Joel Westra

Challenging the best

For almost forty years Calvin College has challenged its best students through The Calvin Honors Program.

Today, the program seeks to nurture outstanding students through a wide variety of activities so they will be equipped for leadership in service to God, their communities and the world at large.

Get support from Calvin's award-winning faculty

Developing strong relationships with faculty mentors is the key to your success both at Calvin, and after college. These professors will help you accomplish your goals and guide you in preparing for grad school and planning your career. As a student scholar at Calvin, you will have priority access to this support system:

Why you should be an honors student

  • You will work closely with professors to explore research topics that fascinate you.
  • Your class sizes will be smaller, so you will have more personal attention from your prof.
  • You can take courses that allow you to dig deeper in a broad range of disciplines, from engineering and nursing to literature and philosophy.
  • You will join a community of highly-motivated peers who enjoy learning as much as you do.
  • You will have opportunities for paid research fellowships and other jobs.
  • You will have special help seeking grad school fellowships.


The Calvin Honors Program offers many ways to engage your studies more deeply. You can take a few courses for honors, or you can fulfill the requirements to graduate with honors distinction. Types of honors courses include honors core courses, honors cluster courses, honors contract courses and the honors thesis. 

The Honors community

Go beyond the classroom with The Calvin Honors Program. You can choose to live with other honors students in the Honors Living-Learning Community, attend special discussions with other honors students during The January Series or serve on the Honors Council. 

The Calvin Research Fellows Program

The new Calvin Research Fellows Program is a competitive opportunity extended to about 20 first-year students, regardless of their participation within the Calvin Honors Program. Fellows receive a a $1,000 voucher for off-campus program participation and have other exclusive opportunities, as well as first priority to work alongside faculty on ongoing research projects. Research work includes a generous stipend.

What students are saying about The Calvin Honors Program

“I am especially grateful for the challenging honors courses I took at Calvin, which prepared me exceptionally well for the rigors of law school.”

“The professors that I had in my honors courses at Calvin became my friends. Because the classes were small, I got a chance to really get to know them.”

By the numbers

600+ students participate in The Calvin Honors Program each year.

225+ members of Calvin’s Class of 2010 are pursuing graduate degrees at nearly 100 different universities, including MIT, Cornell, Notre Dame, University of Michigan and University of California-Berkeley.

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