Honors Programs/Courses

A. MAJOR HONORS

The principal objectives for the Major Honors candidate are (a) extensive reading preparation, the preparation of an annotated bibliography, the production of a fully documented research paper, and the passing of an oral examination on the research by a three-member honors committee and guest examiners, or (b) the completion of a scientific/technological project that will be preceded by a feasibility study or other appropriate preliminary research and followed by a demonstration and written summary/evaluation of the result before a three-member honors committee and guest examiners.

  1. The student who would like to undertake honors work in his or her major during the senior year should submit an application to the Academic Review Committee prior to April 10 of the junior year. A student who wishes to continue an ongoing research project as an honors project should submit an application to the Academic Review Committee prior to September 15 of the senior year. In this case, the candidate’s research plan should accompany the application in lieu of steps 5 and 6 below. In either case, a letter of support from the proposed chairperson should accompany the application.
  2. To qualify for Major Honors, both the cumulative GPA and the major GPA must be 3.50 or higher.
  3. The Academic Review Committee will determine the applicant’s eligibility and the appropriateness of the topic proposed for study.
  4. The eligible student may nominate the chairperson and, with the approval of the Academic Review Committee, one other member of the sponsoring committee. The Academic Review Committee will appoint the third member. One of the three members must be chosen from outside the major department. Permission to undertake Major Honors work is contingent upon the willingness of full-time faculty to serve on the committee. The Academic Review Committee will confirm the willingness of all committee members to serve. In particular, the Review Committee will confirm the chairperson’s willingness to assume the responsibilities of overseeing the project – ensuring that the specified meetings are convened and that the project stays on schedule.
  5. After approval, the honors candidate will submit to the chairperson a general outline (one side, one page) of the program he or she would like to follow. The candidate will enroll for 2 credits of Honors Study for the fall semester.
  6. Before the end of the spring semester, the committee chairman will call a meeting to outline and develop a plan for the candidate’s reading and/or preliminary research program.
  7. By October 1, the chairperson will convene the committee to hear an oral progress report from the candidate, review a more detailed outline, and advise on procedures for rounding out reading preparation and/or preliminary research during the Fall semester.
  8. By December 1, the chairperson will call subsequent full committee meeting at which the student will submit a one-page progress report together with:
    1. An annotated bibliography of reading to be employed in the final paper and a refined outline of the paper, or
    2. A presentation of preliminary research.
  9. The committee will submit to the registrar a copy of the student’s progress report together with a document signed by all members of the committee recommending:
    1. A suitable grade for the bibliographic work or preliminary research.
    2. Whether or not the student should continue in the program.
    3. The number of units for spring registration (2 to 4).
  10. Upon receipt of the committee’s recommendation, the candidate will be enrolled for the appropriate number of units of Honors Study.
  11. Before April 15, the student will submit the fully documented paper or completed project (with written summary/evaluation) to the chairperson. The public, oral defense and presentation will be scheduled and announced. The full committee will be in attendance.
  12. The full committee will determine the final grade for the honors work. A grade of " A-" (A minus) or higher will earn an Honors in major designation on the permanent record and be announced at Commencement.

B. IN-COURSE HONORS

  1. The student who would like to undertake honors work in a regularly offered course must meet the qualifications noted below, obtain the consent of the instructor and submit an application to the Academic Senate Review Committee for approval (via the Student Records Office) no later than the second week of the semester. The application must be accompanied by an honors plan developed by the instructor for the specific course. The instructor may choose to have the honors students do different assignments from the rest of the class, for example substituting more challenging readings for ones normally assigned. Or, the instructor may prefer to have the honors students do everything the rest of the class does, but assign additional work for the honors students. If the latter, the plan should include qualitatively different assignments, not merely additional work and, typically, it should reflect that a student has completed 25% more work than the regular class requirements.
  2. Students who are eligible to enroll in honors classes (Westmont cumulative GPA of 3.50 or first-year and transfer students who are President’s Scholars) are eligible for in-course honors in standard courses.
  3. If the student completes the plan for additional work and the standard class assignments with an A or B grade, the Honors designation will be applied to the course title.

C. HONORS CLASSES

Each year departments offer a variety of general education honors courses. Enrollment in honors sections is by invitation from the Provost based upon selection criteria set by the Review Committee of the Academic Senate.
Entering students with a Provost’s Scholarship are eligible to enroll in honors courses upon petition to the registrar.