2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
    Jul 16, 2024  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived]

Honors College

Dean: Dr. Gregory Bierly
Program Office: Pickerl Hall 110

The Honors College is an academic unit offering classes and experiences designed to enrich students’ education. As members of this college, students participate in a core of small and powerful classes, taught by faculty selected for their expertise and devotion to academic excellence. The Honors College dean, staff, and faculty work closely with each student to design a program of study that enhances the student’s academic major and provides the best possible preparation for professional development and advanced study. Benefits of being an Honors student are many, and include a dynamic classroom environment; a vibrant community of peers; supportive faculty mentors; interdisciplinary courses that feature 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 Honors College is to provide a supportive and stimulating environment for high-achieving students. This academic community features interdisciplinary courses taught by dedicated faculty and co-curricular experiences at ISU and beyond, including opportunities for research, leadership, community engagement, and study abroad. This mission is accomplished by:

  • Challenging and supporting Honors students by exposing them to innovative approaches and diverse perspectives in order to provide them the skills and confidence to confront complex multi-disciplinary issues;
  • Facilitating intellectual engagement and the 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 that expand awareness and deepen understanding of the world.

The long-term vision of the Honors College 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 College Opportunities

Each semester all Honors students are encouraged to meet individually with the Honors dean or director to plan their schedules and discuss their academic programs. 

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 College. Some scholarships are available only to current ISU Honors students, and the Honors College also encourages students to seek special national and international scholarship opportunities.

The Honors College encourages community among talented students beyond the classroom walls. Honors housing and informal activities such as field trips and social events offer the chance to foster relationships. Honors students may choose to live in Pickerl Hall, Burford Hall, or 500 Wabash, which are reserved or have floors designated for Honors students. The student-led Honors Council organizes events such as field trips, group attendance at plays and concerts, and discussion groups; in association with the Honors residential communities, 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.

These and other advantages of the Honors College 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 dean 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 dean of Honors for details.


The Honors College is open to first-year students who, by reason of high grade point average (3.7 or higher on 4.0 scale), test scores (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.

The 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 college’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 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 graduate from the Honors College, students must hold a 3.25 overall cumulative grade point average, a 3.0 grade point average in the Honors curriculum; and complete the Honors core, including the Honors thesis; and one of the three elective concentrations below, at the time of graduation.

Common Core (12 credits)





NOTE: Students who complete the Honors College 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 Elective
  • High Impact Practice

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

CONCENTRATION ONE: Leadership and Civic Engagement (24-31 credits, credits required vary according to minor)

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

Nonprofit Leadership Minor   


Civic Leadership Minor  

CONCENTRATION TWO: Global Perspectives (21-25 credits, credits required vary according to minor)

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 classes for Honors credit. Honors Conversion entails a contract between an individual student, an instructor, and the Honors College 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 university.

Programs designate which classes are scheduled for, and earn, Honors credit in a respective major, in consultation with the dean of Honors.