Education department faculty members strongly encourage qualified students to participate in the Honors Program.  Those who enter Calvin with a composite ACT score of 29+ or an SAT score of 1290+ or Canadian cumulative marks of 91% or higher are automatically eligible to participate.  Continuing students need to have a cumulative GPA of 3.3 to be admitted to the Honors Program and a 3.5 to graduate with honors. 

Honors Program in Education Overview

To graduate with honors in education a student must meet the following requirements:

  1. Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 overall and total of six honors courses (18 hours minimum)
    • At least two honors courses in the education department, one of which could be IDIS 205
    • At least two honors courses in the student’s major
      • For Elementary Education students, those courses need to be the major or minor other than their Elementary Education Major.
      • For Secondary Education students, those courses need to be in the major in which they are seeking certification.
      • For students in the special education: cognitive impairment major, those courses must come from the following list of courses: EDUC 306, 310, 330.
      • For students in early childhood major those courses must come from the following list of courses: EDUC 236, 238, 312, 335, 337, 339.
      • The same course cannot be used to satisfy both the education department honors requirement (item 1a) and the honors requirement in the major or minor.
    • At least one honors course outside of the education department and the student’s major or minor.
  2. Completion of a pre-approved Honors Research Project in education with an education professor.
    • The  Honors Research Project proposal must be submitted for approval to the chair of the education department two semesters prior to graduation (by November 1 or April 1).
    • We generally discourage students from completing the project during student teaching.
    • The results of this project must be shared at a public gathering.


Students who are interested in graduating with honors in education should complete a Plan for Graduating with Honors in Education with the advisor in the education department in consultation with their advisors in the department of their major or minor concentration(s).

The Honors Research Project

Students must develop a written proposal for an Honors Research Project. Examples include, but are not limited to, a meta-analysis of existing research or a theoretical or conceptual exploration of the pedagogical, sociological, historical, political or philosophical dimensions of education. The choice of project type will be made by the student scholar and a project supervisor (see below). The project may be done as part of a research assistantship with an Education professor who would typically be the project supervisor.

An Honors Project generally demands substantial initiative and independent work by the student, but the work is to be guided by two faculty members with expertise in areas relevant to the project.  Students should seek out a project supervisor from the education department and a second supervisor, perhaps from another department.  The project supervisor helps the student refine the topic, advises the student about critical background reading to prepare the proposal, approves the proposal, reads and comments on drafts, and determines, in consultation with the second supervisor, whether the project has been completed.  The second supervisor reads and gives feedback on the proposal and reviews and provides input on the final product.  (Note:  The research supervisors are not necessarily the student’s designated, academic advisors.)

After designing the project with the project supervisors, the Honors Project proposal must be submitted for approval to the chair of the education department two semesters prior to graduation (by November 1 or April 1). Proposals must contain the following:

  • a 500-700 word essay explaining the project;
  • an annotated bibliography of at least 5 sources;
  • a schedule of deadline dates for completing steps in the project;
  • signatures of both the Project and second supervisors of the project.

Completed Honors Projects must be submitted to the chair of the education department by December 1 in the fall or by April 15 during Spring Semester.  Because projects must be completed before Honors Convocation, students should be aware of the shorter timeline in the spring and are encouraged instead to complete their project during fall semester.  Completion of the Honors Project should not occur during student teaching so that success in meeting requirements for both experiences is not jeopardized.

The chair of the education department will schedule an appropriate public event at which students will present their honors research.  This will be an informal and celebratory event at which students will discuss their initial interest in their project, offer a short summary of what they did, describe what they learned and comment on their continuing interests and enduring questions.