Jeffrey D. Weidenhamer, Director, Trustees’ Distinguished Professor of Chemistry
Kimberly Pool, Coordinator
The mission of the Honors Program is to offer academically talented undergraduate students cross- disciplinary experiences, participation in an intellectual community devoted to discussion and dialogue, and special projects and courses that challenge the mind. The cornerstone of the Honors Program is the belief that intellectual stimulation and camaraderie among Honors students give them a more complete college experience.
To satisfy this mission, Honors freshmen enroll in the First Year Honors Seminar during the fall semester, in which they are introduced to the Honors Program and Ashland University while learning how to think critically and communicate clearly, thereby helping with their transition from high school to college. Honors students also have the opportunity to enroll in Honors sections of the core curriculum, capped at 20 students per section and taught by some of the best professors at Ashland University. The Honors Interdisciplinary Seminar will continue to develop the Honors students' critical thinking and communication skills, building upon their involvement with previous Honors courses and helping them prepare for the rigors of the Honors Capstone Project. The pinnacle of the Honors experience is the Honors Capstone Project during which a student works closely with a faculty mentor in his or her major for at least two semesters to develop an original composition which is orally defended during the final semester of the project.
Requirements for Admission to the Honors Program
Entering first year students generally have a high school GPA of 3.5 or above, and an ACT of 27 or above or SAT (critical reading and math) of 1280 or above. First year students must complete an application form and are interviewed by the Director of the Honors Program.
Students who wish to participate in the Honors Program and do not meet the GPA or test score guidelines above are especially encouraged to request an interview. Students who are admitted to the Honors Program will receive notification typically within two weeks of completing their applications.
AU students and transfer students who wish to apply for admission to the Honors Program must have an overall university GPA of 3.5, complete an application form, provide a letter of recommendation from a faculty member, and meet with the Honors Director for an interview. AU students and transfer students accepted into the Honors Program after the 1st semester of their freshmen year are not required to complete the First Year Honors Seminar.
Honors core courses are offered in 8 areas of the core curriculum – math/logic, religion, communication, natural sciences, humanities, aesthetics, historical reasoning and social sciences. Students who begin in the Honors Program having already completed 4 of these 8 core requirements will only be required to complete Honors designated core courses in three different areas. Students who begin in the Honors Program having already completed 6 of these 8 core requirements will only be required to complete Honors designated core courses in two different areas. In both cases, completing an Honors designated core course in an additional area will satisfy the Honors Elective.
In order to remain in the Honors Program, students must maintain an overall GPA at AU of at least 3.3 during their freshman year, 3.4 during their sophomore year, and 3.5 during their junior and senior years. If the GPA drops below this standard, the student will be placed on probationary status if he or she can meet the standard by the end of the subsequent semester; otherwise, the student will be dismissed from the Honors Program. A student on probationary status who does not raise his or her cumulative GPA to meet the standard by the end of the subsequent semester will be dismissed from the Honors Program. Students who are dismissed from the Honors Program may reapply to the Honors Program if they raise their overall GPA to a 3.5. Students must meet the 3.5 standard at the time of graduation.
To remain a member of the Honors Program, it is recommended that an Honors student complete one Honors Core course by the end of his/her first year in the Honors Program, three Honors Core courses by the end of his/her second year in the Honors Program, enroll in Honors 310 during his/her junior year, and work on the Honors Capstone Project during his/her senior year. Additionally, Honors students are required to attend 4 events each year–the Honors Retreat, the Fall Honors Lecture, the Spring Honors Lecture, and the Academic Honors Convocation. Failure to attend these events may result in dismissal from the Honors Program.
Recognition and Achievement Award
The academic transcript of each Honors graduate bears an acknowledgment of work completed in the Honors Program. The Howard O. Rowe Faculty Honors Scholarship is awarded annually to the graduating student whose Honors Capstone Project is considered to be the best among his or her peers.
For more information, call or visit the Academic Honors Program office in 103 Clayton Hall (x5260), or visit the website.
Honors Curricular Information
Honors Capstone Project
The Honors Capstone Project will officially begin in the Honors student's next to last semester, although it may start earlier if the student, faculty mentor, and Honors Director agree. The Honors Capstone Project is typically completed in two semesters as two sections of Independent Study 498 in the student's major, and thus the student must complete an Independent Study Request form from the Office of Record’s and Registration prior to registration. For more information, see the Independent Study Program section of the catalog. A written prospectus is required of all Honors students by the conclusion of HON 310, and this prospectus (approved by the faculty mentor and the Honors Director) should serve as a guide to the Capstone Project. The Honors Capstone Project will typically be completed in the Honors student's final semester, will be reviewed and approved by the faculty mentor, Honors Director, and an additional faculty reviewer of an appropriate academic department, and will be publicly presented to the Ashland University community. The Honors Capstone Project Handbook distributed in HON 310 should be consulted for the appropriate deadlines.
Honors students have five options for completing the Honors Elective: taking a 2nd HON 390, taking an Honors designated core course in a 5th area, completing two Honors Contract Courses, completing three HON 201: Honors Community Engagement Projects or completing an Honors Study Abroad experience. The latter three options are described in more detail below.
Honors Contract Course
To fulfill the Honors elective requirement, an Honors student may add-on one credit to two upper level courses within his or her major by completing additional work beyond the normal requirements and expectations of the courses. The additional work should focus on inquiry, discovery, and critical thinking, important skills the student will need as he or she works on the Honors Capstone Project.
An Honors student wishing to enroll in an Honors Contract course must fill out a contract, in consultation with the course instructor describing in detail the additional work or project that will be tied to the academic content of the course. This contract available on the Honors Program website must be signed by the student and the course instructor, and should be submitted to the Honors Program Director when the student registers for classes. The contract must be submitted by no later than the end of the 1st week of classes.
The Honors portion of an Honors Contract course will be evaluated satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U) by the course instructor. The course to which the Honors Contract is attached will be graded according to the course criteria.
Acknowledgment of Honors Contract courses will be indicated on the student's transcript.
Honors Community Engagement Projects
To fulfill the Honors elective through the community engagement option, an Honors student must complete three HON 201: Honors Community Engagement Projects, with each project involving at least 30 hours of community engagement and a 2-3 page reflection paper. The Honors student must fill out an Honors Community Engagement Contract for each project prior to the enrollment in HON 201 and the beginning of the project. This contract available on the Honors Program website will be reviewed by the Honors Advisory Committee.
Honors Study Abroad Experience
An Honors student participating in a Study Abroad Experience with an academic component related to the Honors Program Mission Statement may submit a petition requesting a waiver of the Honors Elective. This petition available on the Honors Program website must be approved prior to the beginning of the Study Abroad Experience and will be reviewed by the Honors Advisory Committee. At the request of this committee, the Honors Program Director may require a student to complete additional work beyond the normal expectations of the Study Abroad Experience in order to waive the Honors Elective. In particular, Study Abroad Experiences connected directly to Ashland University courses will almost always require a student to complete additional work. The student must submit a Course Substitution and Waiver Form signed by his/her advisor and the Honors Program Director upon completion of the Study Abroad Experience to the Office of Record’s and Registration. No Honors Program academic credit will be awarded for this experience, although the student may receive academic credit from the university.
Honors designated core courses will be capped at 20 students, with Honors students given first priority during registration. A non-Honors student may take an Honors designated core course if it is not fully enrolled and the student receives permission from the Director of the Honors Program in consultation with the instructor. An Honors course taken with the S/U option will not count towards fulfilling Honors Program curricular requirements (except for HON 310). Note that an Honors Core course taken with an S/U option will count towards completing a category of the Core curriculum, but it will not count as one of the required Honors designated Core courses.
To remain a member of the Honors Program, an Honors student should complete one Honors Core course by the end of his or her first year in the Honors Program, three Honors Core courses by the end of his/her second year in the Honors Program, enroll in Honors 310 during his/her junior year, and work on the Honors Capstone Project during his or her senior year. Any exception to this must be approved by the Honors Director.
Course Number and Title
HON 101 1st Year Honors Seminar
HON 310 Honors Capstone Prep Seminar
Honors; At least Jr. Status
HON 390 Honors Interdisciplinary Seminar
Honors Capstone Project
HON 310; Permission
Honors Core Courses
(choose 4 diff. areas)
(logic/math, religion, communication, natural sciences, humanities, aesthetics, historical reasoning, social sciences)
Honors or Permission
At least one of the following:
2nd HON 390 Honors Interdisciplinary Seminar
Honors core course in a 5th area
Two 1-hour Honors Contract courses in major
Three HON 201 Honors Community Engagement Projects*
Honors study abroad experience
*To complete the community engagement elective, students must sign up for HON 201 three times and complete three community engagement projects.
Honors Courses and Descriptions
See Course Descriptions section of catalog