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University Honors Program

Curriculum and Benefits

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Overview

The Wright State University Honors Program was created in 1972 to meet the needs of the university's brightest, most ambitious students. It is open to students of all majors and provides a varied curriculum consisting of:

  • Honors sections of Wright State Core courses
  • Service-learning courses
  • Interdisciplinary core courses in the humanities and social sciences
  • Broadly interdisciplinary upper-level topical seminars

Departments are also free to propose Honors sections of regular courses at both the introductory and advanced level. First-year students are able to participate in learning communities of linked courses in which the same 20 students enroll. Most majors offer students the opportunity for intense Honors work in the major during the senior year.

Students may choose to graduate with one of three Honors designations, which are noted on the transcript and in the commencement program:

  • University Honors Scholar
  • Departmental Honors Scholar
  • General Studies Honors Scholar

The primary mission of the Honors Program is to produce graduates who are well-educated, socially conscious, and capable of assuming leadership roles in society. The Honors Program is responsible for providing undergraduates with all the tools and every opportunity to create a stimulating, well-rounded, solidly grounded, and socially responsible education. The program currently has more than 2,000 alumni, disproportionately distributed in the medical, legal, and academic professions, where many of them are beginning to move into leadership roles. Alumni surveys indicate that the program is fulfilling its mission.

The Honors Program encourages diversity in its student body, its faculty members, course content, and extracurricular activities. Transfer students and nontraditional students are particularly welcome additions to the student mix. Students who complete Honors work at another NCHC institution receive honors credit at Wright State for those courses.

Honors classes are small—between 15-20 students—and faculty members are encouraged to try innovative, student-centered teaching styles that feature discussion, collaboration, creative projects, or extensive research papers. Ongoing assessment indicates that students are satisfied with their Honors courses, often citing them as the only undergraduate courses that challenged them to think analytically. To recognize and encourage outstanding teaching, Honors students are invited to nominate a faculty member for the Honors Teacher of the Year Award each spring.


Advantages and Benefits

The University Honors Program offers students a variety of advantages and benefits in curriculum, scheduling, advising, and scholarships.

First and foremost, Honors students participate in the Honors curriculum. Honors classes are designed to provide a supportive learning environment where students are challenged to develop their skills in analysis and synthesis. The Honors curriculum highlights the interdisciplinary nature of learning. It offers students numerous opportunities for service learning and community engagement. Honors classes feature some of the most outstanding faculty on campus. Honors alumni often report that their Honors classes are the ones that they remember and value for years—sometimes even decades—after graduation. 

All Honors course work is noted on the transcript. Earned Honors degree designations appear on the transcript and in the commencement program. Students who are actively pursuing an Honors designation are given priority registration status, which allows them to register at the beginning of each registration cycle. This gives active Honors students maximum flexibility in planning their schedules.

In addition to providing advising about specific Honors Program requirements, the Honors staff can also be helpful to students who are preparing for professional and graduate school. The Honors office is charged with the responsibility for advising for national and international scholarships and fellowships such as the Truman, Rhodes, Goldwater, or Phi Kappa Phi programs. Honors students who do departmental Honors research also have the benefit of an additional advisor in their major department.

The Honors Program has an attractive scholarship program for both entering and continuing students. The majority of Honors students receive some type of scholarship funding from the university.


Facts

  • Each year nearly 1,000 undergraduates participate in the University Honors Program. Of the approximately 2,000 new students who enter Wright State each fall, more than 300 will participate in the Honors Program. Most will receive some type of Wright State scholarship and about 50 will also have Competitive Honors Scholarships.
      
  • Honors students are expected to take three Honors classes during their first year. Most students earn A's or B's in their Honors classes. Between 20 and 25 courses are offered for Honors credit each term.
      
  • Honors classes normally meet the Wright State Core or major program requirements. The required interdisciplinary seminar (UH 4000) is an additional course in some majors, but most students may count it as an elective.
      
  • Honors students are required to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 and work toward earning an Honors degree designation. 
      
  • Faculty who teach Honors courses are from every college on campus. Some are senior faculty members who are recognized authorities in their fields. Some are lecturers, people who specialize in teaching. Some are adjuncts, people who teach part-time for Wright State. Adjuncts are often people with unique backgrounds and special expertise who bring real-world experience to the classroom. One faculty member will be chosen as Honors Teacher of the Year.
      
  • Honors students have many social, leadership, and service opportunities through the Student Honors Association, Alpha Lambda Delta, the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, and in the Honors Community organizations.

Classes

Honors courses come in many varieties, including Honors sections within the Wright State Core elements—communication, mathematics, global traditions, arts and humanities, social science, and natural science. Honors sections of introductory courses required in many majors—calculus, chemistry, biology, economics, and psychology—are also available. 

Honors courses cover the same material as the regular sections but in a different way. Enrollment is limited to 20 students and everyone is encouraged to participate. Honors students write more (essay exams, position papers, and so forth), talk more (class discussions, debates, and presentations), read more (even in calculus), theorize, analyze, and synthesize more. In short, they get more.

Interdisciplinary Honors classes look at important topics from several perspectives. UH 2010 examines topics in the humanistic disciplines, and UH 2020 explores social realities using the tools of the various social sciences. The topics for the UH 4000 seminars change each term and cover important contemporary issues such as international terrorism, computer technology, bioethics, gender studies, and Dayton's aviation history. Interdisciplinary Honors courses feature guest speakers, field trips, and class projects.


Research

Independent research is featured in most Honors options in a major. Honors students work closely with faculty advisors to produce projects. An Honors project is excellent preparation for graduate or professional school and enhances the portfolio you present to prospective employers. Some research funds are available to support this work.

The method and content of Honors projects vary from department to department. In the fine arts, students often do creative, performance-based projects, while in the sciences they work in labs. Students in the humanities or social sciences may also do creative projects or more traditional research papers. Some departments allow students to integrate internships or other field experiences into their Honors work. Consult your departmental advisor for details, as well as the Departmental Honors Program for your major.