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Honors students in Tracks I and II have the option of linking their Honors seminars together into a two- or three-semester Area of Emphasis sequence. Students begin in the fall semester of the sophomore year. The Honors College currently offers five Areas of Emphasis:

Why Select an Area of Emphasis?

An Area of Emphasis provides you with a wonderful opportunity to:

  • Develop advanced knowledge and skills in leadership, research, creativity, global studies, or service that advance long-term personal goals and interests
  • Distinguish yourself from others when you enter the job market, apply to graduate school, or explore other post-graduate opportunities
  • Incubate ideas and forge faculty connections for the Honors Capstone Project
  • Realize the benefits of experiential learning coupled with classroom learning

For students in pre-professional programs, the Areas of Emphasis also provide fantastic opportunities to amplify distinctive skills.

Completion of the Area of Emphasis will appear as a special designation on your transcript when you complete the three course sequence in a given area.

How it Works

Each Area of Emphasis is a three-semester sequence:

1. Fall Semester/Sophomore Year (3 credits)

Each area begins with an introductory seminar. These seminars are taught by JMU faculty who bring expertise from on and off campus and will cover the scholarship related to key skills and topics associated with the area.

2. Spring Semester/Sophomore Year (3 credits)

Your experience will continue in the spring semester with the selection of an Honors seminar that is flagged for your selected area. You will most likely have several options to choose from; simply enroll in the seminar that most closely aligns with your interests or goals. Consult the list of current or upcoming Honors seminar offerings listed on the Honors College website.

Most spring semester courses incorporate mentored individual or group experiential learning. This means you will have opportunities to get hands-on experience in the selected area.

In rare circumstances, and Honors option that includes experiential learning in an approved (by Honors) course may also be used to meet this requirement.

3. Junior Year: Practicum (1 credit) 

The final component of the Area of Emphasis is an individual or collaborative practicum in the junior year. The practicum is a self-designed, experiential learning project that enables students to further develop skills in the selected area. These experiences are student driven and are often, though not necessarily, extensions of the second semester experience. A faculty member will mentor your practicum experience.

Learn more about the practicum experience

As these are stand-alone Honors seminars, there is no penalty related to completing one or two of the area components. Any seminar taken as part of the Area of Emphasis sequence will count for Honors seminar credit regardless of final completion of the area.

How to Join an Area of Emphasis

You are not required to apply or sign up for an Area of Emphasis. Simply enroll in an introductory seminar of your choice to begin the course sequence. For more information, contact the Honors Advisor

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