Honors Program

The Honors Program offers students in concentrated form the very best of collegiate life:
• Stimulating and challenging classes taught by accomplished, devoted faculty members;
• Genuine interdisciplinary opportunities rooted in the classical liberal arts tradition but conversant with the latest developments in modern science and thought;
• An environment in which conversations flow naturally from the classroom, laboratory, or seminar room into the dining hall, the dormitories, and other social settings;
• A profound experience of the harmony between faith and reason, those “two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth” (Fides et Ratio,prologue).

The Honors Program brings together all of the distinctive strengths of the education offered at Ave Maria University. It allows high-achieving and highly-motivated students to experience the Core Curriculum in a more challenging, accelerated and enriching manner, creating additional opportunities for integrated studies. The Honors Program extends beyond the classroom, the library, and the laboratory, as it fosters a genuine fellowship of Christian intellectual inquiry and conversation.

• More enriching and accelerated academic experience of the core curriculum
• Options for designated living spaces for honors students within the residence halls
• Focused component of freshman orientation
• Recognition on transcript
• Graduation with honors in the core curriculum
• Graduation with honors in a major

Incoming freshmen who are identified by their achievement on the SAT/ACT exams and high school coursework (courses, programs, GPA, class rank, etc.) will be invited into the Honors Program. Priority consideration will be given to students with a high school GPA of 3.6 or higher and an SAT score of 1860 and above, or an ACT score of 27 and above.

Current students and transfer students may apply for admission to the Honors program as long as they still have half of the core curriculum to complete.

Ave Maria University offers students majoring in Music an Honors Program specially designed to enhance and complement the unique program requirements of the program in Music. For more information, click here to see more about the Honors Program in Music.

Ave Maria University recognizes that honors students will often excel in particular areas of the Core Curriculum. For this reason, our program allows students to choose the courses in which they will earn honors. Honors Program students must fulfill the following.

Complete at least six (6) courses from the Core Curriculum listed below at the Honors level. Students are not permitted to take more than two designated Honors (H) courses per semester.

Take Latin to fulfill foreign language requirement

Attend the Honors Integrated Colloquia

Maintain an overall GPA of 3.4 or higher

Students in the honors program must take at least 6 of the following courses

LITR 103H Literary Tradition I
LITR 104H Literary Tradition II
HIST 101H Western Civilization I
HIST 102H Western Civilization II
LATN 101H Elementary Latin
LATN 102H Intermediate Latin
THEO 105H Sacred Scripture
THEO 205H Sacred Doctrine
PHIL 205H Nature and Person
PHIL 206H Ethics
POLT 203H American Civilization
MATH 151 Calculus (regular section)
BIOL 211 Biology I with Lab (regular science majors section)
BIOL 212 Biology II with Lab (regular science majors section)
PHYS 221 University Physics I: Mechanics with Lab (regular science majors section)
PHYS 222 University Physics II: Materials with Lab (regular science majors section)
CHEM 211 General Chemistry I with Lab (regular science majors section)
CHEM 212 General Chemistry II with Lab (regular science majors section)

Departments may institute additional specialized honors assignments for core classes rather than offering specific Honors sections. Honors students may convert a non-Honors section into an Honors section when scheduling conflicts prevent taking designated Honors sections. Sophomore-level courses not in the Core Curriculum may also be offered with the Honors designation.

The Honors Integrated Colloquia are interdisciplinary discussions for students in the Honors Program, which meet twice a semester. They are dedicated to fostering an interdisciplinary and integrated conversation, focusing on texts and ideas within the core curriculum, as well as broader ideals and themes within the overall philosophy of the curriculum. These stimulating Colloquia are led by three professors representing diverse disciplines.

Some of the past Colloquia topics are as follows:
• Is Infinity Real?
• The U.S Constitution: Christian or Secular?
• Competing Visions of Liberty: LBJ, Reagan and the American Dream
• What is Catholic Culture?
• The Galileo Affair
• Responses to the Holocaust

Honors Program Orientation Schedule

Do I have to be in a dorm with just honor students?

The Honors Program at Ave Maria University offers designated clusters of rooms for honors students within the regular men’s and women’s residence halls.  The honors sections will have specially designated Resident Assistants to support and assist the students and organize activities.  Students may contact the Office of Residence Life to request alternative dorm assignments.

Are there special luncheons/dinners? Will there be guest lecturers for honors students?

The Honors Program includes the Honors Integrated Colloquia that meet at least twice each semester.  In addition, we anticipate offering additional meals, lectures, and activities depending on student interest and availability.

How many honors classes do I take and are they only in the core curriculum?

Honors students typically take two honors courses per semester over their first four semesters.  Students are encouraged to choose honors courses in subjects in which they have greater ability and interest.  Most of these courses are in the core curriculum, but the courses in the core curriculum are also the beginning of many majors.

Should I consider the Honors Program, if I want to get involved in social activities and other campus clubs?

We have found that our higher achieving students are often quite engaged in the broader campus activities, and thus will offer students in the Honors Program many opportunities for involvement during their years at Ave Maria.

Can I be in the Honors Program if I have daily intercollegiate athletics practices?

Yes. We are committed to scheduling honors sections outside of afternoon practice times.  Also, should scheduling conflicts prove unavoidable, students may arrange an honors contract to convert a regular section of a course into an honors section.

Will Honors courses hurt my GPA and thus my chances of getting into graduate school?

Students generally succeed at higher rates in classes in which they are engaged at the appropriate level and are able to develop relationships with their professors.  These are the very benefits provided by the honors program.  In fact, given the achievement and aptitude of honors students, Honors sections will typically have higher average grades than non-honors sections.

Should I enter in the Honors Program, if I’m considering a double-major or extra minors?

Yes.  The honors program does not require any additional courses in the core curriculum so there is no conflict.  Students that are interested in earning a second major or minors should begin working with their academic advisors early on in their program to ensure appropriate course selection.

Can I leave the Honors Program?

Students may leave the Honors Program at the end of any semester simply by notifying the Director of the Honors Program.  If a student does not complete the requirements for the Honors Program, the student would simply complete the regular core and major requirements for the Bachelor of Arts degree.  Only successful completions of the Honors Program are recognized on the transcript.

“I would have loved to be in such a program as a student. The unique Ave Maria University Honors Program offers the possibility of integrating studies at the sort of high level that many students look for but which is very difficult to find.”

- Dr. Michael Pakaluk, Professor of Philosophy, Philosophy Department Chair

“The Honors program offers our students a chance to take unique classes providing the highest levels of instruction and an environment in which talented peers will push them to do their best. The Honors Integrated Colloquia will be at the heart of their experience, bringing together students and faculty from different disciplines for a deeper inquiry into the issues which unify our Core Curriculum and our intellectual tradition.”
– Dr. Bradley Ritter, Assistant Professor of Classics and Early Christian Literature, Core Curriculum Council Chair

“Students looking for a challenge will love the Honors Program. It is tailored to serve those seeking intensive engagement with their professors.”

- Dr. Seana Sugrue, Associate Professor of Politics

Honors Program Orientation Schedule