but fall below the minimum Honors Degree GPA requirements, will be awarded the Honors certificate.

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

Directed Studies in Honors

Students may sometimes wish to satisfy some of their Honors hours by enrolling in a directed study project under HON 401. This allows a student to design, in conjunction with a faculty member, an independent project that adopts an interdisciplinary approach to materials that are not covered in another Honors class. Directed study forms are available in the office of the registrar or the individual college offices. The course should be designed with the same care and thoroughness as standard Honors courses and the directed study form should, therefore, contain a comprehensive reading list of primary and secondary sources, a series of questions the student will address, a clear explanation of assignments, and the method of assessment.

Generally, students wishing to apply directed study hours toward their 6-hour Honors Degree requirement should not satisfy more than 3 hours of coursework this way during the standard semester or more than 2 hours of coursework if done in conjunction with a May term class or trip. Students should consult the Honors director for assistance in designing directed study projects.