The Honors Scholars Program nurtures a sense of excellence, curiosity, and exploration across disciplinary boundaries within a committed community of student and faculty scholars.

Are you a deeply curious student that desires to engage big questions within a community of equally curious students and faculty scholars? Does the exploration of the spaces where the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences meet animate you? Are you intrigued by the thought of using a city as a textbook? Do you desire to develop your skills as a scholar while conducting research or generating a creative project alongside a faculty mentor? If so, you may be an excellent candidate for the Honors Scholars Program.

As an Honors Scholar, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Learn within a committed community of faculty and student scholars
  • Take Honors Core classes, taught by two faculty, that cross disciplinary boundaries and fulfill Core requirements
  • Use cities as textbooks during two “learning in place” Interims (one local and one off-campus)
  • Participate in upper-level interdisciplinary Honors colloquium courses with other academically-talented students to augment your major coursework
  • Conduct research in your discipline(s) with a faculty mentor during the preparation of an Honors Thesis or Project
  • Meet annually with an Honors Scholar advisor to maximize your academic opportunities
  • Apply for student research stipends and research-related travel funds through the Calvin Student Research Fellows program
  • Receive advice and support during the preparation of competitive national scholarship applications (e.g. Fulbright, Goldwater, etc.)
  • Add an 18th credit hour to your course load, free of charge
  • Earn graduation “with Honors” recognition at graduation and on your official transcript upon successful completion of the Honors Scholars Program requirements

How the Honors Scholars Program works

In their first and second years, a cohort of 44 students will complete six Honors courses as part of an alternative Honors Core curriculum. In each class of 20–24 students led by two faculty representing different areas of expertise, students will be asked to think about:

  • How disciplines like History and Literature might approach questions of justice and civic identity
  • How Literature and Theology might help us interrogate what it means to be human and what it means to be loved and called by God
  • How Art History and the Natural Sciences might push us to see the world more fully
  • How the Natural Sciences and Philosophy might lead us to think more carefully about evidence, ethics, and claims

As upper-level students, Honors Scholars participate in theme-based upper-level interdisciplinary Honors Colloquium courses and conduct research in their area of interest under the mentorship of a faculty scholar.

Curriculum and schedule

Year 1
  • HNRS 101: Community, Citizenship, and Identity in History and Literature (Fall, 5 credits)
  • HNRS 150: Learning in Place - Grand Rapids (Interim, 3 credits)
  • HNRS 102: God, Belief, and Belonging (Spring, 4 credits)

Upon completion of Year 1, Honors students will have fulfilled the following Core curriculum requirements: First Year Seminar, Historical Foundations, Theological Foundations I, Literature, and DCM

Year 2
  • HNRS 201: Seeing and Knowing (Fall, 5 credits)
  • HNRS 250: Learning in Place - Global (Interim or May Term, 3 credits)
  • HNRS 202: Scientific Inquiry and the Common Good (Spring, 4 credits)

Upon completion of Year 2, Honors students will have fulfilled the following Core curriculum requirements: Arts, Philosophical Foundations, Natural Science, Written Rhetoric, CCE

Years 3 and 4
  • HNRS 380: Honors Colloquium (3 credits)
  • Upper-level Choice (select one):
    • HNRS 380: Honors Colloquium (3 credits)
    • Advanced Language Coursework (6+ credits) - two semesters of language coursework beyond the language requirement associated with the major program of study
    • Approved Interdisciplinary Skill Development (6+ credits) - two courses, selected in consultation with an Honors Scholar advisor, in a discipline outside the major program of study; students may fulfill this requirement by completing a minor or second major
  • HNRS 399: Honors Thesis or Project (3 credits)

Graduation requirements

In order to be eligible for graduation “with Honors,” Honors Scholars must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Final cumulative GPA: 3.65 or higher
  • Completion of Honors Scholars Program Core Curriculum (see above)
  • Completion of Honors Scholars Program Upper-level Curriculum (see above)
  • Completion and approval of Honors Thesis or Project

Ready to apply?

If the Honors Scholars Program sounds like a good fit for your academic goals, and you've read the program requirements above, apply to join! Applications are due by December 1.

Apply to join the Honors Scholars Program