University Honors Program

University Honors Program

Sherri Dienstfrey-Swanson, Ph.D., Director
Rendezvous Building, Room 323
921 S 8th Ave Stop 8010
Pocatello ID 83209-8010
Office: (208) 282-3662

The University Honors Program is an academic learning community that offers a broad range of enriched educational experiences, typically found at a small private college, for bright, talented, and ambitious undergraduate students. The main goals of the program are:

  1. To provide a challenging and imaginative curriculum;
  2. To prepare students for a post-graduate education through seminars, individual research, and one-on-one interaction with faculty; and
  3. To enrich the life of all honors students by fostering a spirit of ongoing inquiry and a love of learning.

The University Honors Program offers interdisciplinary, theme-driven course sequences in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. They are designed for students who are motivated to develop their critical and creative thinking in a more personalized atmosphere than may be expected in normal lower division courses. These courses are offered in small classes (25 maximum enrollment) by interested faculty, deal with broad and/or interdisciplinary issues, and confront some aspect of the human condition. Innovative teaching and assignments are encouraged, and interaction with faculty and class members is lively. Please check for this year’s core curriculum themes and additional information. Questions about the University Honors Program and courses may be directed to the address above.

The University Honors Program Curriculum fulfills many of the General Education Requirements.


Admission to the University Honors Program (UHP) is competitive. Please check for admission requirements.

Transfer students from honors programs at other institutions are welcome to apply to the University Honors Program, and honors credits will be evaluated. Students who wish to enter the program in their sophomore or junior years should consult with the Honors Program Director and/or Coordinator.

Student Progress

Students admitted to the Honors Program are required to maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.25. Students must show evidence of continuous progress toward their degrees. Students dropping below the 3.25 requirement have one probationary semester to raise the GPA before facing dismissal from the program.

Graduation from the University Honors Program

Members of the University Honors Program (UHP) can complete either an Honors Distinction or an Honors Degree. The Honors Distinction is noted on the student's transcript. The Honors Degree is noted on the student's diploma and transcript.

Requirements for Distinction in the University Honors Program

HONS 3391Honors Seminar1
Additional Honors coursework to reach 19 credits. (Coursework may include Honors Contract courses.)18
Total Hours19

Highly Suggested 1st Year Honors Courses:

ENGL 1101English Composition3
HONS 1101Honors Humanities I3
HONS 1102Honors Humanities II3

Honors coursework may include the following offerings:

ACAD 1111University Inquiry3
ANTH 2237Peoples and Cultures of the Old World3
CHEM 1111
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry I Lab
CHEM 1112
General Chemistry II
and General Chemistry II Lab
COMM 1101Principles of Speech3
EDUC 1110Education and Schooling in the U.S.3
EDUC 2204Families Community Culture3
ECON 2201Principles of Macroeconomics3
HONS 2220Information Research Techniques1
PHIL 1101Introduction to Philosophy3
POLS 1101Introduction to United States Government3
POLS 2202Introduction to Politics Critical Thinking and Analysis3
TGE 1257Applied Ethics in Technology3
THEA 1101Survey of Theatre3
THEA 1118Oral Interpretation of Literature3
Honors sections of other academic courses may be offered as opportunities arise.

Requirements for Degree in the University Honors Program

Completion of Honors Distinction19
Upper Division Honors Contract Courses (Must include 1 credit of HONS 4493)5
HONS 3391Honors Seminar1
HONS 4493Honors Senior Thesis or Project1-3
Honors Project, Thesis or Contract Courses6
Defense of Honors Thesis
Total Hours32-34

Interdisciplinary Seminars

University Honors students take at least one Honors Seminar (HONS 3391), and students seeking an Honors degree must take two Honors Seminars.  These seminars seek to introduce a specialty topic in a creative manner. Instructors are challenged to teach a topic in their field of expertise in a way that makes the material understandable from a wide range of majors.  In general, at least two Honors Seminars will be offered each semester.

Honors Contract Courses

In addition to the interdisciplinary seminars, each University Honors student working on an Honors Degree must complete a minimum of 6 upper division credits of Honors Contract courses in the student’s major or minor. Honors Contract courses are departmental courses offered under an “Honors Contract” between the student and instructor. An “Honors Contract” course requires that the student and instructor agree, on a case-by-case basis, to a set of requirements for the course. All Honors Contracts must be approved by the Honors program director. In general, any non-objective class can be contracted with the proper permission from the instructor and UHP director.

Honors Project or Thesis

Each University Honors Degree student is required to complete an honors project or thesis at the senior level in the department of his or her major or minor. The capstone project (1-6 credits) requires the University Honors student to prepare a project proposal for review by a departmental Honors Advisor. The project could be a research-based senior thesis or another appropriate project. The completed project is presented in a public forum and defended before a committee comprised of the Honors Advisor within the major department, another faculty member in the department, and the director of the University Honors Program. Appropriate public venues for the presentation include but are not limited to: a departmental seminar, the Idaho State University Undergraduate Research Symposium, an honors regional or national conference, or a discipline specific conference.

Honors Degrees

Graduates of the University Honors Program who complete 32 honors credits will receive one of the following degrees:

  • Honors Bachelor of Arts
  • Honors Bachelor of Science
  • Honors Bachelor of Business Administration
  • Honors Bachelor of Fine Arts
  • Honors Bachelor of Music
  • Honors Bachelor of Music Education

How to Read Course Descriptions


HONS 1101 Honors Humanities I: 3 semester hours.

A writing-intensive interdisciplinary course examining relationships between the arts and letters from the Classical Age through the Enlightenment. Partially satisfies Objective 1 of the General Education Requirements. PREREQ: ENGL 1101 or ENGL 1101P with C- or better, or equivalent. F

HONS 1102 Honors Humanities II: 3 semester hours.

A writing-intensive interdisciplinary course examining relationships between the arts and letters from the nineteenth century to the present. Partially satisfies Objective 4 of the General Education Requirements. S

HONS 1103 Honors Social Science I: 3 semester hours.

A writing-intensive interdisciplinary course examining the relationships in the social sciences from the Classical Age through the Enlightenment. F

HONS 1104 Honors Social Science II: 3 semester hours.

A writing-intensive interdisciplinary course examining the relationships in the social sciences from the nineteenth century to the present. S

HONS 2220 Information Research Techniques: 1 semester hour.

Students develop strategies for recognizing, locating, and evaluating pertinent information and using it effectively in current and future research papers and/or in their field of endeavor. D

HONS 3391 Honors Seminar: 1 semester hour.

Exposes students to a range of critical and theoretical approaches within various disciplines in multiple seminars. Students formulate research problems and incorporate the results of their research into a seminar paper and/or oral presentation. May be repeated for up to 4 credits with different content. F, S

HONS 3393 Introduction to Honors Thesis: 1 semester hour.

Prepares junior-level students enrolled in the University Honors Program to develop, plan, and begin their Honors Thesis or Honors Project. Select a thesis or project topic, identify a thesis director, begin scholarship review for the project or thesis, and develop a timeline for completing the project or thesis. F

HONS 4493 Honors Senior Thesis or Project: 1-3 semester hours.

Supervised by a committee of at least two faculty members and approved by the University Honors Program Director. DEPT 4493H will be used when possible. May be repeated for up to 6 credits. PREREQ: Permission of Instructor and Honors Program Director. F, S

Back to Top