The University Honors Program offers an enriched course of study for academically talented and venturesome students.
Honors Scholars take courses especially designed to encourage creative thinking and independent learning, and they complete an original research project as the capstone of their experience.
Newly admitted freshmen and continuing or transfer students with fewer than 45 credits (exclusive of college credits earned in high school or in summer sessions) and Community College graduates are eligible to apply to the University Honors Program. Part-time students should have at least five semesters of enrollment remaining. As a guideline, applicants are expected to be in the top 15% of their respective high school classes and/or have achieved at least a 1200 on the SAT (combined score for the verbal and math sections), and continuing or transfer students should have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or above. The most important qualifications of all is a commitment to learning and an enthusiasm for intellectual challenge.
Standards for Retention
To maintain good standing in the program students must:
- meet the following minimum cumulative GPA standards:
Freshman 3.30; Sophomores 3.40; Juniors 3.45; Seniors 3.50
- complete at least one Honors course per year, and
- demonstrate active involvement in the co-curricular activities of the Honors Program
and the University community.
Why Become an Honor Scholar?
The University Honors Program offers students excellent opportunities to develop attributes that typify those who are willing and capable of assuming leadership roles in their respective communities. These opportunities are provided through intellectually challenging courses, working with other highly motivated students, involvement in student-initiated projects/activities, and completion of an independent research project under the supervision of a faculty mentor. In addition, the Program provides opportunities and encouragement, as well as financial support, for Honors students wishing to participate in local, regional, and/or national conferences. The Program offers an excellent preparation for professional or graduate schools, teaching, or any competitive career. Students who complete the program are recognized as University Honors Scholars at commencement and on their transcripts.
In addition, all freshmen entering the program who live on-campus receive a scholarship covering their full in-state tuition, to cover up to 18 credits per semester, as well as a $2000 housing credit. Scholarships for students living off-campus cover in-state tuition only. These scholarships are renewable for up to eight semesters for those who maintain the program’s standards. Also offered is a $1000 scholarship for participation in an international experience, research opportunity, or internship. Incoming Honors freshmen who wish to live on campus are housed on the same floor in Constitution Hall. Participation in the Honors Program improves the chances of continuing students obtaining the housing residence of their choice in subsequent years. The curriculum of the Honors program satisfies part of the University’s Liberal Arts Core requirement (GER). Honors Scholars, who may major in any four-year program offered at Eastern, often find that their capstone research project may also satisfy a requirement in their major, as well as the LAC’s Tier III course requirement.
Honors courses are designed to integrate and complement the work students accomplish fulfilling the LAC requirement and requirements of their major. The program consists of 22 credits, up to 6 of which may be waived for continuing or transfer students.
Entering freshmen take Honors 200 during their first semester. This course is best described as a freshmen seminar and an advanced writing course. In their second semester freshmen take Honors 130, a team-taught course, which approaches a single topic from the perspective of several different academic disciplines. This course emphasizes analysis, synthesis, and presentation of information.
During their sophomore and junior years, Honors Scholars are given the opportunity to take a variety of Honors Colloquia (Honors 360-362), innovative interdisciplinary courses designed specifically for the program by outstanding scholars and respected teachers. Topics covered in recent colloquia include: Popular Music in a Global Environment, Native American & Ancient Cosmologies in Literature and Culture, Globalization, New England and the Sea, and American Dreams-American Realities. Colloquia feature off-campus excursions, conversations with artists, scholars, and experts, and active involvement in the learning process. Students must take at least three colloquia, which also fulfill the interdisciplinary requirement of the GER.
In the spring of their junior year, students design and begin work on an Honors thesis under the direction of an advisor in Honors 380. In both semesters of their senior year, Honors Scholars draft, revise and complete the research projects they have designed in Honors 488. The Honors Thesis enables students to explore in depth significant developments in their majors and is an excellent preparation for advanced study and challenging careers. Recent thesis topics include: effects of prenatal exposure to marijuana, the Victorian feminine ideal in Kate Chopin’s At Fault and The Awakening, binding affinity of protein molecules to DNA, lessons learned from attempts at nation building, and the media’s influence on the Democratic presidential race of 2008.
In addition to their academic lives, Honors Scholars become involved in a variety of programs and activities sponsored by the university, their major department, and the Honors Program itself. The Honors Club, a student organization, meets twice a month throughout the academic year. It sponsors trips to cultural events and other college campuses. Each spring, for example, several students, along with the Director, participate in the Northeast National Collegiate Honors Council Conference (NE-NCHC) as presenters.
The Student Honors Council makes recommendations concerning the Honors curriculum and requirements, the Honors curriculum and requirements, and sponsors cultural and social events on campus, including the activities of Honors Week, usually the last week in April. Other Honors student initiatives include social service and educational activities in the Windham/Willimantic area, hosting prospective freshman, and mentoring programs for new students.
For an application form, write to Zosia Carlquist, Coordinating Secretary, University Honors Program, Eastern Connecticut State University, 83 Windham Street, Willimantic, CT 06226, or call (860) 465-4317.
Completed applications will require transcripts, recommendations, and an example of the applicant’s writing.
The deadline for applications is February 1.