Biology & Marine Biology

Honors Program

The Honors Scholars College provides academically talented students with innovative and unique educational experiences. The program encourages curiosity, critical thinking, and independent work skills by offering exciting academic and cultural activities as well as the opportunity for close working and social relationships with the faculty.

Admissions to Honors

Check with the Honors director for specific requirements at each level. Multiple points of entry into the Honors Scholars Program are possible:

  • As entering freshman
  • As sophomores (based on high academic achievement in freshman year, including transfer students)
  • As juniors/seniors in Departmental Honors (including transfer students)

Program Requirements for Graduation with University Honors

To graduate with University Honors, a student must:

  1. complete at least 12 credit hours of basic studies courses honors sections*
  2. complete six credits of "Interdisciplinary Honors Seminars" (HON 110 and HON 210)*
  3. complete two credits of "Honors Enrichment Seminar" (HON 120)*
  4. maintain academic eligibility: at the completion of 27 credit-hours at UNCW, an overall grade point average of 3.00 or better in all coursework is required. An overall grade point average of 3.20 or better must be established by the completion of 58 credit hours and maintained thereafter.
  5. earn a minimum of a "C" (2.00) in all honors work ("B" (3.00) in 499 and honors contract courses) and have a 3.00 overall GPA in all honors curriculum coursework. If a student earns a grade below a "C" in an honors basic studies course, the grade may count toward that student's basic studies requirements but not toward his or her honors requirements. If that student wishes to complete the honors requirements for University Honors, he or she must take an additional honors basic studies course and earn no lower than a "C." Students earning below a "C" in HON 210 or HON 120 must take additional seminars, respectively, and earn no lower than a "C."
  6. complete requirements for Departmental Honors (see below)

*Note: students entering after the fall of the freshman year must complete HON 210, two credit hours of HON 120, and at least nine hours of honors basic studies.

Honors Courses

These courses are restricted to students formally enrolled in the Honors Scholars Program or others admitted by permission of the Honors director after consultation with the course instructor.

Honors sections of basic studies courses: Each semester several honors sections of basic studies courses will be offered on a rotating basis. These sections are usually restricted to 20 students to allow for enhanced student-faculty interaction and discussion.

Honors Seminars: Three kinds of honors interdisciplinary seminars are offered each year. HON 110 is a team-taught, three-hour course designed to introduce all freshman honors students to the college experience by direct involvement in research, service, and leadership activities. This course may not be repeated for additional credit. HON 120 is a one-hour enrichment seminar that requires student participation in a variety of campus visual/performing/cultural events, lectures, or research activities. This course may be elected by honors students at any level and may be repeated for a maximum of three semester hours. HON 210 is a three-hour interdisciplinary seminar that offers an in-depth investigation of a special topic using the approaches of several disciplines. This course may be repeated under different subtitles. For a listing of these seminars, see the COURSE DESCRIPTIONS section of the university catalogue.

Departmental Honors

Upperclassmen who qualify as candidates for Departmental Honors must perform outstanding scholarly work appropriate to the academic standards of the student's major in the form of a six-credit Departmental Honors project. A student who fulfills requirements for Departmental Honors will be acknowledged as having done so upon graduation.

A student who previously has not participated in the honors program may qualify as a candidate for Departmental Honors based on the student's grade-point average. Students with at least 74 semester hours credit who have a grade point average of 3.20 or better on all college work attempted, who have completed at least 30 semester hours of work with a 3.20 or better grade point average at UNCW, and who are recommended by the major department chair (or dean where appropriate) are eligible to enroll in coursework with a 499 designation which indicates the senior project in that discipline. Academic departments may require a higher grade point average for eligibility for Departmental Honors in their discipline.

Departments in each discipline determine appropriate preparatory academic experiences for Departmental Honors in that field. Candidates for Departmental Honors may fulfill preparation for senior capstone work beginning in the junior year through one or more of the following:

  1. Directed Individual Study (DIS) courses which lay the groundwork for more advanced projects
  2. Departmental or interdisciplinary seminars and/or internships which encourage independent work in a variety of ways such as performance, research, service
  3. Study Abroad and/or National Student Exchange
  4. Honors components of regular department courses: "Honors Contract" courses at the 300 or 400 level in which an honors student and his or her instructor enter into a contract which stipulates enhanced academic responsibilities for the student, such as presentations or papers. Successful performance in such classes would be identified by an "Honors" label on the course as it appears in the student's transcript.

The Departmental Honors project culminates in independent study under the supervision of a faculty member in the student's major field. This independent study must be completed in two three-credit hour semesters or three two-credit hour semesters. The results of the honors work are summarized in a paper and presented orally before an examining committee.

Co-Curricular Activities

Students will be offered opportunities and incentives to participate in co-curricular activities such as field trips, campus events, study abroad and community events.

Honors House

The Honors House is a living-learning environment for students enrolled in UNCW's Honors Program. The Honors House features a dynamic student population with members committed to student leadership, scholarship, and service. In order to participate in the Honors Program and reside in the Honors House, residents must meet the following qualifications: (1) be enrolled in the Honors Program at UNCW; (2) be a full-time student each semester; (3) be in good standing with the university's student judicial program; and (4) be an active member of the community.