Frequently Asked Questions

The Honors College accepts applications from entering first-year students during their senior year of high school. There are two opportunities to apply for the program: a priority application deadline of December 1, 2017, and a final application deadline of March 30, 2018. Admission is offered on a rolling basis.

There are also a limited number of spots available for students transferring from other institutions, or current Westminster students who are not yet part of the Honors College.

Learn More About Applying to the Honors College

Yes! Current Westminster students—and students transferring from other colleges—can apply through the Honors lateral-entry program. Current Westminster student applicants must apply by March 1, and external transfer students must apply by May 15. Students who are accepted through this pathway take four Honors seminars and earn an Honors certificate.

Honors courses are different from other courses because they emphasize deep analysis of primary resources, interdisciplinary perspectives, and seminar-style learning guided by two professors in every class. The classes also encourage students to find their own voice by examining texts and issues through many different types of writing and speaking exercises. While the courses are not designed to be “harder,” the unique learning environment does attract students who wish to stretch themselves in the classroom. The core seminars satisfy all the requirements of the college's WCore general education program.

Honors degree students take Welcome to Thinking I and II, 5 core seminars, 4 hours of elective credit, and complete both a capstone in their major and third-level proficiency in a world language. Those students graduate with either an Honors bachelor of fine arts, Honors bachelor of arts, or Honors bachelor of science, depending on their major program of study.

Honors certificate students receive a certificate upon graduation and complete 6 core seminars: 4 Honors seminars and at least 2 WCore courses, or the equivalent for lateral-entry students.

In addition to the designations mentioned above, students who complete the requirements for the various degree programs receive a certificate suitable for framing and signed by the Honors College dean and registrar. Transcripts also signify all Honors classes taken. Finally, Honors students are entitled to wear various cords that correspond with their Honors achievement at Commencement.

First-year Honors students must take Welcome to Thinking I & II in the Fall and Spring terms of their first year. Sometimes, first-year students pair those courses with another Honors seminar, typically in the Spring term. It is not unusual for sophomores to take two Honors seminars at a time. Students should consult the Honors dean, the assistant director of Honors and fellowship advising, or other experienced Honors students for suggestions about pairing seminars.

Honors students do not get Honors credit for AP exams, though individual majors often give elective credit for such achievement (check with the chair of individual departments).

Students do receive Westminster general-credit hours toward graduation for satisfactory scores on AP exams; such credit will also accelerate a student's path to upper-class status, which will eventually give them priority over fellow classmates without AP credit in registering for classes.

While the Honors College encourages students to engage in AP work in high school because it better prepares them for the Honors seminar experience and AP work may give applicants an advantage in admissions decisions, the program cannot give seminar credit for that work because AP focuses on single disciplines and all Honors seminars are interdisciplinary—there is no equivalency. Students should also know that AP credits often don't satisfy entrance requirements for graduate study in fields like medicine. The vast majority of Honors students enter the program with a significant amount of AP credit on their transcripts.

Absolutely. Students with associate degrees can choose the lateral-entry option and work towards the Honors certificate, though sometimes students with associate degrees prefer to do the full Honors Degree if they plan on remaining at the college for 3–4 years and desire the challenge of Honors.

Honors students must maintain a 3.00 GPA overall. Students who fall below this minimum standard will be given two probationary semesters to raise their GPA to this level and ensure continued participation. Students who do not return to that standard after one year will no longer be eligible to take Honors seminars.

Although only students admitted to the Honors College can take the core Honors seminars, any undergraduate in good standing with a 3.5 GPA or higher is eligible to enroll in the 300 and 400 level special topics Honors seminars. The Honors College is an active part of the larger college community and welcomes the energy, intellect, and diversity that students bring to Honors from different disciplines across campus.

The Honors College is much more than just taking seminars. There are leadership opportunities in the Student Honors Council, which meets regularly to discuss ways to improve the Honors experience for students. All Honors students are welcome to participate. There is a regular schedule of visiting speakers who meet specifically with Honors students. The Honors College also encourages—and financially supports—research by Honors students that might lead to presentation at academic conferences. The Honors College newsletter is always looking for students with interesting stories or students interested in writing features. The Honors Peer Mentor Program allows upper-class students to help first-year Honors students draw on their experiences and make the transition to Westminster and the Honors College smoother.