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The honors program is home to a dynamic community of freethinkers and ambitious minds. Honors students are actively involved in shaping their educational experience at Elms, collaborating closely with peers, peer mentors, and faculty as they explore topics they’re passionate about.

Scholars in the honors program go beyond the boundaries of “major” and “minor.” Instead, they work at the crossroads, unleashing their curiosity and making connections between academic disciplines. They thrive in grey areas, enjoy asking tough questions, and push themselves because they want to, not because they have to.

Holistic education is a central value of the honors program. Our students embrace this mentality by engaging in:

  • academic excellence
  • experiential learning
  • ethical leadership
  • innovative thinking

And, while graduating with honors adds prestige to your resume, it also reflects a deep commitment to learning in diverse settings. We therefore encourage students in our program to participate in undergraduate research, service and study abroad experiences, evening seminars, field trips, guest speaker lectures, and other co-curricular activities.

Program Components

Peer Mentoring and Leadership Roles

The honors program promotes a culture of success through mentorship, discussion, and dialogue. First-year students are paired with a returning sophomore or junior and encouraged to ask questions about anything related to college life, including advanced study. Social gatherings are held regularly throughout the year as well.

Transformational Experiences

Honors students approach education with the mindset that learning doesn’t take place in a vacuum. Instead, they seek out new opportunities to apply their skills to bring about positive change in the world. Study abroad, mission trips, internships, independent studies, and experiential learning are all ways that our students personalize their academics at Elms. Significant financial assistance is available from the college for these opportunities.

Honors Curriculum

In order to graduate with the Elms College Honors designation, qualified students must demonstrate through coursework and experiential learning that they have:

  • taken the requisite advanced-level courses
  • maintained an overall GPA
  • completed an Honors Senior project

The honors curriculum is founded upon the following 18 credit requirements:

  • Honors First Year Seminar (6 credits)

    In this course sequence students will discuss the works of world leaders that have changed history through their intellect, innovation, and courage. Students will gain exposure to the liberal arts by reading works from different disciplines and by participating in seminar discussions led by honors faculty members. Honors students participate in “Elms Essentials,” Springfield Public Forum events, and the Elms Innovation Challenge. They also engage with the “Common Read” for the year.
  • Honors Coursework (9 credits)

    Honors students take three classes in any of the liberal arts or in their professional field of study at honors level. Only classes at the 200 level and above can qualify for honors credit. Students should petition the faculty of these classes to request an honors-level designation.
  • Honors Internship or Independent Senior Project (3 credits)

    This is a major-specific course, although students may petition to work in a field outside their major. Students will work one-on-one with a faculty mentor. This course can be based upon an internship, independent research project, teaching assistantship, or it can be built into a pre-existing capstone course. Faculty supervise the project and its accompanying presentation at the annual Honors Project Show in the Borgia Gallery. An award will be given for the most innovative project.