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Is Honors for You?


We are looking for a certain kind of student: women and men who experience joy from taking intellectual risks, those who like to engage in topics and activities that challenge their assumptions. We are also eager to find students who are interested in engaging in a community of like-minded people, whether you find them in our living-learning community in the Dolan Residence Hall, by participating in the Honors Student Association, or in other Honors Program activities. For more on the program’s benefits, click on the “Why Honors” link at the bottom of the page.

Ready to apply? You'll find this application in your myJCU Gateway portal after you receive your admission decision. Scroll down to see applications for mission-based programs, which includes Honors. Please contact your admissions counselor if you have any difficulty finding the application link within the portal.

Alumni from the class of 2022:


Honors Photos:

Current first-year students are able to apply to Honors in the Spring semester. Please email for a link to our application. Applications are due by March 15.

Information for current Honors students:

The Honors Capstone Project

The Honors Pathway Award (guidelines)

JCU Honors - Frequently Asked Questions


How does JCU’s living-learning community work?

  • Students in the Honors, Arrupe, Leadership, and Social Innovations Fellows program have the choice to room in Dolan Hall, the University's most recently renovated residence hall (and the only air-conditioned freshman dorm) during their first and second years.

Are Honors classes harder than non-honors classes?

  • No. They are different, however: they are smaller, and most importantly they are more discussion-based, conversational, and inquiry-focused. Faculty teaching in Honors classes are encouraged to try new, unconventional methods.

What are the academic expectations for Honors students?

  • GPA benchmarks are pegged to your class standing: freshman must have a 3.2 GPA; sophomores 3.3, and juniors a 3.4. By the end of your fall semester, senior year, students are expected to have at least a 3.45 GPA. If a student’s GPA falls to between 3.0 and the minimum for their class rank, they will be placed on academic watch. If a student’s GPA falls below 3.0, removal from the program will be considered.

Will participating in the Honors Program make it more difficult to participate in other activities, academic or otherwise?

  • No. Almost all of the Honors curriculum mirrors the university’s core curriculum, so there are very few credit hours that are in addition to the core. In every class, Honors students have participated in athletics, student government, study abroad, and many other clubs and activities. Honors students routinely have double majors and minors.

Do AP or other credits count towards Honors classes?

  • A college-level public speaking class may count in lieu of COM 125H, and other AP and college-level classes will count toward the 120 credit hours required for graduation. But otherwise, those types of classes do not replace classes in the JCU Honors curriculum.

Do Honors students have a social space and/or classroom available to them?

  • There is a social area in the Honors Program suite that includes a kitchen, a coffee machine, a conference table, and comfy chairs. The classroom inside the Dolan residence hall, residence in which is limited to students in the mission-based programs (including honors), is often used by Honors classes.

What are the “pathway” awards, and how do they work?

  • Pathway awards are financial awards exclusively for Honors students. They are designed to encourage students to engage in exciting out-of-the-classroom learning experiences like study abroad and immersion trips. For more on these awards, including the application form, click here.

What’s the Honors book award?

  • The Honors Program will cover the costs of your books in all of your Honors classes (but only your Honors classes). We have a seamless process with the JCU bookstore; they will have your books ready for you behind the front counter at the beginning of each semester.

How does the credit hour exemption work?

  • Once per academic year, Honors students may receive permission to enroll for up to 21 credit hours with no extra tuition charge (the usual cap is 18 cr.) Students must have earned at least 30 credit hours at JCU and have a 3.5 GPA (either cumulative or during their most recent semester).
  • More information regarding the total cost of attendance can be found here.

May I substitute non-Honors JCU courses for Honors classes, say by doing some extra work?

  • No. Requests to substitute non-Honors classes for Honors classes will be politely but firmly declined.
  • Why, do you ask? A few reasons. First, participation in the Honors program comes with the obligation to follow the Honors curriculum. Students may always withdraw from the Honors program if they do not wish to conform to its expectations. Second, if students were permitted to enroll in non-Honors classes, it would decrease enrollment in Honors sections, which would produce pressure to cancel those classes due to low enrollment. Finally, Honors classes are run differently from non-honors classes, and no substitution or “extra work” to bring a non-Honors class up to the level of an Honors class does this successfully.

What options are available for the Honors Project?

  • The Honors program encourages students to experience both depth and breadth of scholarship. To that end, there are several options for the Honors Project.
    • students may demonstrate depth of scholarship by enrolling in HP 450, Honors Capstone. They will complete an independent study project under the guidance of a faculty advisor and present their work at the annual Celebration of Scholarship.
    • students may demonstrate depth of scholarship by completing a capstone project in their major area, presenting their research at the annual Celebration of Scholarship.
    • students may opt out of the capstone project by demonstrating breadth of scholarship by minoring in a field different from their major area. For example, English major/Business minor; Chemistry major/Peace, Justice and Human Rights minor; Accounting major/Political Science minor.