The Honors Program
The Honors Program is designed to enhance the Spring Hill experience by offering a challenging and rewarding course of study to academically gifted and motivated students.
It is comprised of academic courses, seminar experiences and additional opportunities for service, leadership, cultural exploration, and social interaction on and off campus.
Honor-student-only courses constitute approximately one third of an honors student’s Spring Hill College core curriculum coursework. Other academic requirements including calculus, a laboratory science course, and foreign language proficiency also fulfill the requirements of the core curriculum. The honors program academic requirements do not increase the number of hours required for graduation or for completion of any major or minor offered at Spring Hill.
Academically, the program begins freshman year. Honors students typically take honors student only sections of ENG 190 Honors Composition Literature I and PHL 190 Honors Introduction to Logic in the fall semester, and THL 190 Honors Western Religious Heritage, English 290 Honors Composition Literature II in the spring semester. Honors students are placed in ENG 190 regardless of AP, CLEP, IB or transfer English credit.
During the sophomore and junior years, students take at least four more honors courses and typically complete other honors program academic requirements. History and philosophy honors-only courses are usually offered in the fall and theology and social science honors only courses in the spring. The topics of these courses may change each year and have included:
- Philosophy of Religion
- Philosophy of Human Nature
- Honors Modern European History
- Honors Modern American History
- Catholic Social Thought
- Worship as Ethics
- Christian Beginnings
- Christology/ Trinity
- World Religions
- Cultural Anthropology
- International Economics
- International Politics
- American Political Thought
Students can opt to take all four honors-only courses during their sophomore year, or may choose to take some in their junior year. A student may also take a non-honors course for honors program requirements with the approval of both the instructor of the course and the honors program director and in consultation with the student’s major academic advisor. Students typically complete the calculus, laboratory science and language requirements by the end of their third year. Honors students are especially encouraged to attain intermediate proficiency in a foreign language and, if appropriate for their goals, to consider taking introductory courses in a second foreign language.
During the senior year, students complete their honors program requirements by formally presenting their research or an appropriate project completed in their major or minor field of study. Typically, this presentation is part of Celebration of Our Learning Day held in the spring, but a presentation in an approved public forum such as an undergraduate conference or a juried art exhibition may also satisfy this requirement.
Freshman and Senior Seminars
First-year Honors Program students are placed in a freshman seminar group specific to the honors program. This seminar is designed to assist new students in adjusting successfully to college life at Spring Hill. The honors freshman seminar includes opportunities for leadership development, service and social interactions (like game nights, movie nights and book clubs), as well as information about academic and student life policies and procedures. Other honors students serve as freshman seminar leaders and the director or members of the faculty honors committee serve as the freshman seminar adviser. The honors program director typically serves as the formal academic advisor for all first-year honors students.
Senior year honors program students participate in an honors senior seminar. This seminar is intended to encourage students to get the most out of their last year at Spring Hill College and to adjust successfully to life after college. It includes career and graduate school workshops, workshops on presentation skills, opportunities for social interaction, and opportunities for service and leadership. The seminar can be taken for either one credit or zero credits. Students in the seminar may be asked to help organize activities like Celebration of Our Learning Day, a lecture series, or a book club.
Service, Leadership and Cultural opportunities
Many honors students are already very active serving our community through the Foley Center, and through the philanthropic activities of clubs and organizations on campus. The honors program undergraduate council (currently being organized by the honors program director) will be charged with helping to organize service activities for the honors program and to make honors program students aware of service opportunities both on and off campus. For example, plans are being made to participate in a Habitat for Humanity build in the fall semester, and perhaps to sponsor a blood drive in the spring. The honors program undergraduate council will be charged as well with advising the honors program director and helping to organize a variety of cultural and social activities both on and off campus. Students on the council, and in the program, are encouraged to undergo leadership training. They are encouraged to organize movie nights, game nights, book clubs, informal lecture series, cultural outings (such a trips to art museums, or the opera) and other activities that are open to honors students and often the whole Spring Hill community. Such events are not mandatory for students to attend, but students are strongly encouraged to attend.