Jul 14, 2024  
2012-2014 Undergraduate Catalog 
2012-2014 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Honors Program

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs of Study

Special Undergraduate Academic and Co-Curricular Programs

The Rockhurst University Honors Program serves students who wish to reach beyond the ordinary in order to pursue their intellectual interests in the Ignatian spirit of magis. This means that we expect honors students to challenge themselves to reach greater and greater intellectual heights inside and outside the classroom. Most of the honors student’s intellectual and artistic experience will take place in the curriculum, but the program also sponsors a range of enriching co-curricular activities including academic conferences, service projects, and excursions to experience the arts.

Honors students may participate in the program while pursing any undergraduate degree. Beginning in the first year, honors students have special sections of core courses that are often small in enrollment. During the sophomore through senior years, honors students may earn honors credit through “honors options—individually designed projects that allow students to explore areas of their own interest under the mentorship of a professor. An honors option is typically an offshoot of a regular course, but an option can also be arranged as an independent study course. It is through the honors option that honors students shape their curriculum. The program also features an optional honors thesis, an in-depth, interdisciplinary project of special interest to the student. The thesis may serve as both a culminating accomplishment and as a preparation for graduate study.

Further Benefits

  • early pre-registration for courses
  • smaller classes
  • honors living and learning community
  • camaraderie with other honors students
  • honors co-curricular activities: book discussions, trips to the opera, symphony, art galleries
  • chance to work individually with professors
  • interaction with honors students at other colleges and universities
  • opportunity to attend or present at conferences such as the National Collegiate Honors Conference, National Jesuit Honors Conference, and the Great Plains Honors Conference
  • honors study room/lounge
  • honors designation on your diploma and transcript, honors cord at graduation
  • special recognition at the Student Achievement Reception


Applicants must complete a brief application and submit a personal essay based on our specific prompt in the application. While we exercise judgment and flexibility in selecting motivated individuals to admit to the Program, honors students typically meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • ACT Composite of 28 or higher
  • SAT Composite of 1230 or higher
  • Upper 10% of high school class
  • High School GPA of 3.5 or higher
  • College GPA of 3.3 or higher


To graduate from the program, students must have active status, complete a minimum of 24 hours of honors credit, and earn a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or above. Additional information on the Honors Program may be obtained from the Director of the Honors Program, and interested students may also visit the Rockhurst University website.

HON 3500 - Leaders in History, Culture, and Literature

This course introduces students to models of leadership, using literature, history, film, and art to understand how leaders act. In the Ignatian Jesuit tradition, the course encourages the development of personal leadership traits such as self-awareness, imagination, critical thinking, and ethical responsibility.

Prerequisite: Writing proficiency.

HON 4940 - Honors Thesis

The Honors Thesis is an in-depth, interdisciplinary project of special interest to the student. The student can choose to complete original research or creative work using methods recognized by practicing scholars. In all cases there must be a written product that includes elements appropriate to the relevant disciplines, such as a research question or hypothesis, methods section, discussion of findings, academic argument, etc. The Honors Program requires the project to be interdisciplinary and to posses the depth, quality, or scope indicative of honors work. In consultation with the Honors Director, the student will choose a thesis committee made up of a thesis advisor, a second faculty member reader, and the Honors Director. The thesis advisor will be a faculty member who is grounded in a relevant discipline and who will become the instructor of record.

Prerequisite: Junior standing.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs of Study