Honors Program

Kelli M. Slunt, Program Director and Professor of Chemistry
Mara Scanlon, Assistant Director and Professor of English

Honors Program Committee

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 (Track A).  Students are admitted to the Honors Program based on screenings by the admissions office including consideration of high school GPA, application essay, and rigor of high school curriculum. However, space permitting, others may apply for acceptance after matriculation, during their first year (Track B). Note that this application process is competitive and applicants must have a 3.2 overall UMW GPA or higher, a letter of application, a record of community service and/or leadership, and one letter of recommendation from UMW faculty. Students entering after matriculation will be required to successfully complete 12 credits of honors-designated coursework, the Honors Capstone Preparation Workshop (HONR 005), the mentored service project (HONR 201), the leadership requirement, and the Capstone experience, in order to be awarded University Honors.  The completion of two Honors Program requirements per year 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 two Honors Program requirements per academic year (until all requirements are fulfilled) and maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.2 in order to remain in good standing.

George Washington University Medical School Agreement

The George Washington University has established an agreement that allows UMW Honors Scholars to apply for conditional acceptance to the medical school during the second year of college.  Individuals with competitive SAT or ACT scores, who are in good standing in the UMW Honors Program, have at least a 3.5 UMW GPA, have completed at least two semesters of chemistry and two semesters of biology or physics, as well as a social/behavioral science course with no science grade below a B-, and have participated in some patient related health care are invited to apply in March of their sophomore year at UMW.  Early acceptance candidates must pursue a major or minor in a humanities area and complete all required pre-medical coursework. Note: the application process is competitive and not all students who meet the criteria will be selected.  All decisions of GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences are final and there is no appeal process.

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

Track A: Incoming first-year students

3 credits – HN-designated FSEM 100 course

9 credits – HN-designated coursework (not including FSEM HN)

1 credit – HONR 201

3 credits – 491/492 capstone research project

Additionally each student will be required to:

  • complete the Honors Capstone Preparation Workshop (HONR 005) at least one semester prior to the capstone project,
  • complete the Honors Program leadership requirement,
  • maintain an Honors portfolio,
  • complete 8 co-curricular events, and
  • maintain the required GPA.

Track B: Current UMW Students or eligible Transfer Students*

12 credits – HN-designated coursework (can include FSEM 100 HN)

1 credit – HONR 201

3 credits – 491/492 capstone research project

Additionally each student will be required to:

  • complete the Honors Capstone Preparation Workshop (HONR 005) at least one semester prior to the capstone project,
  • complete the Honors Program leadership requirement,
  • maintain an Honors portfolio,
  • complete 8 co-curricular events, and
  • maintain the required GPA.

*FSEM requirement waived for Track B