Honors students complete a total of 25 credits leading to completion of the Honors Interdisciplinary Studies minor. This consists of 19 credits of Honors Core coursework and 6 credits of the Honors Capstone Project.

The Honors curriculum does not replace or modify your requirements in JMU General Education or the major. However, many Honors credits will also satisfy requirements in General Education, your major, or another minor.

  • Students admitted prior to the 2021-22 academic year may choose to continue with the older Track I or Track II curriculum requirements. For assistance, contact Honors Advising

View current catalog for complete description of requirements.

Download academic advising form (PDF)

Planning

The Honors Scholar curriculum can be completed within a normal four-year sequence for students in all majors. Students who join Honors after their first semester or transfer into JMU can complete the curriculum in a minimum of four semesters, depending on major and minor selection.

For assistance with academic planning, contact the Honors advising office. You will receive help in HON 100 or 101 with putting together a four year curriculum plan.

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. We expect students to have completed at least three, but preferably four, Honors classes by the end of the second year at JMU.

To maintain good standing in Honors, students are expected to maintain a 3.00 GPA in all Honors College coursework.

If you would like to direct an Honors course to fulfill a different curricular requirement or request Honors credit for a non-Honors course, please submit a Course Directive Request

Courses

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 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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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
Graduating in Honors

Honors Designations

Students who successfully complete all their Honors requirements will have the designation of Honors Scholar included on transcripts and diplomas. If you complete an Area of Emphasis, this will be indicated on your transcript. Students who complete an Honors Thesis receive distinction in the discipline in which the project is pursued.

Apply to Graduate

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

Graduation

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.

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