Honors Program at St. Scholastica
The Honors Program prepares civic scholars committed to the pursuit of knowledge that leads to ethical action in their communities and beyond. Our courses are designed to challenge students intellectually for the purpose of becoming engaged in life beyond the walls of the classroom.
The Honors Program pushed me to think more deeply, ask more questions, and develop a more holistic education.
Qualifying for the Honors Program
If you meet one of the following two criteria upon application to The College of St. Scholastica, you will be invited by letter to interview for the Honors Program:
- ACT score of 26 or SAT score of 1240 and high school GPA of 3.5/4.0 scale; or
- High school GPA of 3.8/4.0 scale if you applied as test-optional
Interviewing for the Honors Program
A successful interview is required for admission into the Honors Program. If you wish to participate in the program but do not meet two of the three criteria for admission, you may still apply by contacting the Honors Director for an interview.
Graduating from the program
Honors students may choose to earn the academic title of Webster Scholar at graduation, a minor in Civic Studies, or both. Additionally, Honors courses may be used to fulfill many general education (Veritas) requirements at the College, so the program and minor may not require extra classes to complete.
To be named a Webster Scholar at graduation and on their transcript, a student must complete the following requirements:
- Twenty credits of Honors (HON) coursework, eight credits of which must be at the 3000- or 4000-level;
- HON 1111 and 1112: Dignitas, four credits of which may apply toward the 20 credits of Honors coursework;
- A minimum grade of a “B” for all 20 Honors credits; and
- A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 for all College coursework upon graduation
To earn a minor in Civic Studies, a student must complete the following requirements:
- Twenty credits of Honors (HON) coursework, eight credits of which must be at the 3000- or 4000-level, including:
- HON 1111 and 1112: Dignitas, four credits of which apply to the minor;
- Four credits from the 2000-level HON course cluster “Civil Society and the Common Good”;
- Four credits from the 3000-level HON course cluster “Civic Scholarship and Engagement”; and
- Civic Scholar Capstone (two credits)
- Six elective HON credits
Transfer students may be approved for a reduced credit requirement to graduate as a Webster Scholar. They are required to complete an alternative course to HON 1111 and 1112 to earn a minor in Civic Studies.
More information about coursework will be provided soon.
Who can enroll in an Honors course?
Students who have been admitted to the Honors Program can enroll in any Honors course. Students who are not officially in the program may also enroll in an Honors course with the permission of the instructor or the Honors Director.
How many Honors courses do I need to take?
Traditional first-year students are required to complete 20 credits of Honors courses, at least 8 credits of which are upper level (3000 and 4000 level). With the permission of the Honors Director, transfer students may graduate from the Honors Program by completing 12 to 16 credits, again with at least 8 of the credits at the upper level.
How do I graduate with Honors?
To be designated as a graduate of the Honors Program, students must complete the required number of credits, with 8 being upper division; earn a B or better in each of their Honors courses; and have a 3.5 GPA at the time of graduation. These students will be granted the title of Webster Scholar. Separate from graduation from the Honors Program is graduation with “Latin” honors. Any student may graduate with Latin honors with the appropriate GPA.
What is a Webster Scholar?
Webster Scholars are those students who have completed the requirements for the Honors Program. Webster Scholar is the namesake of Lee Webster, a much-loved CSS Spanish professor who died of cancer during the 1996-1997 academic year. We chose the title of Webster Scholar for our students in the Honors Program to celebrate the wonderful man who loved life and learning in the hope that his legacy will be passed on to the students in this Program.
What recognition do I get for completing the Honors Program?
In addition to the title of Webster Scholar, a permanent transcript notation designates completion of the Honors Program requirements. Honors Program graduates receive special recognition by walking first at graduation ceremonies while wearing the medallion that marks achievement of this distinction.
How are Honors courses different?
Honors courses are designed for motivated, high achieving students. Teachers design the classes based on the idea that students will be active in the class. Honors classes are often discussion and activity-oriented classes rather than lecture classes. Unlike regular General Education courses that tend to focus on breadth of learning about multiple topics, Honors courses target specific topics, often from multiple disciplinary perspectives.
Why should I take an Honors course?
Honors courses enrich an already wonderful learning experience at The College of St. Scholastica. The outcomes of the program are love of learning, independent learning, development of a community of learners, depth of learning from multiple perspectives, and discussion skills. If you achieve these outcomes, you will reap both professional and personal benefits. The process also is exciting– these classes are targeted toward active learners and, in all likelihood, will be more consistent with your learning style. The other students in the class also are smart and motivated like you, and often will become part of your social network. You develop close relationships with your teachers.
How do I gain admittance to the Honors Program and when can I enter?
To be admitted to the Honors Program, you must successfully complete an interview with the Honors Director. Prospective first-year Honors students should meet two of these three criteria: top 15% of your class, ACT of 26 or SAT of 1100, and a GPA of 3.5. The Director will decide whether to admit you to the Program. You can begin the Honors Program at any time. However, you may not be able to complete program requirements if you wait too long to begin your Honors course work.
What if I don’t meet the criteria, but want to enroll in an Honors course?
You may request an interview with the Honors Director. Based on that interview, the Director may admit you to the Honors Program if you successfully demonstrate your interest, ability, and desire to learn.
Do I have to take every Honors course?
No. Take the courses that interest you. Be sure to take enough to fulfill the requirements described earlier.
Are there ways to get Honors credits outside of regular courses?
A well-designed Honors independent study or thesis can be completed. The same goes for a service-learning course.
Are Honors courses “instead of” or “in addition to” my regular course work?
All students are required to complete General Education courses in a variety of areas: history, literature, religion, philosophy, natural science, social science, and fine arts, to name a few. Honors courses fulfill General Education requirements, so are taken “instead of” some of the regular General Education courses rather than “in addition to.”
How long do I have to complete the Honors Program Requirements?
When you graduate with your bachelors degree, usually in four years, you must have completed your Honors requirements.
Can I complete my major and the Honors Program?
In most cases you will be able to do both. However, careful planning is essential for Honors students during advisement. First, determine which non-Honors General Education courses need to be taken for your major or minor and when you need to take them. Place this information on the schema available from the CSS website. Then, determine what General Education areas you still need to fulfill and when you have time to take General Education courses. Each semester, when the Honors schedule comes out, see if there is a class you want to take to fulfill a General Education requirement. If the Honors course is designated as Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS), remember that you and your advisor have the flexibility to choose a reasonable General Education requirement it will meet.