Frequently Asked Questions about the Honors College

1. What are some of the benefits of being an Honors College student?

  • Special courses designed specifically to challenge Honors College students
  • Access to award-winning Honors College faculty
  • Faculty mentors who regularly meet face-to-face and one-on-one with their students throughout each semester
  • Opportunities to attend world-class cultural events such as the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the Houston Grand Opera, and the Houston Ballet
  • Social events crafted just for Honors Scholars, including Honors College Quiz Bowl, Talent Show, and Game Night
  • Small seminar-style classes that encourage scholarly discussion and active learning
  • A wide-ranging curriculum focused on the great written works, visual art, and music of Western civilization
  • Service-learning opportunities
  • Writing-intensive courses that prepare students for a variety of careers and postgraduate study.

2. What are Honors College Classes Like?

Each semester Honors College students enroll in three courses: a writing workshop, a twice-weekly discussion seminar, and a lecture course. Discussion classes are based on a discussion format that encourages dialogue among faculty and peers about the texts they are reading. Discussion classes are usually capped at fifteen students to allow for easy dialogue among students. Lecture courses are held weekly for each cohort (one each for first-, second-, and third-year students), and writing workshops meet in smaller groups to work on the written assignments for each class. You can learn more about the structure of the Honors College online.

3. What is the deadline to submit my application? 

The Honors College admits students on a rolling basis throughout the year. Applicants should apply by May 1 to ensure that their application is given full consideration, though applications submitted after that date are likely to be considered.

4. Are Honors College classes more difficult than regular classes?

Honors College students are held to a high academic standard. The program is built on the scholarly activities of reading, writing, questioning, thinking, and discussing, and students are expected to dedicate time to thinking about and engaging with the material Honors Scholars complete. The reading and writing requirements of the Honors College are rigorous for an undergraduate, general education program. To learn more about what we’re reading, view our completed reading list online.

5. Does the Honors College cost more?

There are no additional costs associated with being a member in the Honors College. The tuition rate remains the same and co-curricular activities, when offered, are covered by the program, with the exception of study abroad opportunities.

6. What is the Honors College House system?

All incoming Honors College students are sorted into one of four houses: the House of Augustine, the House Boethius, the House of Homer, and the House of Virgil. Houses compete in various activities throughout the semester to earn house points. At the end of the academic year, the house with the most points is awarded the eleventh pillar.

The flags of the Honors College houses: Augustine, Boethius, Homer, and Virgil.

7. What is an Honors College mentor?

Every Honors College student is assigned a faculty mentor with whom they will meet with at least five times each semester one on one and face to face. In addition to being a steady companion to students in their Honors College journeys, mentors give feedback to students about their coursework and conduct midterm and final oral exams for the students they mentor.

8. How does student life for an Honors College student compare to that of a regular student?

While the Honors College forms a specific learning community at HCU for Honors Scholars, many aspects of student life are the same as any entering freshman. Students admitted to the Honors College enjoy interacting with one another in Honors College classes and at Honors College events, but Honors Scholars also find good friends within their majors, clubs, and other engagements around campus.

Honor Scholars in their room

9. Is there a residential component to the Honors College?

Yes. Honors College freshman entering HCU may request to have a roommate who is also a member of the Honors College. The Honors College partners with Residence Life to provide an Honors College living-learning community for all Honors College students who live on campus. Honors College students often benefit from living in community with each other as this allows them to continue conversing about the texts they are reading and the work they are completing in their Honors College classes. Please note that even though the Honors College experience is enhanced by taking advantage of HCU’s residential facilities, Honors College students are not required to live on campus, and there are a number of Honors Scholars who commute from home.

10. Can I be a student-athlete at HCU and join the Honors College?

Yes! A number of student-athletes have been members of the Honors College. This requires dedication by both the student and the faculty, but we believe in the success of our scholars and work with student-athletes to ensure their success in the Honors College.

11. Does the Honors College offer study abroad opportunities?

The Honors College does offer study abroad opportunities in conjunction with other departments on campus. Our students have travelled to Italy and Oxford, integrating cultural immersion with additional course material. Students receive three credit hours during their international stay abroad.

Honors Scholars in a discussion seminar
Honors Scholars in a discussion seminar.

12. Why does the Honors College study great works of the past?

Studying the renowned written, visual, and musical works of Western Civilization in a discussion-based environment fosters creativity, imbues mental strength and moral character, and encourages growth in the minds and hearts of Honors College students.

13. If I am admitted to the Honors College, is the Honors College my major?

The Honors College is not a major like engineering, nursing, English, education, biology, or another discipline, but it is an excellent way to satisfy the liberal arts requirement that all students at HCU must fulfill. Honors College students are able to participate in the Honors College and work toward a degree in any major offered at HCU. We currently have students who are majoring in engineering, biology, nursing, music, education, history, philosophy, Christianity, English, and a number of other majors.

14. What is the environment of the Honors College like?

The Honors College offers a unique community comprised of faculty and students committed to academic, spiritual, and intellectual growth. The Honors College is comprised of students from different ethnic, religious, and academic backgrounds and students can frequently be found hanging out with the faculty in the common lounge area of the Honors College. The Honors College offices are housed primarily in a suite within the Atwood 1 building on HCU’s campus with faculty offices in Atwood I and the University Academic Center.

Honors College graduates
Honors College graduates participating in the Honors College Commissioning Ceremony.

15. What classes does the Honors College cover?

The Honors College curriculum supplants the liberal arts core requirements for every HCU degree. By taking seven credit hours of Honors College classes for six semesters, Honors College students will satisfy every course requirement in the standard liberal arts core curriculum, except for mathematics and, where required, foreign language or specific liberal arts core classes required for some majors.

16. Can transfer students join the Honors College?

It is possible for transfer students to join the Honors College; however, the Honors College does not accept transfer credit toward its requirements (i.e., for HNRS classes). While college credit that students have earned elsewhere can be transferred to HCU, these credits would apply to courses in a student’s major or as general electives. (See the HCU website for the guidelines on transfer credit.) Students who have earned a large number of credit hours that would apply to the HCU Liberal Arts Core may prefer to forgo the Honors College. Students who have specific questions about how their credit will transfer can reach out to the Honors College directly for clarification:

If you have a question that is not answered above, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.