The Track II Curriculum applies to students entering the JMU Honors College prior to Fall 2021. Students entering the JMU Honors College in Fall 2021 or later should refer to the current Honors Curriculum requirements.

All Track II Honors Scholars complete 24 credit hours of Honors coursework and receive a minor in Honors Interdisciplinary Studies.

The Honors curriculum does not replace or modify your requirements in JMU General Education or the major. However, many Honors credits will double count towards requirements in General Education or your major.

Track II Honors Minor
Honors Seminars (6 Credits)

Honors seminars are unique interdisciplinary courses that explore a range of complex and cutting-edge topics not typically covered in departments or majors. Areas of emphasis provide the opportunity to link your seminars together in leadership, global studies, creativity and innovation, research, or service and civic engagement. Through an Honors seminar abroad, you can explore a new part of the world during the summer while earning six credits and fulfilling the Honors seminar requirement.

How it all fits together:

Honors seminars are offered at the HON 200 and 300 levels. You can take them anytime during your college career. Most students start taking them sophomore year, but they are open to first year students. Choose the path that works best for you:

  1. Take any two Honors seminars before you graduate
  2. Complete an area of emphasis during sophomore and juniors years
  3. Do an Honors seminar abroad any summer before you graduate

Any Honors seminars taken in addition to the required six credits will count as Honors electives (see below). 

Honors seminars count towards the Honors minor only.

Honors Electives (12 Credits)

Honors electives can be any combination of additional Honors seminars, Honors sections of GenEd courses, Honors options, and Honors-designated courses within a major. 

Honors GenEd classes are specially-designated Honors sections within the JMU General Education programThey cover the essential content of the regular non-Honors courses, but also include experiences appropriate to Honors study. Honors sections are smaller than typical GenEd classes, include closer interaction with professors, and involve discussion-based and collaborative learning. These courses appear in the Schedule of Classes with a normal departmental designator and number followed by an H (e.g., POSC 225H).

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 provide a unique opportunity to individualize your own curriculum. We recommend you focus these on courses in your major. 

Some majors offer specific Honors sections for students in the major. Examples include:

  • Biology: BIO 491H, 495H, and 496H
  • Nursing: NSG 300H, 350H, 354H, 450H, 455H
  • Business majors: COB 300H

Contact your Honors faculty liaison for more information about Honors-designated classes in the major.

How it all fits together:

This is the most flexible curricular component of the Honors minor. You can put these credits together in any combination you choose, at any time of your choosing.

We recommend limiting the number of Honors option classes to one or two, though you are allowed to do as many as you choose. As a Track II student, we recognize the convenience of being able to pull your major courses into Honors. Be intentional about deploying Honors options in classes that are of special interest to you or represent significant milestones in your progression through the major. It is possible to complete 9 or even all 12 Honors elective credits through Honors options, though this is not our preferred pathway. We see the value in continuing to take dedicated Honors classes as Honors electives.

Many Honors elective credits will double count towards the Honors minor and other requirements. An Honors GenEd (or two) will double count for Honors and GenEd. An Honors option and an Honors-designated course in your major will double count. Honors seminars count towards the Honors minor only. 

Honors Capstone Project (6 Credits)

The Honors capstone project is the culminating experience of your academic career. The project is a three-semester research or creative experience culminating in a substantial written thesis or creative product. You will work under the guidance of a faculty advisor and a faculty committee.

Most likely, you will undertake your project within your major, which is recommended. However, it is possible to pursue a project in a related field, such as a minor, or to work on an interdiscipinary project through the Honors College rather than an academic department.

How it all fits together:

Your Honors project will be completed during your final three semesters at JMU. You will receive six credits for the project by enrolling in three consecutive 499 courses in the major in which you are completing the project. (For example, Biology majors enroll in BIO 499A, B, and C; English majors enroll in ENG 499A, B, and C.) Students pursuing interdisciplinary projects through the Honors College enroll in an HON 499 sequence.

Some departments count the six credits of 499 towards the major. In this case, these courses double count towards the major and the Honors minor. They will essentially replace classes in your major that you would otherwise have to take. Other departments do not count these credits towards the major. In this case, the six credits of 499 count towards the Honors minor only.

To find out how 499 credits will count for you, consult Honors project departmental guidelines for your major or contact the Honors faculty liaison in your major.

For detailed information, visit the Honors capstone project section of the Honors College Handbook.


The Honors minor can be completed within a normal four-year sequence for students in all majors. For assistance with academic planning, contact the Honors advising office

Download the Track II Curriculum Guide (PDF)

Most students average one Honors class per semester, though there is flexibility to double up one semester and not take an Honors class the next. Track II students are required complete three Honors courses by the end of their second year at JMU.

A typical timeline for progression in Honors looks like this:

  • First year (if applicable): Take an Honors class in your second semester, if possible. Look especially for an Honors GenEd. Honors seminars are also available to you. Consider an area of emphasis for the next year.

  • Second year: You must have taken a total of three Honors classes by the end of this year. Work towards completing Honors seminars and elective requirements. If you are interested in an area of emphasis, you will complete both seminars this year. You could do an Honors option in one of your major classes. Feel free to take Honors GenEds. Consider an Honors seminar abroad over the summer.

  • Third year: Continue working on Honors seminars and elective requirements--try and complete these, if possible. If you are pursuing an area of emphasis, you will complete the practicum this year. In the first semester, make preparations to start your Honors capstone project (an Honors option could be useful here). In the second semester, offically begin the project, submitting the project proposal and completing the first 499 course.

  • Fourth year: Finish up any remaining Honors requirements. Devote your time to completing the Honors capstone project. Present your project at the Honors Symposium, a colloqium in your major, or a regional or national conference.

This timeline is very general. Each student's progression through the Honors minor will look different.

Preparing for the Honors project

 To prepare for the Honors capstone project, we recommend the following:

  1. Get to know faculty members in your major as soon as possible. You will draw on these professional relationships when you start the project planning process.
  2. Make every effort to integrate yourself into the the life of your academic department. Attend special events and lectures. Take advantage of opportunities.
  3. A well-designed Honors option in sophomore or junior year can serve as a springboard for Honors project ideas. Be strategic and use options in classes that interest you.
  4. Read the Honors project section of the Honors Handbook and the departmental guidelines for your major no later than the middle of the fall semester of your junior year, if not earlier.
  5. Meet with the Honors faculty liaison in your major no later than the middle of the fall semester of your junior year, if not earlier.
Good Standing in Honors

Honors students are required to maintain good standing in the program. This entails maintaining a GPA of 3.25 and meeting the Honors course progression standards. Failure to meet these standards or violation of the University Honor Code will be grounds for dismissal. 

Refer to maintaining good standing in the Handbook for important information.

Other Considerations

Please be aware of the following situations and opportunities that may impact your progress through the Honors minor. 

  • Students who enter JMU with an Associates Degree or significant AP/dual enrollment credits that count towards the General Education program (typically at least half of the required GenEd credits) are eligible to switch to Track II Honors. Track II does not include the Honors GenEd requirement.

  • Double majors may pursue an Honors capstone project in either major. You are not required to complete a project in both majors.

  • The Honors College offers students the opportunity to spend a semester studying at Oxford University or St. Andrews University in the U.K. and count significant transfer credits towards the Honors minor. Oxford: 6 Honors seminar credits + 6 Honors elective credits (12 credits total). St. Andrews: 6 Honors seminar credits + 3 Honors elective credits (9 credits total). Typically, students choose to study abroad junior year or the second semester of sophomore year. These programs are especially enticing to out-of-state students, for whom the tuition difference between a semester at JMU and Oxford or St. Andrews is relatively low.

  • Nursing majors should complete all Honors GenEd and Honors seminar coursework by the end of sophomore year. The Nursing Program offers a set of Honors-designated courses in junior and senior years. Visit the Nursing departmental guidelines and contact the Nursing faculty liaison for more information.

  • College of Business students pursuing the BBA degree should consider taking the one-credit COB 300H during fall of junior year. In addition to providing a supplemental business honors experience and helping you to develop collaborative, leadership, and research skills, it will allow you to pull in ALL of your COB 300 credits to count as Honors electives. This course is offered every fall semester; concurrent enrollment in COB 300 is required.
Graduating in Honors

Apply to Graduate

Seniors are required to include Honors in the application to graduate procedure.


The Honors College gives each graduate a special medallion to wear at commencement. These are presented to students at the medallion ceremony and reception at the end of every semester, where we recognize and celebrate our graduating students.

Diplomas and Transcripts

Track I and II students who successfully finish all their Honors requirements will have the designation of Honors Scholar included on their transcripts and diplomas. If you complete an area of emphasis, this will be indicated on your transcript. All Honors students receive distinction in the discipline in which the Honors capstone project is pursued.


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