Honors College (HC)
Contact InformationUniversity of Vermont
100 Allen House
Burlington, VT 05405
Phone: (802) 656-9100
Fax: (802) 656-9009
The Honors College (HC) offers an intensely focused, academically challenging environment for some of the university's most outstanding undergraduate students. The Honors College involves a broad cross-section of the University community, existing not as a cloistered academic enclave but as a vital part of that larger community. The Honors College is above all a community of scholars -- students and faculty -- committed to the ideals of excellence in scholarship, academic rigor, and intellectual inquiry and engagement.
Admission to the Honors College
Admission to the Honors College is based on prior academic performance and students are admitted in one of two ways. First year students are invited to the HC based on the strength of their application to the University; no additional application is required. Up to 100 first year students are admitted each year.
Because the College exists to recognize and encourage academic excellence, it also welcomes the applications for sophomore admission from students who were not in the HC in the first year, and are among the top performers as first year students at UVM. Sophomore admission requires an application form, a 3.4 grade point average at the end of the first year, letters of recommendation from UVM faculty, and a brief essay. Up to 100 sophomores are admitted annually.
Students whose overall GPA falls below 3.2 will be given one semester to raise it back over this level. Failure to do so will make them subject to dismissal from the HC. The Dean will have discretion to take personal considerations into account prior to dismissal for low achievement. Students will be subject to dismissal from the HC if they receive grades below C- totaling more than 8 credits of coursework. Students with a Major Academic Offense, determined by standard University procedure, will be dismissed from the HC. Students with a Minor Academic Offense, determined by standard University procedure, will be given a warning of dismissal in the event of another Major or Minor Academic Offense.
The Honors College curriculum is designed to supplement and enrich the offerings of the "home" schools and colleges with multidisciplinary courses and seminars that broaden intellectual horizons and stimulate discussion, debate, writing, research and reflection. Enrollment in Honors College seminars is limited to Honors College students. Students who complete all Honors College curricular requirements in addition to the degree requirements of the home school or college graduate as University Scholars. Honors College courses are taught by distinguished faculty drawn from the range of academic disciplines at UVM.
The First Year Seminar
"Making Ethical Choices: Personal, Public, Professional": This seminar provides a common experience (3 credits each semester) for all first year students in the Honors College. It is multidisciplinary: taught by a core faculty with additional lectures given by faculty drawn from across the University, including but not limited to: animal sciences, biomedical technologies, business administration, computer science, education, engineering, environmental studies, nursing, and women's studies. It is designed to incorporate classic works by philosophers such as Plato and Mill and the contemporary writings of distinguished philosophers like John Rawls and Peter Singer and is taught in small seminars (about 20 students in each section) intended to promote intellectual discussion. The seminar is writing intensive, requiring multiple drafts of papers that encourage students to develop their reasoning and focus their writing and is designed to guide students in thinking rigorously about ethical problems in many applied contexts. The course is supplemented by plenary lectures (7-8 throughout the year) by University faculty and administrators to which the entire University community is invited.
Sophomores take two three-credit special topics courses, one in the fall and one in the spring, selected from an extensive slate of offerings created for HC students by faculty in schools and colleges University-wide. Special topics vary from year to year.
Junior and Senior Years
In the junior year, students take one three-credit seminar in their home college or school that prepares them for their senior year honors project. Senior students complete a six-credit research thesis or senior project approved by their home school or college. Requirements will vary slightly in different schools and colleges. Students should consult with the advisor in their home school or college.
The Honors College will soon be moving to a new residential complex at University Heights, providing housing for HC students, as well as permanent office space for the HC administration and staff. In addition, the new complex will include seminar, lounge, and meeting space for the Honors College. Students are strongly encouraged to live in the Honors College residency.
All UVM faculty and students and the general public are invited to participate in frequent Honors College-sponsored events such as lectures and symposia presented by faculty, students, and distinguished visiting scholars and artists.