FAQs Or Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Honors, But Were Afraid To Ask!
The following text contains a lot of information regarding various aspects of the FMU Honors Program. Some of this may be of immediate relevance to you; some of this may not concern you individually right now, but may be of use at a later date. I've tried to cover the bases, but feel free to come to me (FH 106; 843-661-1526; email@example.com ) with any further questions.
1. How does the FMU Honors Program communicate with me?
2. What constitutes being, remaining, or becoming “Honors-eligible”?
3. Do I need to apply to be accepted into the Honors Program?
4. What do I have to do in order to graduate “With University Honors”?
5. If I don’t plan to graduate “With University Honors,” why is it worth my while to take some Honors courses anyway?
6. What is the difference between HNRS classes, and Honors sections of regular classes?
7. What is HNRS 101, the Freshman Honors Seminar? Can I take it more than once for credit? Am I required to take it?
8. What is HNRS 200, the Honors Science Symposium? Can I take it more than once for credit? Am I required to take it?
9. What is HNRS 350, the Model UN Experience? Can I take it more than once for credit? Am I required to take it?
10. What is HNRS 397, the Honors Colloquium? Can I take it more than once for credit? Am I required to take it?
11. What is HNRS 391, the Honors Independent Study Workshop? Can I take it more than once for credit? Am I required to take it?
12. What is HNRS 491, the Honors Independent Study? Can I take it more than once for credit? Am I required to take it?
13. Can I get credit in discipline for my Honors Independent Study?
14. Are there any acceptable substitutes for doing an Honors Independent Study?
15. Can I transfer Honors credit from another institution?
16. What is the “Honors Contract” option? How does it work?
17. What is the Washington Semester Program?
18. How can I get enough Honors hours to graduate “With University Honors” while still taking only the classes I need? Why aren’t there more 300 & 400 level courses offered as Honors sections?
19. What is the Honors Student Association?
20. Is there an Honors Housing option?
1. HOW DOES THE FMU HONORS PROGRAM COMMUNICATE WITH ME?
New applicants to FMU who are Honors-eligible [see the next Q&A for the definitions of eligibility] should receive a letter from Dr. Rooks about the Honors Program. You should also get a letter regarding special sessions for Honors students during Summer Orientation. Honors-eligible students should receive a fall snail-mail early in September, giving a list of important dates. You will get two more snail-mails prior to Fall and Spring Advising and Pre-registration, dealing with how to take advantage of the option to pre-register early in the Advising period, provided that you include at least one Honors course in your schedule. All other communication (announcements, reminders, invitations, special opportunities, etc.) is handled via a group e-mail list. IF YOU WANT TO STAY CURRENT WITH HONORS INFORMATION, YOU MUST GIVE YOUR NAME AND CURRENT E-MAIL ADDRESS TO THE HONORS SECRETARY [BEVERLY OWENS, CEMC 112, 661-1605, BOWENS@FMARION.EDU]!!! If you can't or won't access e-mail, give your name, local address, and local phone number to Ms. Owens and let her know that's how you want to be contacted. In addition to this Web Page, honors information is posted on two bulletin boards - one in the Honors classroom (CEMC 241) and one just outside FH 103. Quite a lot of the information I'm about to throw at you is also contained in the good old FMU Undergraduate Catalog (“Honors Program,” listed under “Interdisciplinary Programs.”) You can always come to me with any Honors-related questions or concerns: FH 106, 661-1526, firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. WHAT CONSTITUTES BEING, REMAINING, OR BECOMING “HONORS-ELIGIBLE”?
An entering freshman is Honors-eligible with an SAT score of 1100 plus (Math and Verbal), or a composite ACT score of 24 plus. However, once you have completed your first semester at FMU, your eligibility is determined by overall GPA; that means that you can lose or earn eligibility according to your performance in FMU classes. To become or remain Honors-eligible, students classified as "freshmen" (under 22 earned credit hours) must have a minimum overall GPA of 3.00. To become or remain Honors-eligible, students with more than 22 earned credit hours must maintain a minimum overall GPA of 3.25. If you have any questions about your Honors eligibility, please see Dr. Rooks ASAP.
3. DO I NEED TO APPLY TO BE ACCEPTED INTO THE HONORS PROGRAM?
No. Incoming Honors-eligible freshmen should automatically get the two letters from Dr. Rooks mentioned in the answer to the first question. During the Summer Orientation Programs, incoming Honors-eligible students from most majors are advised and pre-registered as a group by Dr. Rooks and other Honors faculty. You will be encouraged, but not required, to include at least one Honors class in your schedule. Biology and Pre-Nursing majors will meet with the other Honors-eligible students and Dr. Rooks for the information session about the Program, but will be advised and pre-registered by the Biology faculty (who will know that you are Honors-eligible and put you into Honors classes if you wish). By the way, the Student Orientation Leaders working with the Honors group are Honors students.
4. WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO IN ORDER TO GRADUATE “WITH UNIVERSITY HONORS”?
You must meet the following requirements: Complete all regular University and departmental or school requirements. Have an overall GPA of 3.25 or above, including transfer courses. Complete a minimum of 21 hours in Honors Courses, with a GPA of 3.25 or higher in all Honors Courses taken. Of the 21 hours, 9 must be above 299, including 3 hours of the Honors Colloquium (Honors 397) and 3 hours of the Honors Independent Study (Honors 491) or an acceptable substitute. Grades below B in the Honors Colloquium and the Honors Independent Study do not count toward credit for the Honors degree, although they do count toward regular degree requirements. Each Spring, the Honors Committee selects an outstanding student who has graduated "With University Honors" in December, or who will be graduating "With University Honors" in May, to receive the Duane P. Myers Honors Award., which carries a plaque and a modest check. The names of the recipients are also on a plaque in the Honors Room (CEMC 241). Students who graduate "With University Honors" are recognized at the Commencement Ceremonies with a gold Honors Cord.
5. IF I DON’T PLAN TO GRADUATE “WITH UNIVERSITY HONORS,” WHY IS IT WORTH MY WHILE TO TAKE SOME HONORS COURSES ANYWAY?
All Honors courses count as credit toward graduation; most Honors courses fulfill FMU requirements for General Education, majors, minors, collaterals. The vast majority of Honors-eligible students report that their Honors courses are amongst their best academic experiences. They enjoy the extra individual attention from gifted and experienced teachers, and the opportunity to interact with other motivated students in a small class. Although Honors courses present a different kind of challenge and stimulation than other courses, most students do not find them "harder," and report that their grades in Honors courses are as good as (sometimes better than!) in other courses. Any course taken as Honors is designated as such on your academic transcript. Graduate and professional schools, as well as prospective employers, will be impressed. If you are Honors-eligible and choose to pre-register for at least one Honors course, you can pre-register on the first day of the Advising Period even if you're a freshman or a sophomore. This gives you a much better chance of getting all of your first-pick classes, teachers, times.
6. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HNRS CLASSES AND HONORS SECTIONS OF REGULAR CLASSES?
Each Fall and Spring semester, several courses are offered as Honors. Most are special sections of courses that are also offered as non-Honors (ie every semester there is an Honors section of English 200; there are also several non-Honors sections of English 200). Honors sections are capped at 15 students, and involve more discussion and interaction among the students and faculty. Many Honors classes are taught in CEMC 241, the Honors classroom. It is set up seminar-style (tables arranged in a rectangle rather than separate desks in rows); there is a SmartBoard; you can make yourself a cup of coffee or hot chocolate; the room is decorated with framed posters from the Fall Honors Trips, as well as the plaques listing the recipients of the Duane P. Myers Honors Award, the Honors Student Association Award, and the HSA Student Officers. All Honors sections are designated as such on your transcript. But there are six HNRS courses that are unique to the Honors Program: 101, 200, 350, 397, 391, 491. Details about each course are covered in the answers to questions 6 – 13. HNRS courses earn elective credit towards graduation in general, as well as towards graduating “With University Honors.” HNRS courses do not earn General Education, school, or departmental credit.
7. WHAT IS HNRS 101, THE FRESHMAN HONORS SEMINAR? CAN I TAKE IT MORE THAN ONCE FOR CREDIT? AM I REQUIRED TO TAKE IT?
HNRS 101 is offered every Fall, and is only open to incoming Honors-eligible freshman. It examines a special topic from an interdisciplinary perspective. Past topics have included the King Arthur Legend, the History of the Future, the Harry Potter Novels, and Skepticism and the Scientific World View. The course carries 3 hours of elective credit. You can only take it once. It is not required to graduate “With University Honors.”
8. WHAT IS HNRS 200, THE HONORS SCIENCE SYMPOSIUM ? CAN I TAKE IT MORE THAN ONCE FOR CREDIT? AM I REQUIRED TO TAKE IT?
HNRS 200 is offered in both Fall and Spring. Students are required to prepare for, attend, and respond in writing to the weekly Science Symposium, presentations on a variety of topics by scientists from FMU and elsewhere. 200 is assessed as “Satisfactory” or “Unsatisfactory” and carries 1 hour of elective credit. It can be taken for elective credit up to 3 times. It is not required to graduate “With University Honors.”
9. WHAT IS HNRS 350, THE MODEL UN EXPERIENCE? CAN I TAKE IT MORE THAN ONCE FOR CREDIT? AM I REQUIRED TO TAKE IT?
350 involves experiential learning, in which students will assume the role of delegates representing a foreign country in a United Nations simulation in New York City for one week late in the Spring semester (FMU pays travel costs). Unlike most Honors classes, students cannot just sign up for 350, but must be selected through an application process. Students can take 350 twice for credit. 350 is not required to graduate “With University Honors.” For more information about the application process and the course itself, contact either Dr. V. Scott Kaufman (FH 207; 843-661-1550; email@example.com ) or Dr. T. Alissa Warters (FH 125; 843-661-1616; firstname.lastname@example.org ).
10. WHAT IS HNRS 397, THE HONORS COLLOQUIUM? CAN I TAKE IT MORE THAN ONCE FOR CREDIT? AM I REQUIRED TO TAKE IT?
The Colloquium is offered every Spring, and deals with special topics from an interdisciplinary perspective. Sometimes it is team-taught; always, professors from more than one discipline are involved in at least some of the class sessions. Past topics include “The Divine Arts,” “An Interdisciplinary Introduction to African Studies,” “Climate Change and Society,” “Religions and Culture,” “The Vietnam War and American Culture.” The Colloquium carries 3 hours of elective credit. Since the Colloquium topic is different each time it is offered, you can take it twice for elective credit. You might want to do this for love, for additional hours towards the 21 hour requirement, or because you earned below a B the first time you took the Colloquium. You are required to take the Colloquium, and to earn a grade of B or higher, in order to graduate “With University Honors.”
11. WHAT IS HNRS 391, THE HONORS INDEPENDENT STUDY WORKSHOP? CAN I TAKE IT MORE THAN ONCE FOR CREDIT? AM I REQUIRED TO TAKE IT?
391 is offered every semester. It is an optional course designed to help students prepare for their Honors Independent Study (HNRS 491), and should be taken the semester before 491. Working with the Honors Director, students decide on and plan for their Independent Study project, select and begin working with their Study Director, prepare and submit an acceptable Proposal to the Honors Committee. Faculty from various disciplines will advise on research methodology and presentation. 391 is assessed as “Satisfactory” or “Unsatisfactory” and carries 1 hour of elective credit. It can only be taken for credit once. It is not required to graduate “With University Honors” (although 491 or an acceptable substitute is).
12. WHAT IS HNRS 491, THE HONORS INDEPENDENT STUDY? CAN I TAKE IT MORE THAN ONCE FOR CREDIT? AM I REQUIRED TO TAKE IT?
This allows you to pursue independent academic work, normally in the area of your major, under the guidance of a faculty member. It usually takes the form of a major research project / paper, although there have also been creative projects (directing one-act plays, arranging and performing a piano concert). You must have completed 12 hours of Honors courses before enrolling in the Independent Study. You may choose to take 391 the semester before 491, to guide and help you through the preparation process detailed as follows. You can, however, choose to skip 391. Working with your Study Director, you must complete a proposal (forms available from Dr. Rooks) detailing the project you are planning to undertake. In addition to your Study Director (who must provide a letter of support), you need signatures from two other faculty readers, one of whom must be from a different discipline, and from the discipline-appropriate department chair or school dean. Students who choose not to enroll in 391 but who wish to successfully complete the Independent Study usually begin planning and working on the project, in consultation with the faculty supervisor, at least one semester before the semester in which the student is formally enrolled for the Independent Study. If you choose not to enroll in 391, you need to come and talk with Dr. Rooks about your Independent Study well ahead of time (that is, well before the semester when you plan to complete the work); there are some important steps involved in planning and pre-registering for an Independent Study. Whether or not you are enrolled in 391, you must submit your 491 proposal 3 weeks before the end of the semester BEFORE the semester in which you are enrolled for 491. Examples of successful past projects are available for you to look at. Some limited funding is available to defray expenses incurred in completing your Independent Study. See Dr. Rooks for guidelines and forms. Successfully planning and completing the Honors Independent Study is probably the single most challenging hurdle to jump in your quest to graduate "With University Honors." Perhaps for that very reason, students who have been successful in the past testify that the Independent Study was one of their most rewarding experiences. The self-discipline required is particularly valuable if you plan to go on to graduate or professional school. There are further guidelines to assist you in preparing your Independent Study proposal on this web site. 491 earns 3 hours of elective credit. You can (although this would be unusual!) do more than one 491 project for credit. You are required to complete the Independent Study (or an acceptable substitute – see below) with a grade of B or higher in order to graduate “With University Honors.”
13. CAN I GET CREDIT IN DISCIPLINE FOR MY HONORS INDEPENDENT STUDY?
Yes. The proposal form asks you to designate whether you prefer to receive credit for HNRS 491, or for 497 Special Studies in a particular academic discipline.
14. ARE THERE ANY ACCEPTABLE SUBSTITUES FOR DOING AN HONORS INDEPENDENT STUDY?
Yes. Students who are accepted into and successfully complete the Washington Semester Program may count 3 of the 15 Honors credit hours earned in place of HNRS 491, provided that the grade is a B or higher. Also, students who successfully complete a semester in one of our official International Exchange Programs can graduate “With University Honors” without completing an Honors Independent Study. The GPA requirement will be calculated out of 18 Honors credit hours rather than 21.
15. CAN I TRANSFER HONORS CREDITS FROM ANOTHER INSTITUTION?
Yes, if the courses are designated as "Honors" and accepted by FMU for full credit or elective credit. To graduate "With University Honors" from FMU, a transfer student must take a minimum of 12 hours of Honors Courses at FMU, including the Honors Colloquium, the Honors Independent Study, and one other upper-division Honors course.
16. WHAT IS THE “HONORS CONTRACT” OPTION? HOW DOES IT WORK?
This option can help students who want to graduate "With University Honors," but who find a shortage of 300 and 400-level classes in their major or minor disciplines offered as Honors sections. The contract stipulates what extra work you will undertake. Normally, the Honors Contract option should only be applied to upper-level courses which are not offered as Honors sections. Normally, a student will only take 3 of the required 21 hours as an Honors Contract. With your professor, fill out an Honors Contract form (available from Dr. Rooks) which specifies what you will be doing in addition to the regular assigned class work. You and your professor sign it; I approve it, give you a copy to return to your professor, and file it before the final day to withdraw from a course without academic penalty. At the end of the semester, if your professor informs the Registrar that you have fulfilled the contract, the course is recorded on your transcript as Honors. Please note that the Honors Contract is a fall-back option; it is not the same experience as being in an Honors course. Should a student request the Honors Contract for more than one 3 hour course, that request needs to be approved by the full Honors Committee.
17. WHAT IS THE WASHINGTON SEMESTER PROGRAM?
FMU Honors students are eligible to apply for a Fellowship in the Washington Semester Program, sponsored by the Honors College at the University of South Carolina. Students accepted as Fellows have the opportunity to live in the heart of Washington DC and gain valuable work experience as full-time paid interns in federal government or private sector offices while earning 15 hours of Honors academic credit. Honors students at any South Carolina institution of higher education are eligible to apply for the Washington Semester Program. Fellows must be degree-seeking students and are usually juniors. The Program operates in both the spring and fall semesters. Students accepted into the Program must become transient students at USC for the DC semester. They will earn academic credit for the following courses: POL 497H (Special Studies: Washington Semester, 6 hours); ENG 498H (English Internship: Washington Semester, 3 hours); PSY 310H (The Psychological Focus: Leadership, Washington Semester, 3 hours); and THEA 101H (Introduction to Theatre: Washington Semester, 3 hours). Acceptance for the Washington Semester is competitive, but several FMU students from a variety of majors have completed the Program with flying colors. All of them say that it was a life-changing experience. Ms. Beth Hutchison, the USC Coordinator of the Program, pays a campus visit each fall and spring to talk with interested FMU students. Click here for more information. If you're interested, talk to Dr. Rooks.
18. HOW CAN I GET ENOUGH HONORS HOURS TO GRADUATE “WITH UNIVERSITY HONORS” WHILE STILL TAKING ONLY THE CLASSES I NEED? WHY AREN’T THERE MORE 300 & 400 LEVEL COURSES OFFERED AS HONORS SECTIONS?
There is no doubt that the student who begins taking Honors courses in his/her freshman year has an advantage over the student who begins taking Honors courses later in his/her studies, because the majority of courses offered are at the 100/200 level and fit better with general education than with major requirements. It is also the case that (in addition to the Honors Contract option, see above) there are always at least a few 300 level courses - chosen to be of interest to students in various disciplines - offered every semester. Some disciplines are less able than others regularly to offer Honors sections because of scarce faculty resources. I hope that will change, but cannot control it. If a group of Honors-eligible students comes to me with a solid request that a particular course be offered as Honors in an upcoming semester, I will do my best to get it in place. The most effective engine to drive increased Honors offerings is clear student demand. The real key is planning. Work with your assigned advisor, but supplement his/her advice by talking with me about how best to coordinate Honors courses with your other graduation requirements. When a 300-level course in your major or minor is offered as Honors, do whatever you can to juggle your schedule in order to take that class! The only course required to graduate “With University Honors” that cannot count towards the requirements for a major, minor, collateral, or General Education, is HNRS 397.
19. WHAT IS THE HONORS STUDENT ASSOCIATION?
HSA is a chartered FMU student organization. You must be Honors-eligible to join (although membership is not required to graduate “With University Honors”, and not all Honors-eligible students choose to become members). You do not have to be enrolled in an Honors class to be a member of HSA. Annual dues for the academic year are $10 (dues for Spring semester only $5). We traditionally hold the organizational meeting at the Fall Honors Reception given by President and Mrs. Carter at Wallace House. Candidates for the four student officers are nominated at that time. If you are unable to make the Reception, you can come by my office (FH 106) to sign up and pay your dues at any time during the school year. You must be a member of HSA in order to participate in the Fall Honors Trip. We have three destinations: Washington D.C., New York City, and Philadelphia. The Trip usually takes place the weekend before Thanksgiving. We leave by charter bus on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning, and return on Sunday, which gives us 2 - 3 full days in the city. The cost to the student is relatively minimal ($100 or $150, depending on how many Honors hours you’ve earned, for transportation and hotel) because FMU contributes generously to the full cost of the trips. HSA, at the initiative of the student officers and members, coordinates other social and academic activities throughout the year, including Play and Pizza Nights, receptions, parties, travel experiences, and community service projects. Like all worthwhile extra-curricular activities, HSA gives students and faculty a chance to interact productively and enjoyably outside of the classroom. Like all worthwhile extra-curricular activities, active participation in HSA looks good on your resume. The names of the student officers for each academic year are on a plaque in the Honors Room. Each year, an outstanding student member is chosen to receive the HSA Award. The names of these students are on a plaque in the Honors Room.
20. IS THERE AN HONORS HOUSING OPTION?
We began offering an Honors Housing option in Fall 2009 for students who are active in the Honors Program. Freshmen who are Honors-eligible may apply to live on the third floor of Belle Isle Hall, which will be coed. In order to qualify for Honors Housing, freshmen are required to take at least one Honors course during the first year. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors may continue in Honors Housing in either Belle Isle Hall or the Forest Villas, provided that they continue to enroll in at least one Honors course per year. Special programs will be available to students in Honors Housing.