Are honors classes extra classes that I take in addition to my regular course load?
No. The honors course work is an integral part of your semester schedule and credits for honors courses are counted toward your graduation requirements. The courses can be General Education courses (GA, GN, GH, GQ, GS, GWS) or electives, or they can satisfy requirements in your major, if appropriate. Think of it as simply turning one of your regular courses into an honors course.
How many honors courses are required?
Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree must take 21 units of honors courses, while students pursuing an associate degree must take 9 units of honors courses. Students typically fulfill this requirement by taking one full-credit honors course every semester (3 or 4 credits). Students often take more than this minimum requirement. Independent study courses can be designed for 1, 2, or 3 credits.
How do I earn honors credit?
There are three ways to earn honors credit:
- You may take a course specifically designated as an honors course.
- You may take an "honors option" in a regular course, which means modifying the course in consultation with the professor to accommodate a more in-depth experience. This doesn't mean adding quantity; rather, it means offering a more intensive, often research-oriented experience at an appropriate level. An honors option in a 100-level course will not require you to write a 400-level paper. The assignment or assignment sequence will be tailored within the established framework of the course to provide a more in-depth engagement with the subject.
- You may work on your own or with another student in an honors independent study course, which is individually designed by the student(s) and professor around the particular research interests of the individuals involved. All independent study courses must be approved by the honors coordinator and by the director of academic affairs.
Can I enroll in honors work in any subject?
Essentially, yes. Honors courses are offered in a range of general education subjects each year, so much of your honors work will be in areas outside your major.
Honors options and independent study courses can be completed in any subject, the only restriction is that this honors work must be completed with a faculty member who carries the rank of professor, associate professor, or assistant professor. In some cases, other established faculty members may direct honors coursework with the approval of the Schreyer Honors College. Any coursework that is demonstrably germane to your academic program can be completed for honors credit. However, it's important to first determine if a faculty member is willing to work with you on an honors option/project. Students typically pursue this option once deeper into coursework.
When I checked the registration website, the honors courses were listed as full. Does this mean it's too late to take an honors course?
Not necessarily. Registration for honors courses is typically controlled, which means that students need specific permission in order to enroll in the course, rather than simply registering via the Web as they would for regular courses. This mechanism ensures that honors students have access to the limited number of spaces in an honors course. (Note: When scheduling, searches in LionPATH must be set to include courses that are full.)
If you need information about the availability of space in an honors course, or if you have questions about the program, please contact Honors Program coordinators. However, please note that even if space is available, you won't be able to register for an honors course on your own. You must have approval to add the course to your schedule.
What requirements must be met to remain in the Honors Program?
Honors students must maintain a grade-point average (GPA) of 3.3 or higher to remain in the Honors Program. If your cumulative GPA falls below 3.3 during a semester, you may remain in the Honors Program for one additional semester on provisional status. If your cumulative GPA returns to 3.3, you'll be renewed to full status in the program for the following semester. In addition, you must continue to work towards earning the minimum number of required honors credits.
Is the Penn State Shenango Honors Program related to the Schreyer Honors College?
The programs are related, but they're not the same. The Schreyer Honors College is the parent organization of the campus program. The honors coordinator is the Schreyer Honors College administrator at Shenango and serves as the honors adviser to Schreyer Scholars on campus. The honors coordinator also approves Shenango campus courses and programs related to the Schreyer Honors College. However, the two are separate programs.
If you're interested in becoming a Schreyer Scholar, please consult with Honors Program coordinators regarding all aspects of the admission procedure for the Schreyer Honors College.
May I join the Honors Program at any time? If I'm accepted into the program, may I leave if I choose?
You may apply to join the Honors Program during the honors admissions cycle, which is announced each semester. Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree are expected to have at least 3 semesters of study remaining. Students pursuing an associate degree must have at least 2 semesters of study remaining. Please see more details about the application process under the Honors Requirements page.
Once you're accepted into the Honors Program, your decision to stay is voluntary. You may leave the program at any time for any reason, although you must notify the honors coordinator of your intention to do so. In addition, you must make appropriate arrangements with any professor(s) with whom you're pursuing honors coursework. You may remain in an honors course if you're already enrolled, but if you're dropping an honors option in a regular course you must make specific arrangements with the professor to adjust any assignment sequence that will be modified. An honors independent study can be dropped or modified as needed in consultation with the professor.