Honors courses are characterized by the following attributes:

  • Small class size
  • Close interaction with professors and colleagues
  • Discussion, deep thinking, and critical analysis
  • Imaginative and challenging assignments
  • Independent work and group projects

Honors courses are not designed to be intentionally harder or more work. They are meant to be a better and more integrated learning environment. 

Honors Scholars take a combination of the following types of courses.

Honors General Education

Honors GenEd classes are specially-designated Honors sections within the JMU General Education program. They cover the essential content of regular non-Honors GenEd courses and include experiences appropriate to Honors study. Honors sections are smaller than typical GenEd classes, with closer interaction with professors, and involve discussion-based and collaborative learning. 

Honors GenEd courses appear in the Schedule of Classes with a normal departmental designator and number followed by an H (e.g., POSC 225H).

Honors Seminars

These unique, interdisciplinary seminars promote boundary crossing, bridge building, and integration across the disciplines. 

HON 200 courses are open to students at all levels, including first-year students. HON 300 seminars are appropriate for students at the sophomore level or higher.

Honors Seminars Abroad

The Honors College mounts a number of special Honors seminar abroad programs for 3- and 6-credits each spring and summer. These programs combine the hallmarks of Honors education--interdisciplinarity, self-directed study, academic rigor--with a global focus on cultural competencies, mutual understanding, and diversity of thought and experience. With exciting destinations in different parts of the world, you can find the program that fits best for you. Learn more here.

Honors Options

An Honors option allows you to earn Honors credit in a non-Honors course. By developing and completing a customized project or set of assignments, you can pull these credits into the Honors minor as Honors electives. Honors options can serve as a gateway to the Honors capstone project in that they require you to think independently about your own intellectual commitments. Learn more here.

Honors Diversity Courses

The Honors College believes students should have a broad understanding of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and accessibility. The following may satisfy this requirement:

  1. A course on this approved list. You do not need to do an Honors option in these courses. Simply enroll and take the course. You are especially encouraged to look for a course in General Education or your major or minor.

  2. Occassionally, a course not on this list may be used if it meets the following criteria:
    • 1/3 to 1/2 of the course addresses themes related to at least one of the following: race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or accessibility. Area studies in the non-Western World may be considered to fulfill this requirement.
    • Is a 300- or 400-level course that is part of an interdisciplinary minor program at JMU, or an Honors seminar.
    • A course directive request is required. If a syllabus is available, please include it.

  3. An Honors option for a course that is not on the approved list. The Honors option project must focus on diversity and meet the following criteria:
    • 1/3 to 1/2 of the project addresses themes related to at least one of the following: race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or accessibility.
    • A course directive request is required. Please include a copy of the Honors option application.
Research or Experiential Learning Courses

Learning doesn’t just happen in formal classroom settings. Independent learning and doing form the heart of an honors education. The following are just some of the types of experiences that apply here:

  • Research
  • Internships. 
  • Study abroad. Any JMU study abroad program counts.
  • Creative endeavors.
  • Clinical practice.
  • Field work.
  • Community engagement.
  • Teaching assistant.
  • Area of emphasis practicum. 

Look especially for opportunities in your major or minor. These credits can be fulfilled at any time. 1- and 2-credit courses can be combined to satisfy the required 3 credits. 

The following may satisfy this requirement:

  1. A course on this approved list. You do not need to do an Honors option in these courses. Simply enroll and take the course.

  2. A study abroad program worth at least three credits. Any JMU and most non-JMU programs may fulfill this requirement. A course directive request is required.

  3. Occassionally, a course not on this list may be used if it meets the following criteria:
    1. 1/3 to 1/2 of the course is focused on hands-on experiential learning.
    2. Is a 300- or 400-level course.
    3. A course directive request is required. If a syllabus is available, please include it.

  4. An Honors option for a course that is not on the approved list. The Honors option project must focus on experiential education and meet the following criteria:
    • The project includes 15-20 hours of applied work.
    • Is a 200-level course or higher.
    • A course directive request is required. Please include a copy of the Honors option application.
Departmental Honors Courses

Some academic departments offer Honors courses specifically for students in their majors and programs. Unless otherwise indicated, these courses satisfy Honors elective requirements. The following majors offer designated Honors courses:

  • Biology: BIO 491H, BIO 495H, BIO 496H
  • Nursing: NSG 350H, NSG 354H, NSG 450H, NSG 455H
  • College of Business BBA degree: COB 300H

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