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Honors College Professor of Visual ArtsEllen Handler-Spitz
Program Management SpecialistMargaret Major
Honors College Advisory BoardMarie desJardins
Diane M. Lee
Katherine L. Seley-Radtke
Interim DirectorSimon Stacey
Academic AdvisorJessica Guzmán-Rea
Courses in this program are listed under HONR.
The Honors College provides a special opportunity for exceptional students seeking a community of diverse individuals for whom the quest for knowledge is its own reward. Coursework in Honors includes Honors seminars, service learning, internships, and independent research
The Honors College at UMBC
The Honors College is for students who seek exceptional intellectual stimulation and challenge. Students are offered a rich liberal arts experience through honors classes, internships, study abroad, and other extracurricular opportunities. One of the hallmarks of the program is specialized attention. Each semester, students receive individual advising from Honors College staff who are also available for consultation throughout the year. Membership in the Honors College is intentionally kept small. Limited to an enrollment of 500, the college seeks to have 125 new students matriculate each fall. Students admitted to the Honors College undertake general honors study in honors versions of regular classes and specially commissioned honors seminars. Honors seminars, the subjects of which vary from semester to semester, cover a wide variety of interdisciplinary topics. Honors courses have limited enrollment and afford participants the opportunity for close interaction with distinguished members of the UMBC faculty. The Honors College encourages the development of advanced-level honors curricula and assists honors students in developing their programs, applying to graduate or professional schools, and gaining financial support for research and graduate study. Recent Honors College graduates have been accepted into programs at Princeton, Columbia, Yale, Stanford, University of Pennsylvania, Oxford, Cambridge, Duke, Harvard, NYU and Georgetown, among others. Students who complete the Honors College curriculum graduate with a Certificate of General Honors, which is noted on their transcript.
Incoming Honors College freshmen attend a special honors orientation along with students in the specialty Scholars Programs. The program provides students with the opportunity to meet other new students, as well as faculty, staff and current students. They learn about university requirements and, with the help of faculty and peer advisors, begin to plan their academic careers. A parent orientation is also scheduled.
Honors College students schedule advising appointments in the Honors College each semester. The faculty and staff of the Honors College are available to honors students for advising concerning academic programs, course selection, study abroad, prestigious scholarships, independent study and research options and graduate or professional school admissions. All Honors College students are encouraged to visit the Honors College on a regular basis for informal conversation with the staff and other students.
Entering Honors College freshmen enroll in Honors 100, which meets weekly in the fall semester. Honors Forum introduces students to academic methods and disciplines as they interact with faculty and creative artists. Students are expected to do and present research, participate in campus activities, and reflect on what it means to be full members of a community of learning.
Honors seminars involve more in-depth treatment of topics, and some resemble graduate seminars in their small size, depth, intensity of scholarship, and in the special character of the relationship engendered by working closely with faculty members and other students. Honors seminars are generally limited to no more than 25 students. Each semester the Honors College offers 4 or 5 Honors seminars for students to choose from.
Honors Sections of Regular Classes
These are often introductory level courses, such as Ideas and Images in American Culture (AMST 100H), Concepts of Biology (BIOL 141H), and East Asian Civilization (HIST 103H), but there are also some 300- and 400-level honors sections for advanced undergrads in the Honors College. The honors section explores a topic at greater depth, introduces material not covered in the regular course, requires an added amount of writing and features considerable dialogue among students and faculty.
Experiential Learning and Research Courses in Honors
An applied learning experience is required to receive the Certificate of Honors. The Honors College offers a few courses that can give Honors students academic credit for their Applied Learning Experience. These are HONR 390: Reflections on Community Service; HONR 400: Independent Research; HONR 410: Honors Internship, and HONR 490: Senior Honors Project.
Honors in the Major
Many UMBC major programs have developed honors tracks for graduating with departmental honors. All members of the Honors College are encouraged to pursue their majors with honors where the opportunity exists. Departmental honors courses may count toward Honors College requirements as well.
The Honors College Living-Learning Community offers the opportunity for some members of the Honors College to continue their collaborative learning experiences in a relaxed residential setting. Students are able to pursue a range of academic and social activities with like-minded colleagues. At the same time, they will develop strong friendships through common goals, classes, conversation and fun.
The Honors College encourages its students to take part in study abroad programs. Generally, students who wish to complete international studies during the academic year should be juniors. In past years, Honors College students have studied in the Netherlands, China, Spain, Italy, Guatemala, England, Australia and New Zealand, among other places.
The Honors College offers scholarships that are awarded to current students for research and independent study during summer session. In addition, the Jay Freyman Scholarships offer financial assistance to Honors College students pursuing an international educational experience.
Prestigious Scholarship Programs
In collaboration with the Office of the Provost, the Honors College seeks out potential applicants for a variety of grants and fellowships for undergraduate, graduate and international studies, including the most prestigious, such as the Rhodes, Gates-Cambridge, Marshall, and Goldwater scholarships.
Application to the Honors College
Admission to the Honors College is highly selective; the college seeks to enroll a maximum of 125 new students each fall semester. For consideration, the applicant must complete the university’s application, as well as submit the Honors College application. In reviewing applications, the Honors College places special emphasis on the written material submitted. For high school applicants, the strength of the high school curriculum, GPA and standardized test scores are also very important. Applicants should have a strong college preparatory curriculum that includes honors, Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate coursework and an exceptional standardized test score (SAT or ACT). In recent years, the average SAT score for incoming freshmen has been above 2100, and the average weighted high school GPA above 4.2. Transfer students, as well as students currently enrolled at UMBC, may apply for admission to the Honors College by submitting the materials outlined above. Transfer students should have a minimum cumulative college GPA of 3.5, but most admitted transfers in recent years have had an entering GPA above 3.7.
All freshman applicants will be considered for the following Honors College scholarships if they apply by the January 15 deadline. The Honors College Fellow Award is given to one Honors College applicant who demonstrates the highest degree of achievement and academic curiosity. This scholarship provides a fixed-dollar, four-year award covering incoming tuition, mandatory fees, room and board. There are also several Honors College Scholars Awards given to outstanding freshman students and transfers. These scholarships provide $1,000 per year.
Honors College students must maintain a 3.25 cumulative GPA each year and complete two honors courses per year. In addition to HONR 100 and a college-level writing course, a minimum of six honors courses with grades of “B” or better are required for the completion of the Honors Certificate. Honors courses must be taken across the undergraduate disciplines. All students who successfully complete the Honors College academic requirements and graduate with a cumulative 3.25 GPA or higher are granted a Certificate of General Honors. The Certificate is awarded at an Honors College Medallion Ceremony at the time of graduation and is recorded on the student’s academic transcript.