What are Honors Learning Outcomes?
The University Honors Program engages students in meeting four key learning outcomes related to the program’s mission, vision, and values. All Honors graduates demonstrate significant progress on these learning outcomes, assessed at each stage of the curriculum with work and reflections submitted in the University Honors Program Canvas course:
- Critical Thinking: Students develop skill in thinking critically and respectfully about their own and others’ ideas.
- Independent Research: Students develop skill in conducting research by engaging in the process of discovery and sharing of their findings with others.
- Interdisciplinary Learning: Students develop skill in connecting ideas and developing academic/professional relationships across disciplines.
- Community Engagement: Students develop skill in finding active, positive engagement with their local, national, and global communities.
What are Honors Points?
Honors points track each student's progress toward completing program requirements and meeting learning outcomes. Because these requirements map flexibly and meaningfully onto any major, students can customize their honors experience to achieve their personal and professional goals. Honors points mark progress toward these goals by giving students credit for the essential work of developing mentoring relationships with professors, building portfolios of independent project-based work, and articulating the value of a USU education.
How Do Students Earn Honors Points?
Students meet requirements in the four key areas of the Honors curriculum in many different ways, and they earn points each time they do so and submit approved work in the University Honors Program Canvas course. The point maximums and recommendations below are designed to guide rather than dictate progress toward graduation with University Honors:
Honors students engage with the USU community by attending and reflecting on on-campus or virtual co-curricular events, as recommended by the Honors Program. Honors students earn half a point when they attend and submit a reflection on a qualified co-curricular event. Students can earn a maximum of 6 points for co-curricular engagement during their time in the USU Honors Program.
Honors courses are designed to create Honors community across disciplines and to meet USU’s General Education or other major requirements. Students earn 1-4 points (1 credit = 1 point) for every Honors course or section they take.
Honors requires at least one Honors Introductory Experience (fulfills USU General Education breadth requirements) for incoming first-year students (3 points).
Students can earn 1-4 points (dependent on credit) for every other Honors course (HONR) or Honors section of a departmental course (H) they take, including additional Honors Introductory Experiences.
Honors in Practice (HIP) allows students to apply their academic knowledge outside the classroom. HIP dares students to think imaginatively and practically about the value of experiential learning by engaging in research, creative projects, community service, and interdisciplinary collaboration. This work often lays the foundation for both Honors capstone projects and future professional paths by training students to take responsibility for their own learning and to communicate its value to others. Honors offers various pathways toward earning the recommended 9 to 12 points for HIP.
In their final semesters, all Honors students complete an Honors Capstone Project earning a total of 5 Honors points (1 point each for the proposal and work plan, which prepare students for success, and then 3 points for the capstone itself). The ultimate “Dare to Know,” the Honors Capstone empowers students to follow their curiosity, express their passions, and demonstrate their growth by managing a long-term project on the topic of their choice. Honors Capstones offer professional training, opportunities to shape graduate school essays and publications, and evidence of independent initiative. Capstone mentors provide students with detailed recommendation letters, reliable advice about how to structure and complete their projects, connections to other professionals in their fields, and insight into the pursuit of professional goals.
- To get started, first-year students can review a recommended sample plan, and students who enter the University Honors Program after their first year can refer to our Notes for Current/Transfer Students.
Transfer or existing USU students must still earn 28 points to graduate with Honors, but most students enter with some Honors points awarded based on prior work articulated in their applications. Students should schedule an appointment with an Honors advisor to map Honors requirements onto their individual USU degree plans.
Students can earn their 28 Honors points through a combination of the following:
- Credit for Past Work: Previous Honors course credits transfer directly (3 credits = 3 Honors points) and academic work outside the classroom typically earns 3 points per 20 hours. Students can earn 3 Honors points by documenting that they have passed ENGL 2010 (or equivalent) with at least a B. Students typically earn up to 9 points for past work.
- Credit for Present Work: During their 4-6 remaining semesters at USU, Honors students admitted after their first year can earn points as all Honors students do: they complete and document work in the four key areas of the Honors curriculum.
- Because the Honors curriculum is so carefully tailored to each student’s goals, please schedule an initial Honors advising appointment to create an individualized plan.
- Students document the achievement of these milestones by uploading materials under the appropriate assignments in the Honors Program Canvas course.