Honors College Policies

Op3.24 Honors College Policies


  1. Membership is offered to all presidential and governors scholars and other students who have at least an ACT of 27 (or a SAT of 1220 or higher) and who have graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school class or have a high school GPA of 3.90 or higher. Other students may apply for membership no later than the first semester of the sophomore year. To maintain membership a student must have a 3.25 cumulative grade point average, and should also carry a full-time load of at least 12 semester hours per semester. The Director will review eligibility at the end of each semester. Members should normally carry no more than two honors classes in any one semester, and must take at least one honors class in each regular semester until they have completed the general honors requirements. Students who complete the general honors requirements maintain membership in the program by having at least a 3.25 cumulative grade point average at Missouri State, whether or not they pursue departmental honors.
  2. Students (including transfer students) may apply to the Honors College for admission no later than the first semester of their sophomore year. Application must be made through the Honors College office and will include an essay describing the student’s academic and vocational goals and how the student perceives the Honors College as facilitating the attainment of those goals. An interview will be required. Such students will be advised on an individual basis as to requirements and make-up courses in order to qualify for college membership and graduation in the Honors College.  Late entering students will be required to follow a program whose rigor is equivalent to that required of students who enter as freshmen. Students transferring from institutions in which they enrolled in an honors program may contact the Director for individual advice on entering the Honors College at Missouri State.
  3. First semester freshmen who do not achieve the required grade point average of 3.25 will be given until the end of that academic year to achieve that level, provided it is mathematically possible. Students who remove themselves from the college due to low GPA may apply for readmission when they have raised their grades to the required level. Students who remove themselves from the college a second time due to low GPA are not eligible for readmission.

The Program

  1. Advanced Placement credit, International Baccalaureate credit, and “CLEP” credits are available in some departments of the University. These will not carry honors designation.
  2. Honors courses, sections, and components may not be taken on a Pass/Not Pass basis. The senior honors project, however, might be taken on a Pass/Not Pass basis upon recommendation of the department and approval of the Director of the Honors College.
  3. Students are required to complete that part of the honors college designated “General Honors” and to maintain a cumulative 3.25 GPA at Missouri State. In addition, they may elect to complete “Departmental Honors.” Descriptions of general honors and departmental honors follow.
  4. General Honors
    1. Freshman Honors Seminar: All students entering the Honors College must take the Freshman Honors Seminar. This is a one-semester-hour seminar offered every fall semester. It is designed to introduce the honors student to the program and to faculty who frequently work with the honors students. This course introduces the honors student to the University through a seminar revolving around a topic of intellectual significance. The student uses the research, faculty, and student resources of the University as a complement to the seminar discussions.
    2. General Honors Curriculum: During their first five semesters in the program, all honors students are required to schedule at least five honors courses in addition to the Freshman Honors Seminar. At least four of the five must come from the University’s General Education offerings. To ensure breadth, each student must take at least four different prefixes among the general honors offerings. In addition, prior to graduation, students must take one three-hour course that fulfills a public affairs requirement as defined below, item #3. Normally, students should schedule at least one honors course each semester.
    3. To fulfill the public affairs three-hour requirement Honors College students can choose from the following options:
      • An approved education abroad course of at least 3 hours credit
      • An approved service-learning course of at least 3 hours credit
      • An approved research project that relates to Public Affairs of at least 3 hours credit to be directed by a faculty member
      • An approved honors component course of at least 3 hours credit in the student's major that relates to Public Affairs
      • An approved honors course of at least 3 hours which has content related to Public Affairs
    4. Students who are not members of the Honors College may be allowed to enroll in honors courses provided they have both a 3.25 cumulative GPA and permission of the Director.
    5. Honors College students who complete the Freshman Honors Seminar, the general honors curriculum, and who maintain the 3.25 GPA will qualify for graduation in the Honors College after fulfilling all other University requirements. Their transcripts and diplomas will read “Bachelor of _______ (with possible grade point honors such as cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude) in the Honors College.”
  5. Departmental Honors
    1. Departmental Honors Offerings: Each department that wishes to participate in Departmental Honors must require as part of its degree that honors students take at least 12 hours of departmental honors offerings, which include the senior project. Each departmental offering, once approved by the Director, will be designated as an honors course on the student's transcript. These offerings may take the following forms:
      • Honors sections: These are special sections of existing courses that are open primarily to honors students. The enrollment in these courses is usually limited. Departments must nominate sections to the Director for approval.
      • Honors components: In certain departments it may not be practical to offer a separate honors section or honors course due to low demand. In such cases an “honors component” of one semester hour can, with the approval of the Director, be added to a regular course or section to recognize honors work (e.g., ART 372, 3 semester hours, becomes ART 372, 4 semester hours). Such components must be developed in writing by the student in consultation with the faculty member and approved by the department head before being sent to the Director of the Honors College for final approval.
      • Honors senior project: An existing upper level course in the major that lends itself to a senior project (e.g., senior seminars, research seminars).
    2. Senior Project: This may carry 3-9 semester hours of credit. The content of the project is determined by the honors student in consultation with a faculty member serving as project advisor, and is approved by the department head and the Director of the Honors College. This project can be started no earlier than the first semester of the junior year and must be completed before graduation. The Honors College may provide students the opportunity to publish or otherwise present their projects. The project advisor will normally be from the student’s major, and will serve to advise the student in all aspects of the project.  The project is, however, to be based on the student’s own ideas and work.

      Once the project topic is agreed upon, the student must write a typed proposal to be approved by the project advisor and the department head who will certify to the Director that the project has been so approved. The student may apply for a grant of up to $200 from the Honors Committee. This grant will be administered by the Director and used to support the student’s project. Any equipment purchased with this money will remain with the University.

      The completed project and a separate abstract will be approved by the project advisor and the department head. The advisor will send the approved abstract, the project and a completed project approval form to the Director.

    3. Diplomas and transcripts of those students who complete both general honors and departmental honors will read “Bachelor of _______ (with possible grade point honors) in the Honors College with Distinction in (major).”
  6. Course criteria: Honors courses, sections and components must have the following characteristics when appropriate to the discipline:
    1. Reading intensive, including books and journals that reflect recent scholarship.
    2. Writing intensive, including writing assignments that are evaluated not only on content, but also on grammar and style. Research projects that include critical analysis in such courses are encouraged.
    3. Professorial instruction. Departments should nominate instructors for honors courses, sections and components who are scholars and excellent teachers. Instructors should be committed to the concept of excellence in education. Substitutions of faculty assignments may be made only with the advice and consent of the Director of the Honors College.
    4. Tests. These should require synthesis and critical evaluation in written or oral form of course and library material. In the fine and performing arts this could take the form of an original contribution to the art concerned.
    5. Faculty who teach honors courses, sections and components should not expect a normal distribution of grades, nor should they use norm-referenced grading.