Honors is about challenging yourself. The best Honors courses stimulate students and faculty to explore and reimagine the creative connections between the world’s problems and possible solutions. 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). Most students complete the required six credits in the first year. 

* Students who enter Honors having already completed significant portions of the General Education program may petition the Honors College to allow Honors seminars to satisfy this requirement.

Honors Seminars

These unique, interdisciplinary seminars explore a range of complex and cutting-edge topics not otherwise covered in JMU’s academic departments or majors. These courses share the features of small classes and unique styles of teaching, but also a comparison of perspectives which promotes 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 provide a unique opportunity to individualize your own curriculum.

While the process of developing an Honors option project is a deliberative give and take between you and the professor of the class, the driving factor should be your own intellectual, academic, or professional interests. In this respect, Honors options 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 that learning about diverse perspectives, experiences, and cultures is a critical component of a well-rounded Honors education. View the list of approved courses here. 

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 diversity course in General Education or in your major or minor.

If you are taking a diversity course that is not on this list, you may petition the Honors College for course credit.

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. 

View the list of approved courses here.

Look especially for an opportunity 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.

If you are taking a research or experiential learning course that is not on this list, you may petition the Honors College for course credit.

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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