2007-2008 Honors Program (HON)

Program Goals | Admission Criteria | Benefits | Participation in Honors Courses by Non-Honors Students | Criteria for Remaining in the Honors Program | LE Certificate | Honors Degree Requirements | Directed Studies | Course Descriptions

Director: Richard Badenhausen

Program Description

The Honors Program provides students who are academically and intellectually prepared with the opportunity to satisfy their college-wide Liberal Education course requirements in an alternative and unique manner. By completing a 7-course sequence of interdisciplinary, team-taught Honors courses, students earn an Honors certificate while satisfying those requirements. Moreover, by understanding their historical, scientific, and intellectual heritage, Honors students are prepared to be articulate and responsible members of society and defenders of their own ideas. Students may also continue their study in the program and receive an Honors degree.

Program Goals

  • Students will develop confidence in their abilities to understand and discuss complex ideas and texts, as well as to engage in problem solving and research design.
  • Students will strengthen their written and oral communication skills.
  • Students will master an ability to work effectively in groups of diverse people.
  • Students will make connections between disciplines.
  • Students will learn to apply new knowledge and skills in meaningful ways that will help them succeed in their professional and personal lives following college.
  • Students will enjoy a range of supplemental experiences of an academic and social nature with similarly motivated and talented students.

Admission Criteria

Students expressing a desire to enroll in the Honors Program will be ranked according to the following criteria: ACT scores, high school GPA, and the quality of a written statement. The top thirty-five students will be invited to enroll in Honors courses. If accepted students decline the offer, the invitation process will continue until a class of thirty-five students is formed. Although a typical incoming Honors student has had a 3.80 GPA and a 29.5 Composite ACT score, the range of scores is quite broad. Students who fall near or above these standards and who sincerely wish to be in the program are encouraged to secure an application from the Honors Program or Westminster’s START Center. Questions concerning the application process should be directed to the director of the Honors Program.

Benefits of Participating in the Honors Program

  • Academic distinction: the Honors designation on the student’s transcript shows graduate schools and employers that he or she has achieved academic success in rigorous classes and worked with some of the college’s finest teachers and students. The challenging curriculum also allows students to grow as thinkers, writers, and speakers.
  • Small class size: restricted enrollment ensures classes have an intimate, seminar-style feel and allows for close student-professor interactions and mentoring—an important benefit when students require personal and informed letters of recommendation for jobs and graduate school.
  • Excellent faculty: professors teach Honors classes by choice and are some of the college’s most committed and energetic instructors. Two professors in every Honors seminar make for a vibrant learning environment.
  • Enhanced support, advising, and mentoring: Honors students attend an early, supplemental day of orientation activities to help ease the transition to college life. They also have the Honors director assigned to them as an advisor in addition to their major advisor. Finally, incoming Honors students are grouped with peer mentors—upper-class Honors students with extensive experience in the program—who can help guide them during their first year at college.
  • Interdisciplinary approaches: the interdisciplinary nature of Honors seminars brings students and teachers from different departments together, ensuring an exciting class atmosphere and preparing students for the interdisciplinary approach of most top graduate programs and professional fields.
  • Research opportunities: the seminar-style approach to learning, the emphasis on writing and research in classes, and the program support of outside research allow students to investigate their academic interests more fully and create opportunities for the presentation or publishing of their work. The program also awards three independent summer research grants annually to Honors students.
  • Sense of community: Honors students take core classes together and interact with Honors faculty and students in other academic and social events, which helps establish a sense of belonging to the college community. The Honors program is housed in Nunemaker Place. Built in 1977, this architecturally striking building provides Honors students and faculty with a variety of distinctive spaces, including a resource/scholarship library, the office of the Honors director, meeting areas, reading and study spaces, a lounge in which students socialize, and computer work stations. The building also has its own wireless capabilities and large-screen presentation facilities. Located next to beautiful Emigration Creek, Nunemaker opens out onto a tree-lined patio where students and faculty can eat lunch, read, and relax.
  • Access to supplementary resources: For example, the Honors Program listserv; the “Pizza with Profs” lecture series; the Honors Program resource library; the Honors Program newsletter; special enriched learning experiences such as attendance at cultural events and other field study; funding to attend and give papers at academic conferences; leadership training opportunities like the student Honors Council; special recognition opportunities like the Honors seminar book awards; and opportunities to participate in special meetings with distinguished visiting scholars and lecturers.

Participation in Honors Courses by Non-Honors Program Students

Since a number of high-achieving, upper-class Westminster College students may not have applied to the Honors Program as incoming freshmen but may still wish to participate in some of its classes, any undergraduate in good standing with a 3.5 GPA or higher is eligible to enroll in 300 and 400 level Honors seminars. The Honors Program is an active part of the larger college community and welcomes the energy, intellect, and diversity that students from different disciplines across the campus bring to Honors. Non-Honors Program students enrolling in Honors seminars should check with their program chairs, since these classes will sometimes fulfill certain requirements in a student’s own major. Participation in 200-level Honors seminars is restricted to students in the Honors Program.

Criteria for Remaining in the Honors Program

  1. 3.25 GPA overall, and a 3.0 GPA overall in Honors courses.
  2. If an Honors student falls below these GPA minimums, a probationary semester will be used to allow the student to return to the minimum GPA standards for continued participation.

Honors Liberal Education Certificate Requirements

Students who complete seven courses in the Honors LE sequence will be awarded a special certificate recognizing this achievement (contingent on Westminster graduation). No more than one of these courses may be taken credit/no credit.

A complete description of the equivalencies between LE Honors courses and the standard LE courses is listed below.

Liberal Education Skills Requirements

Honors Course Equivalents

Learning Community

HON 201 Humanities I



Writing and other Communication Skills

Basic English Composition

HON 201-202 Humanities I and II

Information Literacy

HON 201-202 Humanities I and II

SPCH 111 Public Presentations HON 201-202 Humanities I and II



Courses with strong emphasis on critical, analytical, and integrative thinking in historical, literary, and philosophical contexts.

History HON 201-202 Humanities I and II
Literature HON 201-202 Humanities I and II


HON 201-202 Humanities I and II




Courses with strong emphasis on creative and reflective capacities.

Arts Survey

HON 212 The Arts in Performance

Creative Arts

HON 212 The Arts in Performance




Courses with strong emphasis on critical, analytical, and integrative thinking in mathematical and scientific contexts.

Mathematics: No Honors Course

MATH 120 Quantitative Reasoning


MATH 141 College Algebra


MATH 142 Trigonometry


MATH 150 Elementary Statistics


MATH 201 Calculus I


Physical Sciences

HON 221 History and Philosophy of Science

Life Sciences HON 222 Science, Power, and Diversity

Social Sciences


Courses with strong emphasis on global consciousness, social responsibility, and ethical awareness in a social science context.

Social Sciences I HON 211 Political Economy of Confict
Social Sciences II HON 231 Human Culture and Behavior

Living Arts


Courses with a strong emphasis on real world, life enhancing knowledge.

Living Arts HON 201 Humanities I

Cultural Diversity


Courses that emphasize cultural diversity and include a strong emphasis on global consciousness, social responsibility, and ethical awareness.

Cultural Diversity

HON 222 Science, Power, and Diversity

Note: While the Honors seminars satisfy Liberal Education requirements, Honors seminars do not satisfy major/minor requirements or prerequisites except in the following cases. Honors students who major or minor in Philosophy after completing HON 201 and HON 202 will have satisfied the PHIL 100 and PHIL 102 requirements for the Philosophy major and minor. Honors students who major or minor in Political Science after completing HON 211 will have satisfied the PLSC 101 requirement. Honors students who complete HON 201 and HON 202 will have satisfied the ENGL 220 requirement for the minor and/or will have satisfied the ENGL 220 prerequisite requirement for placement purposes into English classes beyond ENGL 220.

Honors Degree Requirements

Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.00 in all Honors coursework, including those courses listed below for the Honors degree, and a minimum GPA of 3.25. In addition, the following requirements must be satisfied in order to be awarded the Honors Degree (in the major) at graduation:

Requirement Description

Credit Hours


Foreign Language Requirement


Honors Degree students must complete 4 semesters of college-level instruction in a single foreign language or the equivalent. The requirement can be satisfied by coursework or proof of proficiency. For example, an incoming student who begins in Spanish III and successfully completes that course and Spanish IV will have satisfied the requirement.

For those Honors students who have 12 hours CLEP or proficiency exam credit in a single language, they may satisfy the remaining 4-hour requirement in one of the following ways:

a) take 4 hours of coursework in a different language;
b) take 4 hours of study abroad credit in a non-English speaking foreign country, of the language of proficiency or some other language; or
c) take 4 hours of a foreign language literature in translation course, or the language of proficiency or some other language.

Students taking coursework in a foreign language in which Westminster does not offer 4 semesters may complete the requirement with coursework in an additional foreign language.

All coursework that meets this requirement must be taken for a letter grade.



Lower Division Courses


HON 201 Humanities I
HON 202 Humanities II
HON 211 Political Economy of Conflict
HON 212 The Arts in Performance
HON 221 History and Philosophy of Science
HON 222 Science, Power, and Diversity
HON 231 Human Culture and Behavior

To receive an Honors degree, no more than one of these courses may be taken credit/no credit.



Upper Division Courses


Completion of 6 hours of coursework in Honors 300 or 400 seminars. May not be taken credit/no credit.


Senior Project/Thesis


Completion of a senior project in the student’s major for a minimum of 3 credit hours. Students whose majors do not accommodate a senior project may enroll in HON 402. The nature of this project will be determined in conjunction with the Director of Honors and the student’s major advisor. All students completing a thesis or senior project for the Honors Degree must fill out the thesis topic approval and completion forms, which are available in the Honors office, and present their completed work in a public setting such as a regional academic conference, Westminster’s undergraduate research fair, or some equivalent venue.



Please contact the Director of the Honors Program for more detailed information concerning the requirements for the Honors Degree.

Directed Studies in Honors

Students may sometimes wish to satisfy some of their Honors hours by enrolling in a directed study project under HON 401. This allows a student to design, in conjunction with a faculty member, an independent project that adopts an interdisciplinary approach to materials that are not covered in another Honors class. Directed study forms are available in the office of the registrar or the individual college offices. The course should be designed with the same care and thoroughness as standard Honors courses and the directed study form should, therefore, contain a comprehensive reading list of primary and secondary sources, a series of questions the student will address, a clear explanation of assignments, and the method of assessment.

Generally, students wishing to apply directed study hours toward their 6-hour Honors Degree requirement should not satisfy more than 3 hours of coursework this way during the standard semester or more than 2 hours of coursework if done in conjunction with a May term class or trip. Students should consult the Honors director for assistance in designing directed study projects.