The Honors College offers a challenging and rewarding educational experience to the intellectually inquisitive undergraduate. Honors College students are independent thinkers, captivated by courses dealing with cross-cultural and intellectual movements, and stimulated by creative debate and analytical dialogue. They thrive in an interdisciplinary setting, forming a close-knit community as professors and students embark on a shared educational journey toward individual excellence.
What is the Honors College?
Founded in 1982, the Honors College is a four-year program designed for the academically superior student. Unlike at most universities, which organize their curriculum into departments (for example, biology, literature, or communications), at Southern, courses in the Honors College are interdisciplinary, organized around themes and questions common to many disciplines, and approached differently in each. Honors courses are also team-taught, with professors from different departments approaching the Honors class from the distinct perspectives of their own training and scholarship. Honors classes are small, each limited to an enrollment of 20 students, which fosters a high level of student involvement in the classroom. Students do much writing, and they receive close, individualized feedback on their papers and creative work. Through this technique of lively, interdisciplinary interchange, the free flow of ideas as well as their interpretation and analysis is encouraged in the Honors student, who learns to discover underlying structures of knowledge in all areas of study, whatever his/her major.
Are There Any Scholarships?
To enable our students to excel in all aspects of the program, freshmen accepted into the Honors College are awarded financial support. All of the 40 incoming Honors College freshmen will receive a minimum scholarship covering one-half the cost of in-state tuition and fees, renewable for four years. The top 20 percent of accepted Honors College applicants will receive a Presidential Merit scholarship covering full in-state tuition and fees, renewable for four years.
How is the Honors Program Distinctive?
Honors College students may choose a major in any field. During the first two years of college, our students typically enroll in two Honors courses each semester, along with three other courses selected from their major field or free electives. These eight Honors courses, when taken together, replace most of the all-university required courses and comprise roughly a third of the student's total academic program.
During their final two years, Honors students concentrate on their major fields. In addition, juniors take a research seminar in the Honors College, and seniors complete an Honors thesis or independent project, working closely with a faculty adviser.
Successful Honors College seniors are recognized at the annual Awards Convocation, where they receive university honors from their department(s) as well as from the Honors College.
Who May Qualify for Admission to the Honors College?
- High school seniors with outstanding academic ability
- Incoming transfer students with outstanding records who have not yet met most of the all-university requirements (with permission of the director)
Candidates for the Honors College also show a commitment to community service and/or co-curricular activities (such as athletics and performing arts) and leadership skills.
What Else is Special About the Honors College?
There is a bond among our students and faculty which both fosters individual achievement and also promotes group camaraderie. A key role in our program is played by faculty advisement, which begins before registration and continues throughout the Honors student's university career. Freshmen receive counsel from the Honors College director, from another specially-chosen Honors professor, and also from an adviser in their major area of study. In addition, Honors College students are a tightly-knit group. With faculty, they plan numerous outings and extracurricular activities, both social and intellectual. Honors students are often campus leaders, traditionally interesting themselves in local causes and looking outward to the larger world community.
Visit Honors College to learn more.