Benefits of Being an Honors Student

Academic Distinction

The Honors designation on your transcript shows graduate schools and employers that you have achieved academic success in rigorous courses and within a community of motivated students. The challenging, comprehensive curriculum also allows you to grow as a thinker, writer, and speaker.

At commencement, Honors students are entitled to wear various cords that correspond with their Honors achievement and students who complete the Honors Degree have that designation noted in the graduation program.

Small Class Sizes

Enrollment in Honors courses is restricted to facilitate the interactive, conversational environment. This intimate setting allows for close student-professor interactions and mentoring—an important benefit when you need letters of recommendation for jobs and graduate school.

Excellent Faculty

Honors College faculty are known for their teaching excellence and passion for working with students. In fact, 9 Honors professors have won Westminster's Gore Excellence in Teaching Award, the college's top recognition for faculty.

Enhanced Support, Advising, and Mentoring

As a first-year Honors student, you'll receive specialized advising from trained advisors, meet weekly with your cohort during the fall semester, and attend an early, supplemental day of orientation to help ease the transition to college life. You'll also be grouped with peer mentors—upper-class Honors students with extensive experience in the program—who can help guide you through your first year of college. Support then continues throughout your time in the Honors College through targeted workshops and dedicated advising.

Interdisciplinary Approaches

The interdisciplinary Honors curriculum brings students and 2 faculty from different academic disciplines together to help you practice how to have conversations across differences and to prepare you for the interdisciplinary approach of most top graduate programs and professional fields.

Commitment to Diversity

The Honors College is the only campus unit with a student diversity coordinator and was the first academic unit at Westminster to conduct a comprehensive diversity climate survey. The Honors College is helping lead the national conversation around using inclusive admissions strategies in honors, and the Honors Dean regularly leads national workshops on inclusive models of honors education. Honors students are over-represented on campus in programs such as the Legacy Scholars program and McNair Scholars Program, as well as Honors leadership positions: 80% of the 2019—20 Student Honors Council are students of color, while the president and vice-president of the 2020—21 Student Honors Council are students of color.

Alternative Gen-Ed Experience

The Honors curriculum offers a unique learning experience that goes beyond Westminster's WCore courses. Honors offers an efficient, flexible pathway through gen-ed requirements, so you can fit in double majors, multiple minors, electives, extracurricular activities, intensive research projects, leadership opportunities, and other enhanced academic experiences.

Research Opportunities

The unique approach to learning, the emphasis on writing and research in courses, and the program's support of outside research allows you to more fully investigate your academic interests. Many Honors students have their work published or present their work at national conferences. The Honors College also awards 2 substantial independent summer research grants annually to Honors students and has an Honors Student Research Fund to support presentation of student research at academic conferences.

Sense of Community

Honors students take core courses together and interact with Honors faculty and students through other academic and social events. This interaction helps establish a sense of belonging to the college community. The Honors College is housed in Nunemaker Place, where you’ll find a variety of distinctive study and meeting spaces. Located next to beautiful Emigration Creek, Nunemaker opens out onto a tree-lined patio where you can eat lunch, read, and relax with your fellow Honors students.

Special Study Abroad Opportunity

Westminster’s Honors College is a member of the Principia Consortium, which gives students access to a unique Honors educational experience at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, the fourth oldest English-speaking university in the world.

Access to Supplementary Resources

As an Honors student, you’ll have access to many additional resources for learning, including the Honors College listserv, the Pizza with Profs lecture series, the Honors College newsletter, attendance at cultural events and other field studies, funding to attend and present papers at academic conferences, leadership training opportunities like the Student Honors Council, special recognition opportunities like the Honors Writing Awards, and opportunities to participate in special meetings with distinguished visiting scholars and lecturers.

Fellowship Advising Office

Westminster’s Fellowship Advising Office, which serves the entire student body, is housed in the Honors College, ensuring that Honors students are introduced to a wide range of post-graduate fellowship opportunities like the Rhodes, Fulbright, Marshall, and Truman scholarships.


Being part of a close-knit community in the Honors College has opened doors for me. I developed many close relationships with Honors faculty who became my mentors. Through the Honors College—and my relationship with faculty—I learned about the McNair Scholars Program.

Debbie Samaniego ('17)

Debbie Samaniego, a first-generation student, is no stranger to hard work. She is the middle child of 5 children, and though her brother went to community college, she is the first in her family to earn a 4-year degree. Debbie grew up in Logan, Utah, and chose Westminster because she valued and needed the support and guidance that its small size allows. Her mentor relationships allowed her the opportunity to become a teaching fellow for the Clemente Humanities program and travel to Guatemala for a seminar. Debbie has also attended conferences with Honors faculty, and through the guidance of Mary Jo Hinsdale, applied for and received the prestigious Marshall Fellowship. She is now working towards her PhD in migration studies at the University of Sussex.