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Program Information

The College Honors Program has three parts: General Education Honors, the Junior Year Honors Colloquium and Seminar, and Departmental Honors. Each part may be taken independently of the others and will be noted on the student's official transcript. However, all three parts must be completed in order to receive the additional designation College Honors on the transcript.

General Education Honors

All Rhode Island College students are required to complete the General Education Program, a sequence of courses in writing, literature, history, the social and behavioral sciences, the natural sciences, mathematics, and the arts. Most general education courses are taken during the first two years.

Students in the General Education Honors Program take at least five of their required General Education courses in specially designed honors classes, normally including the four “core” classes in Western Literature, Western History, Non-Western Worlds, and Critical Inquiry into Cultural Issues. To emphasize active class participation and close student-teacher interaction, the Honors classes are kept small, usually twelve to fifteen students, and are conducted in a discussion rather than a lecture format. Honors sections often employ innovative teaching techniques.

Students are admitted to General Education Honors directly from high school, during their freshman year, or as transfers. Most students in the program rank in the top 20 percent of their high school classes and have SAT scores of at least 1200 (verbal and critical reading). Each student's application is looked at individually, however, and other factors are considered for admission, such as activities, recommendations, the student's high school curriculum, and his or her personal statement.

Students must maintain an overall grade point average of 3.0 in order to graduate with General Education Honors.

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Junior Year Honors Colloquium

The Junior Year Honors Colloquium (Honors 351) helps to prepare students to undertake departmental honors projects. It is a two-credit class, is graded credit/no credit, and may be taken twice. The class is open to continuing and transfer students who have achieved a 3.0 gpa. It is also open both to students who have and to those who have not participated in General Education Honors. To register for Honors 351, contact Dr. Spencer Hall, Director of Honors.

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Departmental Honors

Departmental Honors programs offer students the opportunity to do an independent research, critical, or creative project on a topic of the student's choice and directed by a professor of the student's choice. These projects are normally done in the senior year, although they may be begun earlier, and normally carry at least 6 credits of independent study over two semesters.

The range of possible projects is virtually unlimited. Honors students have conducted laboratory experiments. They have written critical and research papers in literature and the social sciences. They have composed and performed musical works, produced videos, and researched and devised pedagogy for elementary and secondary education.

Students may take Departmental Honors whether or not they have taken General Education Honors or the Junior Year Honors Colloquium. Honors programs are offered in all departments in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and in the School of Management, as well as in the Feinstein School of Education and Human Development. Students with individualized or interdisciplinary majors may apply to the director of honors to do a senior honors project.


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College Honors

Students who successfully complete General Education Honors and Departmental Honors graduate with College Honors.

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Transfer Honors (General Education Honors and Departmental Honors)

Transfer students with superior academic records may participate in honors at Rhode Island College in several ways, depending on the number of General Education courses they have completed. Normally, transfer applicants must have at least a 3.5 grade point average and at least 24 credits of diversified liberal arts courses to qualify.

In-coming freshmen in the honors program at Rhode Island College enter the General Education Honors Program. They take at least five of the eleven required General Education courses, normally but not always including the four "Core" courses, in specially designed honors sections. Transfer students who have not completed General Education and still have five or six classes to take may be eligible to join the General Education Honors Program as transfers.

Even transfer students who have already completed most of the General Education Program probably have not satisfied the Core 4 (Critical Inquiry into Cultural Issues) and perhaps the Core 3 (Non-Western Worlds) requirements. Space permitting, such students may take those courses, or any other General Education requirement that they still need to satisfy, in honors sections.

In addition to General Education Honors, there are Departmental Honors programs in all of the departments at the college. The exact requirements can vary by major, but virtually all departmental honors programs involve a two-semester, six-credit individual research or scholarly or creative project. That project is usually done in the two semesters of the senior year, but can be started earlier. Transfer students can get information about departmental honors programs from the honors committees or the chairpersons of the various departments. Students who successfully complete the senior honors project graduate with the Departmental Honors designation on their transcripts.

Transfer students interested in doing departmental honors should consider taking the Junior Year Honors Colloquium (see above).

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Page last updated: April 9, 2014