The Honors Program at Southern Wesleyan University is a four-semester program that affords qualified students the opportunity to engage professionally in their chosen field while still in college. Students become candidates in their freshmen and sophomore years and are offered some unique opportunities for fulfilling a couple of General Education requirements and are invited to a number of community-building events. Candidates are evaluated in the spring of their sophomore year, and if they qualify, are invited to join and complete the Honors Program in their junior and senior years.
Qualifications for Honors Program
Students who are qualified and interested in participating in the Honors Program at Southern Wesleyan University can become candidates in one of several ways:
- Incoming freshmen with a high-school GPA of at least 3.5 and a score of 1200 on the SAT or equivalent on the ACT are admitted as candidates of the Honors Program at Southern Wesleyan University. Once accepted for admission to the university, students with these credentials will be evaluated, and letters will be sent to those who qualify for candidacy. These students will also be enrolled in HNRS 2323 in place of SEMR 2323. Participation in these courses is a privilege of candidacy.
- Transfer students with freshmen or sophomore standing entering with a college GPA of at least 3.5 will also be admitted as candidates of the Honors Program at Southern Wesleyan University. These students will also be enrolled in HNRS 2323 in place of SEMR 2323. Participation in these courses is a privilege of candidacy.
- Existing freshmen and sophomore students at Southern Wesleyan University with at least a 3.5 college GPA can request to become candidates of the Honors Program at Southern Wesleyan University.
- Southern Wesleyan faculty members can recommend existing freshmen and sophomore students with at least a 3.5 college GPA for candidacy in the Honors Program at Southern Wesleyan University.
During the spring of a candidate's sophomore year, the director of the Honors Program at Southern Wesleyan University, in conjunction with the Honors Oversight Committee, will evaluate the cumulative GPA and request faculty endorsements of the candidate to assure that he or she is qualified for admittance into the Honors Program. If the candidate has a 3.5 cumulative college GPA or higher and has a positive endorsement from a faculty member in his or her major, then the candidate will be formally invited to participate in the Honors Program.
Once the candidate has accepted the invitation, he or she will become a member of the Honors Program.
Benefits of the Honor Program
Student members of the Honors Program enjoy many benefits from participating in the program. First and foremost, the Honors Program affords its members an opportunity to engage professionally in their chosen field while still in college. One major element of this professional engagement is a close mentoring relationship with a faculty member in that field. This professional engagement opportunity includes academic leadership opportunities, alternative or expanded engagements in major courses, opportunities to explore a topic or area of choice in a more in-depth format, professional experience that will enhance one's resume, and additional preparation for post-graduate work. All Honors courses and project work is remunerated with academic credit and noted on the student's official academic transcript and the student's Honors project is recognized in the commencement program at graduation.
More specifically, student members of the Honors program enjoy the following benefits:
- Integration of faith, learning, and living is important. We believe God expects us to be good stewards of the intellectual gifts He has given us.
- Helps students to further develop their skills of critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity.
- Helps students to see that they can accomplish a level of professional engagement beyond what they might have thought they were capable.
- Helps students to develop intellectual independence.
- Can help enhance student learning through mentoring relationships with faculty.
- Provides students with the opportunity to engage in professional scholarly work in their chosen field.
- Helps students to promote better oral and written presentation skills through presentations at on-campus forums or local, state, regional, or national conferences.
- Fosters a sense of accomplishment in student participants.
- Helps to promote an innovation-oriented culture among students.
- Helps students to build an identity as a group.
- Helps provide effective career preparation so students are better qualified for their chosen vocations-better qualified for the job market.
- Helps to increase acceptance/enrollment in graduate education and with getting teaching assistantships or fellowships
- The ability to do quality research may help with earning a raise or a promotion in future employment.
Expectations and Coursework
In order to maintain candidacy and after admittance to the Honors Program, candidates and members are expected to demonstrate a high level of participation in class-discussion, reports, debates, and presentations. They are also expected to demonstrate abilities such as the following: thinking, discussing, writing, analyzing, synthesizing, and gathering and presenting information from a variety of sources and viewpoints.
The Honors Program consists of social events, coursework, non-credit and service opportunities, and attendance at the research or creative project presentations of others in the Honors Program. Members are expected to maintain an overall GPA of 3.5 or higher.
Major Courses or Upper Division Courses with Honors Components (9-12 credits)
These are courses that students take in order to earn a particular degree in a particular major. The student will choose, or the faculty of a particular major may dictate, which courses in that major will be taken as Honors courses.
- Two (2) courses in the student's major designated for honors credit (3-4 credits each)
- An additional upper-division course (3-4 credits), such as an additional course in the major, an Honors-level independent study, an Honors course outside the major; or a second research project.
Research Sequence (5 credits)
These credits are not in addition to the required credits for graduation but will serve as part of the credits for graduation. These credits are remuneration for the time and effort invested in the research or creative project.
- HNRS 2011, Honors Introduction to Research or Creative Projects (1 credit)-fall of junior year after admittance into the Honors Program
- HNRS 4993 or XXXX 4993, Honors Research or Creative Project (3 credits)--spring junior year or fall senior year
Students will choose a faculty advisor in their major field who will guide them in the preparation of a proposal for the scholarly research or creative project. At least two additional faculty, one in the discipline area and one outside of the discipline, will be chosen by the student in conjunction with the faculty advisor to serve as a supervisory committee for the project.
The proposal for the research or creative project should be presented to the Honors Oversight Committee for approval before the research or creative project is started, no later than 12 months before the final presentation of the project (usually late fall or early spring of the junior year)
- HNRS 400X, Honors Senior Seminar (1-2 credit)--fall or spring of senior year, written research or creative project and oral presentation
The final research paper or creative project and oral presentation and defense of the research or creative project should be at least 6 weeks prior to graduation and will require the approval of the supervisory and Honors Oversight committees (1 credit).
Additional academic credit can be earned if the student applies for extramural funding for their project or presents his or her project outside of SWU at an appropriate professional meeting or symposium.