Basic Requirements & Honors Challenges

Basic Requirements

There are three basic requirements for students in the Honors Program.

1. GPA Requirement:

Maintain a 3.5 grade point average.

Students whose overall GPA falls below 3.5 are placed on probation for one semester.  If their GPA rises above 3.5 by the end of the probationary semester, they are removed from probation. If their GPA remains below 3.5 for two consecutive semesters, they are dismissed from the program.  However, any dismissed student can request to rejoin the program if their GPA rises back to 3.5.


2. Four Challenge Requirement:

To graduate with Honors, students must complete a total of four academic challenges that span across the academic divisions. Each student can pursue these challenges as best fits their interests and academic schedules. Each student must complete at least one Individual Challenge — TraditionalResearch or Creative — that is pursued one-on-one with a faculty supervisor.  Students must complete at least one Challenge each year to remain in good standing in program. Types of challenges includes:

  • Honors First-Year Seminar (FYS): A first-year seminar designed expressly for Honors Program students. Fall 2016 FYS course descriptions with Honors sections are labeled as “Honors”. The Honors FYS grade must be B+ or better to qualify as a successful challenge. No Paperwork Needed

  • Honors Seminars (HS): One-credit seminars restricted to Honors Program students. These classes change every semester and are among the most popular challenge option among the Honors students. Seminars involve in-depth study and discussion of a topic from disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspectives. Students selecting Honors Seminars should be mindful of the divisional requirements (see below).  The Honors Seminar grade must be B+ or better to qualify as a successful challenge. No Paperwork Needed

  • Second Major: A student completes a double major as a challenge. The GPA in both majors must be at least 3.3 (B+) to qualify as a challenge. Education counts as a second major. Paperwork Needed
  • Semester Abroad: A student can complete a full semester-long (minimum of 12 weeks) study at a non-US college or university, supervised by a Hartwick faculty member. The grade point average during the period of off-campus study must be at least 3.3 (B+) to qualify as a challenge. Paperwork Needed

  • Special Academic Achievement: A student with an extraordinary academic accomplishment may apply for Honors Challenge credit. It must involve some external review and evaluation. Presenting a paper or poster session at a national conference, having a paper published in a refereed journal, or winning an academic award from a national organization are all examples. Paperwork Needed

  • Individual Challenges (all students must complete at least one)
    • Traditional Challenges are pursued within the framework of a course and must be clearly “above and beyond” the ordinary graded course requirements. Typically students will compose an extra research paper of 8 to 10 pages; however, other projects are possible, including doing additional laboratory work, presentations, specialized research, etc. Please consult the Honors co-chairs if you have any questions about a potential project. The challenge work does not count toward the normal course requirements, but it must be completed by the end of the term and the overall grade for it and the course must be “B+” or better. The Honors Program Honors Committee sets due dates for Traditional Challenge proposals twice a year, usually in October and March.  Paperwork Needed – Proposal to start and an summary Abstract upon completion.

    • Research Challenges are pursued independently with a faculty member from any division, any department. They are not connected to a particular course and need not be completed in one semester (although we recommend that students do not take more than two semesters to finish). In the past, Honors students have composed research papers (usually 8 -10 pages), run experiments, done field research, and many other types projects. An internships or community based service learning project that does not earn credit may serve as a research challenge. Please consult with one of the co-directors before submitting such a proposal. The Honors Program Honors Committee set due dates for Research Challenge proposals twice a year, usually in early October and March. The project is not credit bearing, and must be at a level of B+ or better to qualify as a successful challenge. Paperwork Needed – Proposal to start and an summary Abstract upon completion.

    • Creative Challenges are pursued independently with faculty from the Art, Music, English and Theater departments (although sometimes with collaborations from other faculty). They are not connected to a particular course and need not be completed in one semester (although we recommend that students do not take more than two semesters to finish). In the past, Honors students have composed short stories, screenplays, poems, children’s books, and novellas. Others have composed musical works, sung or played recitals, or performed plays. And many have created fine art portfolios of photographs, illustrations, paintings, ceramics, sculpture, or mixed media. The project is not credit bearing, and must be at a level of B+ or better to qualify as a successful challenge. The Honors Program Honors Committee sets due dates for Creative Challenge proposals twice a year, usually in October and March. Paperwork Needed – Proposal to start and an summary Abstract upon completion.

3. Divisional Requirements:

Of the four challenges completed, a student must successfully complete one Honors Challenge in each of these three Divisions: Arts & Humanities, Physical & Life Sciences, and Social & Behavioral Sciences.  Interdisciplinary courses and projects are possible as well.  Consult with the co-chairs on how these can be categorized. The departments within the three Divisions are:

Arts & Humanities:

  • Art & Art History
  • English
  • Modern Languages (including French, German, Spanish)
  • Music (including Music Education)
  • Philosophy & Religious Studies
  • Theatre Arts

Physical & Life Sciences:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Geological & Environmental Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Nursing
  • Physics

Social & Behavioral Sciences:

  • Anthropology
  • Business Administration & Accounting (including Finance)
  • Economics
  • Education
  • History
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
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