May 19, 2022  
2019-2020 Academic Catalog 
2019-2020 Academic Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Honors Program

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James A. Tuedio, Ph.D., Co-Director
Ellen E. Bell, Ph.D., Co-Director

Office: Innovative Center
Phone: (209) 667-3180

The Honors Program brings together a community of faculty and students to study and discuss issues and topics of current interest. Honors students work closely with one another and develop close ties with their faculty mentors. Our program offers an engaging learning environment for students desiring to engage academic studies with vitality, discipline, critical perspective, and intellectual curiosity.

The program is open to students from all majors. We admit cohorts of freshmen and juniors, and accept sophomore and mid-year applicants on a space-available basis. There are specific course requirements in each year of the program.

The Honors Program “First Year Experience” curriculum emphasizes humanistic inquiry and helps students develop and refine their skills for intellectual reading, writing, thinking, discussion, and research.

In the sophomore year, Honors students focus their studies on social issues and institutions. This stage of the program emphasizes inquiry within the social sciences, and integrates a well-focused service learning experience.

In the junior year, students explore diverse investigative methods, gain facility with a broad array of research tools (including information resources, research protocols, and methods for conducting research across disciplines) and contribute to a team-based analysis of complex problems. Juniors also begin their Capstone research project by selecting a topic, developing a creative and compelling research proposal, and identifying a faculty mentor to guide their work.

In the senior year, students conduct research or creative work leading to the completion of an Honors Capstone project under the guidance of Honors program faculty and their faculty mentor. A thesis option is also available. The faculty mentor guides the research project and provides feedback on the analysis and interpretation of the results. Students meet in seminars throughout the year to discuss the focus and results of their research and to develop and critique their submissions to the Honors Journal of Exploratory Research and their presentations for the annual Honors Capstone Conference in May.

Co-curricular experiences and field trip excursions help to expand the scope of learning beyond the classroom.

Honors students participate in a well-focused academic learning community. We emphasize multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary study of relevant social topics. Our goal is to promote intellectual curiosity and a personal engagement with learning. To this end, we focus on a broad spectrum of research and emphasize a rich variety of methods for investigating, analyzing, synthesizing, and communicating information.

There is considerable scholarship support for students in the program.

The Honors Program mission, goals, and program learning outcomes are listed in the University Honors Program section of Programs & Services .

University Honors Program Student Learning Outcomes: 

Honors students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate strong academic skills in reading, thinking, speaking, and writing;
  2. Identify the value of service-based experiential learning activities as a complement to intellectual endeavors;
  3. Practice independent research and constructive teamwork, including academic peer mentoring; and, 
  4. Apply congruent research methods and analytical frameworks to problems of consequence in the service of authentic community interests.

Honors Program Curriculum

(4-Year Curriculum: 36-40 units/30 Units GE; Transfer Curriculum: 12-20 units/9 units GE)

First-Year Experience:

(13 units)

Complete these four required GE courses (or their equivalent, with permission of program co-director)::

Additional course option with special Honors sections that meet GE requirements:

Junior Experience: Interdisciplinary Research:

(10 units)

Complete these three required GE courses (or their equivalent, with approval of program co-director):

Senior Capstone Research and Analysis

(2-10 units)

Fall IV:

Choose one of the following (optional, with approval of faculty research mentor):

Spring IV:

Choose one of the following (optional, with approval of faculty research mentor):


*Students may earn up to 6 units for completing the Honors Thesis or Senior Capstone Project.

*Students have the option of completing a senior thesis paper for 3 units in lieu of a full thesis.

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