Honors Program

Kelli M. Slunt, Director and Professor of Chemistry

Members of the Honors Program Committee

John Broome, Assistant Professor of Education
Daniel Hirshberg, Assistant Professor of Religion
Lynn Lewis, Professor of Biology
Jennifer Polack, Professor of Computer Science
Gary Richards, Associate Professor of English

The Honors Program is a university-wide undergraduate program designed to offer highly motivated and advanced students the opportunity to enhance their intellectual growth by engaging them in rigorous honors designated coursework, interdisciplinary seminars, strong internship experiences, extended research and creative projects, and community service that develops a community of learners. The program will offer courses that are small in size and that develop the intellectual potential of students through activities that:

  • develop communication skills
  • incorporate interdisciplinary focus
  • include innovative pedagogy
  • analyze their own and others’ assumptions
  • enhance research skills
  • apply critical reading, writing, speaking, problem solving, and thinking skills that incorporate information literacy, and an appreciation of audience
  • include greater breadth than non-honors course sections
  • incorporate enrichment opportunities to students and faculty
  • utilize flexible approaches that accommodate different learning styles

Most students entering the Honors program will do so upon admission to the university.  Students are admitted to the Honors Program based on screenings by the admissions office including consideration of high school GPA, standardized test scores, and rigor of high school curriculum. However, others may apply for acceptance after matriculation, during their first year. Such students must have a 3.2 overall UMW GPA or higher, a letter of application, and one letter of recommendation from UMW faculty. Students entering after matriculation will be required to successfully complete Honors First-year Seminar, the Project Design Seminar, the Capstone experience and the mentored service project, in order to be awarded University Honors. The 6 credit per year requirement and minimum of 8 co-curricular events before graduation will also apply to these students for those semesters in which they are part of the Honors program. Exceptions to these policies can be made by the Honors committee/director in extraordinary circumstances.

Completion of the honors program requirements will be recognized at graduation and indicated on the transcript as “University Honors.” Note that departmental Honors will continue to be distinct from the Honors program. Honors in each discipline will still be administered by academic departments based on requirements they determine (see individual departments for details).

All students in the program must complete a minimum of 6 credits per year of Honors work and maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.2 in order to remain in good standing.

Student Learning Outcomes for the University Honors Program

Upon the completion of the honors program at Mary Washington, in addition to earning the appropriate credits for their degrees, students will be able to:

  • evaluate carefully the relevance of disciplinary contexts when presenting a position using a methodology specific to the discipline of study
  • apply interdisciplinary approaches to research demonstrating multiple disciplinary contexts to articulate the value of such study
  • actively pursue independent educational experiences inside and outside of the classroom.
  • articulate an appreciation of ethical behavior and the values of good citizenship and service.

Honors Program Requirements

Students are required to complete a minimum of 6 credits of HN course work a semester until all of the following requirements are completed:

  • Honors First Year Seminar, HONR100 (3 credits) or History (HIST) 201, 202, or First Year Seminar (FSEM) 100 courses with the HN designation
  • Honors 201 — Sponsored/mentored Service Project (1 credit)**
  • Honors designated coursework and/or contract based coursework** (5 additional courses)
  • Project/Research Design Seminar (1 course or experience)
  • Mentor First Year Honors students
  • Capstone Honors Course OR Honors Project (Thesis or Performance) in a discipline OR Interdisciplinary Project** (minimum 3 credits)
  • Honors Program leadership
  • Attendance at a minimum of 8 approved co-curricular events (at least one per semester)

** must be pre-approved by the Honors Director/Committee