2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog 
    May 26, 2024  
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived]

University Honors Program

Executive Director: Dr. Gregory Bierly
Program Office: Pickerl Hall 110

The University Honors Program is composed of classes and experiences designed to enrich and maximize students’ education. As members of this program, students participate in a core of small and powerful classes, taught by faculty selected for their expertise and devotion to academic excellence. The Honors Program executive director, staff, and faculty work closely with each student to design a program of study that enhances his or her academic major and provides the best possible preparation for professional development and advanced study. Benefits of being an Honors student are many, and include dynamic classrooms with peers seeking the same level of depth in their education; supportive faculty mentors; interdisciplinary courses that feature various and exciting perspectives on world events, culture, and history; high-powered experiential learning, including undergraduate research and internships; scholarly travel and field trips in the United States and abroad; special assistance with scholarships and job opportunities; priority registration; and honors housing.  


The mission of the University Honors Program is to provide a supportive and stimulating environment for talented, highly motivated students. This academic community features interdisiplinary courses and projects taught by dedicated faculty and staff; and co-curricular experiences at ISU and beyond, including opportunities for research, leadership, community engagement, and study abroad. This mission is accomplished by:

  • Immersing Honors students in innovative approaches, diverse perspectives, enduring works, and diverse cultures to broaden and challenge their views and to endow them with the skills and confidence to confront complex multi-disciplinary issues;
  • Facilitating intellectual engagement between committed faculty, staff, and students, encouraging an exchange of ideas, both inside and outside the classroom;
  • Providing opportunities for initiative, leadership, and service through experiential learning and community involvement;
  • Encouraging cross-cultural experiences to allow Honors students to experience diverse perspectives in order to expand awareness and deepen their understanding of the world.

The long-term vision of the Honors Program is:

To graduate students with a life-long passion to learn, who are able to apply critical thought and imagination in their professional lives and as global citizens.

Honors Program Opportunities

Each semester all Honors students have the option to meet individually with the executive director or assistant director of Honors to plan their schedules and discuss their academic programs. This special advising opportunity, beyond the regular advisement offered in a student’s major, is a hallmark of the program and is highly prized by Honors students.

Because of their strong academic backgrounds, Honors students typically qualify for special scholarships offered by ISU to outstanding students, including the President’s and University Honors Scholarships, awarded on the basis of academic performance, scores on the SAT or ACT, and interviews; academic scholarships; and dean’s scholarships. All students holding the President’s, University Honors, and Rural Health Scholarships are required to participate in the Honors Program. Some scholarships are available only to current ISU Honors students. These include the Richard J. Brett Memorial Scholarship for Study Abroad; the Anne Bauer Jackson, M.D., Memorial Honors Book Scholarship; and the Rebecca Johnson Scholarship for Nursing Students. The Honors Program also encourages students to seek special national and international scholarship opportunities.

The Honors Program encourages camaraderie among talented students beyond the classroom walls. Honors housing and informal activities such as parties and field trips offer the chance to foster relationships. Honors students may choose to live in Pickerl Hall, which is reserved for Honors students. The Honors student leaders sponsor events such as field trips, group attendance at plays and concerts, and discussion groups; in association with Pickerl Hall, it arranges many social events and service projects. Honors students are also encouraged to participate in honorary societies, cross-cultural experiences, and service-learning opportunities. Honors students in their third year and beyond may opt to live in the Honors community in 500 Wabash.

These and other advantages of the University Honors Program combine to both challenge and to recognize students who are highly motivated and academically outstanding.

Honors Conversion

Students may earn Honors credit by special arrangement with the professor and the Director of Honors through Honors Conversion. This mechanism allows students to develop a program of study that meets their individual educational goals. When courses are taken for Honors credit using this option, the Honors designation is added to the course title on a student’s permanent record. The Honors transcript designation indicates the student had a special experience in the course and took the initiative to develop an individual program. Students who want to exercise the Honors Conversion option should refer to the program Web site or see the executive director of Honors for details.


The University Honors Program is open to first-year students who, by reason of high grade point average (3.7 or higher on 4.0 scale), test scores (1100 or higher SAT verbal and math, 1170 or higher SAT evidence-based reading and writing and math; 24 ACT composite), or high school graduation rank (top ten percent of graduating class), have demonstrated outstanding academic aptitude and achievement. Students transferring to or already enrolled at Indiana State who have demonstrated superior scholastic ability are also eligible. All students who believe their academic work merits consideration for entrance into the University Honors Program should contact the executive director of Honors.

The University Honors curriculum features a core of classes that immerses students in the great ideas and works of human civilization and equips them with the tools to think critically, analytically, and with the ability to integrate and synthesize across disciplines and concepts. Students culminate their academic development in Honors with an Honors thesis.

In addition to completing the Honors core, students specialize in Honors through one of three elective concentrations designed to allow more substantial exposure and experience in sub-areas that are aligned with the program’s mission. In each case, the Honors core is intended to provide the tools, rigor, and context (analytical, seminar framework, and interdisciplinary understanding) to frame the elective path that follows. The Honors senior seminar/thesis is intended to challenge students to conduct a research project that integrates the strands of expertise developed through the Honors core, minor, and their major program.

In order to complete the Honors Program, students must maintain a 3.25 cumulative grade point average, maintain a 3.0 grade point average in the Honors Program; and complete the Honors core, including the Honors thesis; and one of the three elective concentrations below. 

Common Core (12 credits)





NOTE: Students who complete the University Honors Program curriculum have satisfied the following Foundational Studies requirements:

  • Social and Behavioral Science
  • Literary Studies
  • Fine and Performing Arts
  • Ethics and Social Responsibility
  • Upper Division, Integrative Electives

Elective Concentrations (students must complete one of the following):

CONCENTRATION ONE: Leadership and Civic Engagement (19-24 credits, credits required vary according to certification or minor)

In order to complete the leadership and civic engagement concentration, students must earn:

Nonprofit Leadership Minor   


Civic Leadership Minor  

CONCENTRATION TWO: Global Perspectives (18-25 credits)

The global perspectives concentration is designed to allow students to better immerse themselves in other cultures by completing a language minor or strengthening their global perspective through a structured multidisciplinary experience. Study abroad is an essential and integral component of the global perspectives concentration.

To earn the global perspectives concentration, students must complete the following:

International Studies Minor  


Language Studies Minor  

Students enrolled in the global perspectives concentration must take a study abroad experience, which may be counted as elective credit toward the international studies or language studies minor.

CONCENTRATION THREE: Honors in the Major and/or Foundational Studies (18 credits)

Concentration three allows students to embrace more challenging experiences in their major and the Foundational Studies Program by completing department classes designated as Honors sections or converting 300/400 level classes for Honors credit. Honors Conversion entails a contract between an individual student, an instructor, and the Honors Program to determine a suitable enhancement to course content that justifies Honors credit for that class. For example, a student enrolled in ENG 339, Women’s Poetry, might convert that class to an Honors ENG 339 through the addition of an assignment(s) or project(s) that raises the level of challenge of the course.

To complete Concentration Three, students must earn 18 credits of Honors through course combinations from any of the following categories.

Note: Students may satisfy this requirement with courses from any one, two, or all three categories, according to their preferences, needs, and advisement):

Foundational Studies: Honors PSY 101 and other Foundational Studies courses designated as or converted to Honors courses.

Major/minor courses: Courses designated as or converted to Honors courses in the major or minor.

Study Abroad: Courses taken through a study abroad program approved by the Honors Program.

Programs designate which classes are scheduled for, and earn, Honors credit in a respective major, in consultation with the executive director of the Honors Program and the University Honors Program Advisory Committee.