HON 110 students, wearing matching shirts, jump for a photo in the amphitheater on campus.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are honors classes like?

    All honors classes are small (no more than 20 students) allowing for greater discussion and interaction. The courses are designed to allow students to take responsibility for their own learning, to work collaboratively, and to encourage experiential learning. All are intended to foster creative and critical thinking skills. Active participation and shared inquiry are encouraged.

  • Are honors courses harder than regular university courses?

    Honors courses are not intended to be harder than regular courses just for the sake of being harder, but they challenge students. You are more likely to practice critical thinking skills, engage in abstraction and synthesis, and work independently. Perhaps the instructor will go into more depth or use more primary sources. We advise the instructors that honors courses should be designed to challenge and that the students can be counted on to actively participate in class each day. For these reasons, they may be viewed as harder than "regular" courses by non-honors students. However, many honors students note that they enjoy the honors class format more than regular classes.

  • Will my grades drop as a result of taking honors courses?

    Experience indicates that the answer is no. Actually, many students do their best work in honors courses. Your grades, of course, depend on your own motivation, study habits and interest.

  • Is there a different grading scale in honors courses?

    There is no predetermined curve in honors classes (or any classes). Theoretically it is possible for all students in an honors course to earn a grade of A. Honors courses count the same as all other courses in calculating a student's grade point average (GPA). That is, they are not weighted in determining the GPA.

  • Do I have to do all four years of the program?

    In order to graduate with University Honors, a student must complete the required hours of honors sections and seminars and departmental honors. Or, a student may enter the program as a junior/senior, complete the thesis project only, and graduate with Departmental Honors only.

  • How do I get ready for departmental honors?

    You should start to think about departmental honors early in your college career and begin talking with faculty members about their work and your interests. Learn from other students about the entry process, talk to your honors academic advisor, and get to know the faculty in your major. Although the project is usually undertaken in the senior year, you should begin to prepare well before that. In order to prepare, many students do a directed independent study (491 and, in some majors, 291) course to investigate a topic or perhaps work closely with a professor in a lab or research setting. Watch for workshops on “Preparing for Departmental Honors” each semester. Also consider taking HON 191 your first year.

  • What do I have to do to remain in the 4-year program? What is "good standing?"

    To maintain good standing in the Honors College, a student must earn a GPA of at least 3.3 at the completion of 27 hours (or 2 semesters) and reach a GPA of 3.5 or higher at the completion of 58 hours and thereafter. Students must also be making progress on their Honors course requirements. In the senior year, students must be enrolled in 499. It is to a student's advantage to complete all the university honors sections and honors seminar requirements in the first two years, but a student may use later years to finish honors requirements if necessary. In the first year, all required cultural and service activities must be completed.

    Good standing is required for a student to register for honors sections and seminars, to receive priority registration, to be awarded honors merit scholarships (including renewal of an honors merit scholarship), and to obtain honors tickets for cultural events.

  • How is my honors work formally recognized?
    All honors courses and seminars are indicated as honors on your transcript. When students complete all required hours of honors seminars and honors university studies sections, they are recognized with a certificate and a UNCW Honors Scholar pin. When students also complete the 499 project requirements, they graduate with University Honors and honors in the major. This is noted on the transcript, diploma, and in the graduation program. They also receive a medallion that they wear to graduation.