Honors Core Course:

Each day will begin with the Honors Core Course. Students will all attend the course together every day during the week. This interdisciplinary course will explore complex topics that deal with contemporary issues in society, culture, technology, and the sciences. Together with your fellow Summer Honors students and the professor, you will grapple with some of the big picture questions that embody an Honors education. 

Classes/Information Sessions:

The rest of the morning and afternoon will be spent in subject-area classes. Students will take different classes each day in majors such as Mathematics, History, Astronomy, Political Science, Geography, Finance, Biotechnology, English, Computer Science, Economics, Religion, Physics, Marketing, Geology, and more. Taught by outstanding faculty members from around the university, these courses are designed to be interactive and hands on. You will engage with the professors and your fellow classmates, working together in a fun and dynamic learning environment. With a selection of courses to choose from, you will be able to craft a program that lets you explore majors you are interested in. In addition to classes, students will attend a number of information sessions throughout the week on topics such as college admissions and career exploration. 

Summer Honors Institute courses are not eligible for JMU credit.

2019 Course Descriptions


Afternoons and evenings are reserved for field trips and fun activities. Summer Honors students will explore the Shenandoah Valley through activities such as hiking the Appalachian Trail, and a visit to the home of James Madison himself at Montpelier. You might be able to grab dinner at a restaurant on Harrisonburg’s historic Courthouse Square. On campus, you will be able to make use of some of JMU’s fantastic facilities, such as the University Recreation Center and the planetarium. 

 Student Housing:

The living-learning environment in the beautiful newly built Grace Street apartments, will bring you together with your fellow Summer Honors students and give you a sense of what living on campus as an honors student would feel like. Peer counselors, who are current JMU Honors students, will guide you throughout the week and share their experiences with you along the way. 

Even if JMU is not the right college for you, the Summer Honors Institute will introduce you to the kinds of experiences you can expect from a university Honors College, and will distinguish you as an exceptional student who is looking to make the most of your college experience.


The cost is a $1000 residential fee to participating students, which covers instructions, class materials, housing, meals and social activities. Consider bringing money for snacks, bookstore and personal.

Upon acceptance there is a $50.00 deposit to secure your spot in the progam or the full payment amount of $1000.00 may also be made. 

Partial scholarships may be available to applicants who demonstrate a financial need. Please contact Melissa Heatwole at heatwoml@jmu.edu to fill out an additional financial assistance application form. 

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