The Honors College

http://www.uvm.edu/honorscollege

The Honors College (HC) offers an intensely focused, academically challenging environment for some of the university’s most outstanding undergraduate students. The Honors College involves a broad cross-section of the university community, existing not as a cloistered academic enclave but as a vital part of that larger community. The Honors College is above all a community of scholars — students and faculty — committed to the ideals of excellence in scholarship, academic rigor, and intellectual inquiry and engagement.

Admission to the Honors College

Admission to the Honors College is based on prior academic performance and is gained through one of two avenues. First-year students may be invited to the HC based on the strength of their application to the university; no additional application is required. Approximately 200 first-year students comprise each year’s class. Because the college exists to recognize and encourage academic excellence, it also welcomes applications for admission from sophomores who were not in the HC in their first year, but were among the top performers as first-year students at UVM. Sophomore admission requires an application form, a 3.40 grade-point average at the end of the first year, a letter of recommendation from a UVM faculty member, and a brief essay. Over 100 sophomores are admitted annually. Students transferring into their first or second year at UVM should contact the Honors College office to express their interest.

Curriculum

Honors College students have “dual citizenship": they are members of both the HC and one of the seven undergraduate degree granting schools and colleges. The Honors College supplements and enriches degree offerings with seminars that broaden intellectual horizons and stimulate discussion, debate, writing, research and reflection. Honors College courses are taught by distinguished faculty drawn from the range of academic disciplines at UVM. Enrollment in seminars for first-year and sophomore students is limited to Honors College students. HC courses often count towards fulfilling degree requirements. Students who complete all Honors College curricular requirements, in addition to the degree requirements of their home school or college, graduate as Honors College Scholars.

The First-Year Seminars

First-year Honors College students take a two-course sequence, HCOL 085 (taught in the fall), and HCOL 086 (taught in the spring). The fall semester seminar provides a common experience for all first-year students in the Honors College. This course examines knowledge acquisition from the perspective of different disciplines through reading and discussion of classic works and contemporary writings. It is taught in small seminars (about 20 students in each section) intended to promote intellectual dialogue. The seminar, which fulfills the university's first-year writing requirement, encourages students to develop their reasoning and sharpen their focus through their writing. The course is supplemented by plenary lectures by professionals, visiting faculty and university faculty; the entire university community is invited to these lectures. The spring semester, a follow-up to the fall class, offers a choice of seminars that build on the skills and knowledge developed during the fall semester. Many spring seminars are on the theme of diversity, allowing students to progress toward completing the university's diversity requirements.

Sophomore Seminars

Sophomores take two three-credit seminars, one in the fall and one in the spring, selected from an extensive slate of offerings created for HC students by faculty in schools and colleges university-wide. Topics vary from year to year. Unlike the first year curriculum, the fall and spring sophomore seminars are not sequential.

Junior and Senior Year

Typically, in the junior year, students take a minimum of three credits of course work in their home school or college that prepares them for their senior year Honors thesis project. Senior students complete a six-credit research thesis or senior project approved by their home school or college. Requirements for both years vary across the schools and colleges.

Academic Standards

A cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 3.20 is required for first year and sophomore students to remain in good standing in the Honors College. First-year and sophomore students whose cumulative GPA falls below 3.20 will be given one semester to raise it to at least a 3.2 Failure to do so will make them subject to dismissal from the HC. Beyond the sophomore year, a cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of 3.40 is required for all Honors College students at the time of thesis proposal in their home college. If a student does not have a cumulative GPA of 3.40 at the time they submit their thesis proposal, they will be subject to dismissal from the Honors College.  The student must maintain a GPA of 3.40 or higher to graduate as an Honors College Scholar.

Students are subject to dismissal from the Honors College if they receive grades of C- or below for more than eight credits of coursework, or if they fail an Honors College seminar, or if they are not making satisfactory progress toward the completion of Honors College requirements. Students who fall below a 3.4 in their senior year will be subject to dismissal from the Honors College. The Dean may take personal considerations into account prior to dismissal for low achievement. Students with a serious academic integrity offense, determined by standard university procedures, will be subject to dismissal from the Honors College.

Residential Component

The Honors College is housed in a residential complex at University Heights. This beautiful facility provides housing for HC students, as well as permanent office space for the HC administration and staff. In addition, the complex includes classroom space, lounges, and meeting spaces for the Honors College. Students are strongly encouraged to live in the Honors College residence.

Co-Curricular Activities

All UVM faculty and students and the general public are invited to participate in frequent Honors College events such as lectures and symposia presented by faculty, students, and distinguished visiting scholars and artists.

Fellowship and Undergraduate Research Support

The Honors College provides special advising for students throughout UVM, not just the Honors College, in two areas. The Office of Undergraduate Research advises undergraduates interested in pursuing research under the mentorship of a faculty member by maintaining a database of research opportunities and administering funding programs. The Office of Fellowships Advising, also housed in the Honors College, provides mentoring for students applying for nationally competitive fellowships and scholarships (e.g., Fulbright, Truman, Udall, Goldwater, and Rhodes).

First YearCredits
FallSpring
HCOL 085 Honors College First Year Sem (Fulfills University FY Writing Requirement and may count toward specific degree requirements in home college/school)3  
HCOL 086 Honors College First Year Sem (may count toward specific degree requirements in home college/school)  3
Year Total: 3 3
 
SophomoreCredits
FallSpring
HCOL 185 Honors College Sophomore Sem (may count toward specific degree requirements in home college/school)3  
HCOL 186 Honors College Sophomore Sem (may count toward specific degree requirements in home college/school)  3
Year Total: 3 3
 
JuniorCredits
FallSpring
1-3 credits related to research and thesis preparation, offered in the home college/school (may be completed either fall or spring)1-3 1-3
Year Total: 1-3 1-3
 
SeniorCredits
FallSpring
A total of six credits of honors thesis must be taken over two semesters. May count toward specific degree requirements.3 3
Year Total: 3 3
 
Total Credits in Sequence: 20-24