The mission of the Honors Program at the University of Southern Indiana is to support the University's continuing effort to improve the scholastic standing and educational opportunities for all University students and to encourage highly motivated students to reach their full potential in the classroom, the larger campus, and the wider community. The University recognizes and nurtures the talents and abilities of all of its students. The Honors Program is designed to offer expanded opportunities for those students who show promise of outstanding academic achievement. Participation in the program exposes students to a wide range of intellectual and academic experiences, provides enriching extracurricular activities, promotes rewarding interaction between students and Honors faculty, and gives students the opportunity to form lasting friendships with other students committed to academic excellence. As a result of their enhanced collegiate experience, Honors students have a distinct advantage in their future pursuits, whether they go on to graduate or professional school or go directly into their chosen professions. The designation of University Honors Scholar is awarded to those students who successfully complete the Honors curriculum, a distinction which is noted on both the diploma and the official transcript.
The Honors curriculum serves to supplement and enrich the student's overall experience within any of the University's major fields of study. To this end, students in the program grow through special classes that stress the interrelatedness of knowledge; skill in oral and written communication of ideas; and methods and techniques for the analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of information. Honors classes tend to be more challenging and stimulating, with smaller class sizes for increased participation and discussion. Typically, Honors students will enroll in specially designated sections of courses taken either from Core 39 or from the student's major. Students generally take one or two Honors courses in a given semester as part of their normal progress toward the baccalaureate degree.
Students who have earned an SAT score of at least 1200 (Math and Critical Reading),or an ACT composite of at least 27, and have a grade point average of 3.25 are eligible to apply for acceptance into the Honors Program. Other interested students are encouraged to apply. Evaluations of these students are made on the basis of cumulative grade point average, class rank, academic background, and extracurricular activities. Students who have completed a minimum of 15 credit hours at USI, or elsewhere, with a cumulative 3.25 grade point average, are eligible to apply.
To be recognized as a University Honors Scholar, students must complete their undergraduate work with a cumulative 3.25 grade point average or above, complete a minimum of 21 hours of Honors credit with grades of A or B, and meet the activity-point requirement for the semester in which they graduate. The 21 hours of Honors credit must include a one-hour Honors seminar (UNIV 101.HS#, Honors 101 or Honors 102) and an Honors capstone contract added to a 300- or 400-level class in a student's major or minor, or an approved substitute.
Honors students have the opportunity of living in the Honors living-learning community in the residence halls. Research shows that students participating in living-learning communities graduate with greater frequency, maintain higher GPAs, and report greater satisfaction with their college experience than do students as a whole. Residing in the Honors living-learning community also facilitates a greater sense of being part of the larger Honors community at USI.
Honors students are encouraged to participate in study abroad, field study, sponsored undergraduate research, and in the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) annual conference. The Honors Program offers scholarships to assist students with the cost of studying abroad and attending the NCHC conference.