Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the benefits of joining the Honors Program?
A: The major benefits of membership in the Honors Program include:
Small Honors classes (15-25 students) that emphasize active learning
Priority scheduling that ensures students' access to the university's top classes and professors
Financial support, including study abroad scholarships and grants to support undergraduate research
Leadership opportunities in Honors organizations
Honors housing option in the Honors Residence Hall. Check out
for more information.
Membership in the Honors Student Organization, which coordinates cultural and recreational events and service projects for Honors students
University Honors Program recognition on your transcript and at graduation
Q: What are the requirements for admission to the Honors Program?
A: Applicants usually have SAT scores of at least 1750 and are ranked in the top 20% of their high school class. While SAT scores, class rank and grade point average are important, other factors, including evidence of leadership and community service, are also considered in admissions decisions.
Q: What about GPA?
A: No specific GPA is required for admission to the Honors Program. Students who apply to the program typically have at least a 3.25 unweighted GPA in high school. Once admitted to the Honors Program, students must maintain a 3.25 QPA overall and in their Honors courses.
Q: When can I apply to join the Honors Program? Is applying as an incoming freshmen my only opportunity?
A: You can apply to the Honors Program after you have been offered admission to Shippensburg University. Application information is available
. You will gain the most from membership in the Honors Program if you join the program as a freshman. However, first- and second-semester freshmen and transfer students are also welcome to apply.
Q: How many applicants are accepted each year, and how many students are involved in the Honors Program?
A: Approximately 50 new students are admitted to the Honors Program each year. The Honors Program currently involves about 170-175 students representing all majors on campus.
Q: What scholarships are available to Honors students?
A: Honors students are eligible for a range of university-wide scholarships. Honors students can also apply for special Honors study abroad scholarships, undergraduate research grants, and grants to travel to academic conferences.
Additionally, two Honors Program students are selected to represent Shippensburg University at the PASSHE Summer Honors Program every year. Each student receives a full scholarship covering the cost of tuition, room and board, travel, and required field trips. Students have recently traveled to Egypt, Bermuda, and England through the PASSHE Summer Honors Program.
Q: What classes will I take as an Honors student, and are they more difficult than other classes?
A: Honors courses are designed to engage and challenge academically talented and motivated students. Students who enter the Honors Program as freshmen complete 36 Honors credits, including Honors general education courses, upper-division Honors seminars, and an Honors capstone project. The Honors curriculum is compatible with the requirements of all majors, and many Honors courses double-count for students’ regular general education and major requirements. Honors courses offer a chance to learn and interact in a smaller, less formal setting where students are motivated and energetic. The courses aren't necessarily more work, but they do place more responsibility on students to take charge of their learning. See the
page for more information.
Q: Will Honors Program courses be like Honors courses I took in high school?
A: There is usually a significant difference between high school and college Honors courses. In many high schools, Honors courses are just the normal courses “made harder” with extra readings, extra assignments, and extra hard grading of students. But at college, Honors courses are specially “enriched” courses, not normal courses made “harder,” and grading standards are usually the same as in normal college courses. Honors courses strive to avoid the boring lectures/passive learning approach to education. They provide the informal, small class environment that encourages discussion and debate on important topics.
Additionally, the Honors Program offers several unique seminars every year. Recent seminar topics have included “The World of Piracy,” “Viruses and History,” and “Coaster Quest.” These courses are designed to be interdisciplinary and are often team-taught by several professors from different academic disciplines. Many Honors seminars include a research or travel component. Students in “The World of Piracy” seminar traveled to Bermuda to study at the Maritime Museum there.
Q: What are the main benefits of taking Honors classes instead of regular classes?
A: Honors courses have smaller classes of 15-25 students. This creates an environment where students can really get to know their professors and their peers, fostering an active, discussion-oriented atmosphere. Additionally, students are able to learn from academically motivated peers, forming a true community of scholars.
Q: What are the Honors Program requirements (aside from attending Honors classes)?
A: There is more to the Honors Program than classes. As a member of the Honors Program, students are part of the Honors Student Organization (HSO). Through the HSO, students have the opportunity to create and participate in a variety of service and recreational events that promote the Honors Program’s mission of scholarship, leadership, service, and community. All students are required to participate in a number of Honors events each year. Because the Honors Program offers so many activities, there is something to match almost every interest.
Q: Can I be part of the Honors Program if I have many other commitments (e.g. job, athletic team)?
A: Yes. There are many Honors students who hold part-time jobs or are on an athletic team. When balancing these various responsibilities, it is important to plan ahead to make sure that you can fit everything in. If you would like to meet with a current Honors student who is also involved in a sport or is working their way through college, please contact
Q: Can I study abroad if I am in the Honors Program?
A:Yes! Because it’s increasingly important for university graduates to have global perspectives and experiences, the Honors Program encourages students to study abroad. The Honors Program director and study abroad director can work with you to find an experience that suits your academic and professional goals. You can apply up to 6 credits that you earn by studying abroad to your Honors requirements, and the Honors students are eligible to apply for a special Honors Study Abroad Scholarship.
Q: What extracurricular activities are available through the Honors Program?
A: The Honors Student Organization coordinates dozens of cultural, recreational, and service activities each year. Regular events include field trips to Washington, D.C., hikes, Honors Read book discussions, and local and international service projects. The
calendar of events
has a complete listing of Honors Program activities.
Q: I plan to attend graduate or professional school. How will the Honors Program enhance my chances of being admitted?
A: The Honors Program provides a great deal of support for students who plan to further their education. The program offers grants to students to engage in undergraduate research and attend conferences in their discipline. The program also hosts annual workshops designed to assist students with their graduate and professional school applications. Earning the SU Honors designation on your transcript will demonstrate to admissions committees that you are a dedicated student and well-prepared to begin graduate studies.