Honors Program

The mind's journey is the soul's destination.

Students selected for participation in the Honors Program become members of an intellectually stimulating community of peers and instructors who pursue the rare quality of excellence. Honor students can expect small, seminar-like classes with more discussion and critical thinking and less lecturing and memorization. In fact, we believe that an invitation to the Honors Program brings not more work but work that is more engaging, challenging and rewarding.  

The Coursework 

In the Honors Program, students are encouraged to examine issues and themes from multiple and contrasting perspectives. All Honors courses are taught as seminars, providing an ideal environment for developing effective communication and critical-thinking skills. Emphasis is placed on student initiative in discussion, research and presentation; class size normally is limited to 15 students. A minimum of five Honors courses and the Honors thesis project are required to graduate with an Honors degree. Most Honors coursework also satisfies general education or major requirements.  

Opportunities for Involvement and Leadership Development 

The Honors Program offers a diverse array of academic, social and community-service activities that can help participants develop their intellectual and leadership potential as well as establish new friendships. Study abroad opportunities add to the in depth cultural and educational benefits. Examples include:

  • The Honors Student Union is organized and directed by students. Executive officers develop social and cultural events for Honors students and the entire student body.
  • Through the annual Honors Student Union Campus Debate, Honors students identify and then discuss important issues before the faculty and student body.
  • The Honors Publications Editorial Board develops a variety of publications, including the annual journal Ex caverna.
  • Honors students often attend – and sometimes are invited to present at – the annual National Collegiate Honors Council Conference.
  • Through organized research or creative work defined in collaboration with their thesis committee, Honor students develop a special thesis as a capstone experience in a field or major of their choice. 

Admission to the Honors Program 

Admission to the Honors Program is competitive. Approximately 60 students are admitted each year, representing those who have the highest academic credentials among all who meet the basic Honors eligibility requirements. To be considered for the Honors Program, a student must have achieved an overall high school GPA of 3.5 or higher and a combined SAT Critical Reading and Math minimum score of 1300 (not including the Writing score) or a 29 (composite score) for the ACT. An application will be required in addition to a short essay prompted on the application form. The application will be available on Viking Web for those who qualify. Those who meet the criteria will be considered. Students who are admitted to the program will have Honors courses in their prepared schedule when they arrive for their summer orientation (SOAR) session, and an Honors Program representative will be available to answer questions and provide orientation materials. 

Need more information?

For more information, contact Honors Program Director Dr. Lara Whelan at 706-238-5876 or lwhelan@berry.edu.