Honors Program

Honors Program

Ave Maria University 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; 
• and 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.

Program Benefits for Students
  • More enriching and accelerated academic experience of the Core Curriculum
  • Options for designated living spaces for Honors students within Residence Halls
  • Use of Honors lounge* (pending space allocation)
  • Focused component of Freshman Orientation
  • Recognition on transcript
  • Graduation with honors in the core curriculum if the student satisfies the general requirements of the Honors Program.
  • Graduation with honors in a major if the student satisfies the Honors senior thesis/project in a particular major.

Program Requirements

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:

1. 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.

  • 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; PHYS 221; or CHEM 211 (regular section for science majors)
  • BIOL 212; PHYS 222; or CHEM 212 (regular section for science majors)

2. Fulfill their foreign language requirement with Latin. 
3. Attend the Honors Integrated Colloquia (see below).
4. Maintain an overall 3.4 GPA or higher.

*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. 

Honors Integrated Colloquia 
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. 

Admission into the Honors Program
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.

Endorsements from Faculty
"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, Chair of the Department of Philosophy

 "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, Chair of the Core Curriculum Council

 “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, Director of the Pre-law Program