Honors Program

Program Purpose

The Honors Program mission is to develop student-scholars from across the university who will become broad thinkers, creative problem solvers, and influential leaders.  This mission is achieved by cultivating academic excellence, a community of scholars, interdisciplinary thinking, and skills of inquiry.

Curricular Structure

  1. Complete the Honors enrollment and commitment interview.
  2. Complete the honors curriculum.
  3. Complete the honors experiential learning requirement.
  4. Complete the honors thesis requirement.

Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate with University Honors will be able to:

Interdisciplinary Approach

Demonstrate the ability to apply the assumptions, methodologies, and practices from a variety of disciplines to examine issues and solve problems.

Courses that Contribute: HONRS 120 HONRS 221 HONRS 223 HONRS 225 HONRS 226 HONRS 227 HONRS 290R HONRS 320 UNIV 291
Linked to BYU Aims: Think soundly, Human knowledge
Independent Research

Apply skills of inquiry to conduct original and substantive research.

Courses that Contribute: HONRS 120 HONRS 320 HONRS 499R
Linked to BYU Aims: Think soundly, Lifelong learning
Writing & Communication

Articulate concepts and ideas intelligently, clearly, and persuasively through writing and other forms of communication at an exceptional level.

Courses that Contribute: HONRS 120 HONRS 221 HONRS 223 HONRS 225 HONRS 226 HONRS 227 HONRS 290R HONRS 320 HONRS 499R UNIV 291
Linked to BYU Aims: Communicate effectively

Exhibit leadership and influence in a collaborative environment to advance progress and affect constructive change.

Courses that Contribute: HONRS 391R
Linked to BYU Aims: Character, Lifelong service

Evidence of Learning

Direct Measures:

• Course exams and writing assignments

• Great Question essays 

• Experiential Learning Reports

• Honors Thesis Evaluations


Indirect Measures:

• Student and Alumni Surveys

• Faculty observation and evaluation of student performance

Learning and Teaching Assessment and Improvement

All courses offered in the Honors Program are taught by faculty and staff from Undergraduate Education or Alcuin Fellows in return for salary and research stipends.  All instructors meet in a seminar or retreat setting at least twice a year to review teaching approaches, strategies, and assess  evidence of student achievement of learning of course and program outcomes.  Two assessment specialists facilitate assessment activities in these settings.  In the first semester of their term, Alcuin Fellows observe the course-type and plan with a co-instructor the specific course they will co-teach over the next 3 years.  The UE Dean, associate deans, and when possible Alcuin Fellows attend annually at least one national conference on teaching and assessment in Higher Education.

Assessment of student performance on the Great Question Essay is the cornerstone of Honors Program assessment. This essay is the capstone to the Honors Curriculum, and as such, it provides direct evidence of student ability with respect to most program learning outcomes.  The weaknesses these essays reveal about student ability and capacity drive course and program revisions.  Assessing Honors Theses is also crucial to gauging program success, but given our emphasis on theses demonstrating discipline-specific conventions and methodologies, as well as making genuine, original contributions to those disciplines, Honors depends upon department faculty mentors and referees, and external reviewers.