2016-17 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs

Honors Program in Engagement & Scholarship (HOPES)

Honors Program Mission

The Honors Program in Engagement & Scholarship (HOPES) will empower student scholarship and encourage active citizenship, leadership, and devotion to the common good.

Honors Program Description

The Honors Program in Engagement & Scholarship (HOPES) is a concentration program that encourages motivated students to explore challenging and personally-tailored programs of advanced study. Coursework emphasizes the complex relationship between individuals and their communities (local, regional, national, and global) through creative seminars and independent research opportunities.

Honors Program Goals & Outcomes

Goal Outcome
To promote critical, reflective, & independent thinking.Develop the ability to read and interpret primary texts across disciplines.
Cultivate the intellectual curiosity to search for context.
Learn to participate actively in substantive discussion.
Conduct independent & ethical research for the senior capstone project.
To nurture a commitment to community awareness, involvement, and service.Acquire the skills, knowledge, and perspectives necessary to collaborate and participate actively with diverse local and global partners.
To foster excellence in verbal and written communication skills.Learn to articulate point of view and research findings clearly and effectively.
Acquire foreign language proficiency at an intermediate level.
Demonstrate firmly established written and verbal skills in the senior capstone project.
To cultivate awareness of global issues and cultural diversity.Study current and historical international issues and aspects of global culture.

Admission and Retention

To be eligible for admission, first-year students (freshmen) must have a minimum composite ACT score of 25 or a high school GPA of 3.50 or higher (on a 4.00 scale). Students seeking admission after at least one academic term at the university must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.30. The program is open only to baccalaureate students taking eight or more credits each term.

To be retained in the Honors Program, students must have a minimum 3.00 GPA in honors courses and maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.30 or higher. Students whose honors or cumulative GPA falls below the required minimum will be placed on probation status. Students whose GPA falls below the required minimum for two consecutive semesters will be dropped from the program. Students must meet minimum GPA requirements and complete Honors Thesis/Project (HON 451H) with a grade of B or above in order to fulfill the requirements of the concentration and graduate with the Honors Program designation.


The Honors Program earns a concentration, and students take a minimum of 26-30 semester hours within the program. Course requirements for most majors permit enough “open” electives to accommodate the addition of honors coursework.

Students in the Honors Program participate in lively seminar discussions, conduct independent study and research, produce and present an advanced-level writing project, participate in community service projects, and earn public recognition for their achievements.

Honors Program Required Coursework

Two honors (“H”) classes that satisfy general education or diversity requirements.1

Two semesters of foreign language, including the option of American Sign6-8
HON 191HThe Honors Community1
HON 252HVisionaries of the Past2
HON 254HInformation in the Digital Age3
Select one of the following:3
Thinking Outside the Box
Study Abroad
An Honors Elective
HON 351HIntegrity & The Examined Life3
HON 391HCommunity Problem-Solving3
HON 395HCitizenship and Service3
HON 450HHonors Thesis/Project Proposal1
HON 451HHonors Thesis/Project1-3
Total Hours26-30

Some academic majors may require completion of specific General Education or Diversity courses and may not be able to accept Honors Program substitutions. Students should routinely consult with their academic advisors.


HON 191H. The Honors Community. 1 Hour.

This course introduces students to the MSU honors program. Informal conversations with MSU faculty, administrators, honors students, staff, and community leaders will familiarize students with the university, the community, the honors approach to learning. Students also investigate or discover new or existing passions through student-created learning experiences (SCLE), created in consultation with the instructor. Students present, evaluate, and reflect on their learning and experiences related to the SCLE.

HON 199H. Honors Special Topics. 1-4 Hour.

An Honors-level exploration of special topic area determined by participating department. Content will vary.

HON 251H. Culinary Arts & Entertaining. 1 Hour.

A hands-on cuisine from a particular geographical region of the world. Readings on historical, social, economic, and artistic aspects of the relevant culture that pertain to the culinary arts. Applied lessons in menu planning, table setting, and food preparation/presentation. Additional course fee covers food costs.

HON 252H. Visionaries of the Past. 2 Hours.

A thematically organized survey of "Great Works" by noted authors and artists. Literature, art, theatre, film, and music will be included. These works have demonstrated enduring relevance, significant historical or social impact, and/or recognized aesthetic value. Broad themes in any given semester might include, for example, utopia/dystopia, human justice, social conflict, etc. Prerequisite(s): Honors Program admission or permission of instructor.

HON 254H. Information in the Digital Age. 3 Hours.

This course cultivates the skills needed to define, find, evaluate, select, use, and communicate information effectively and ethically. Emphasis on hands-on application of knowledge.

HON 264H. Thinking Outside the Box. 3 Hours.

A seminar that emphasizes the practice of intellectual inquiry, innovative pedagogies, and/or interdisciplinary connections. The class will rotate between academic colleges and departments. Prerequisite(s): Honors Program Admission or 3.30 cumulative GPA and permission of instructor.

HON 299H. Special Topics. 1-8 Hour.

HON 351H. Integrity & The Examined Life. 3 Hours.

This seminar addresses the two themes of moral integrity and Socrates' claim that only the examined life is truly worth living. The focus is on great works, both written and visual (movies), and the students are challenged to develop their own views on a number of substantive matters.

HON 353H. Great Works Seminar III. 3 Hours.

New Honors Program Course Approved Spring 1990 3/94 Dropped Q For Pre-Req Purposes.

HON 391H. Community Problem-Solving. 3 Hours.

A seminar in civic engagement. Students will work with a community leader or community agency to identify, understand, and formulate solutions to complex, real-life community challenges. Emphasis on political empowerment, collaborative work with diverse constituencies, research, data analysis, and problem-solving.

HON 395H. Citizenship and Service. 3 Hours.

An interdisciplinary exploration of community-building, social justice, and human liberation that engages students directly in meaningful community service. Study of history, theory, and the local/global realities of community-building; reflection upon characteristics of a just society, individual responsibility, and potential leadership roles.

HON 399H. Honors Special Topics. 1-4 Hour.

An Honors-level exploration of special topic area, determined by participating department. Content will vary.

HON 450H. Honors Thesis/Project Proposal. 1 Hour.

The honors thesis/project is the Honors Program's capstone experience. It allows students to explore academic areas of their most passionate interests and engage in the process of discovery and scholarship. In this course, students get a head-start on their thesis/project. They use this time to 1) explore potential thesis/project topics; 2) identify an advisor; 3) review relevant research literature; and 4) develop a comprehensive proposal.

HON 451H. Honors Thesis/Project. 1-3 Hour.

The honors thesis/project is the Honors Program's capstone experience. It allows students to explore academic areas of their most passionate interests and engage in the process of discovery and scholarship under the direction of the Honors Director and faculty advisor. An honors thesis/poject can be written in any discipline and may take a variety of formats-from a traditional scholarly paper to a design portfolio; from a business plan to a performance; from a service project to a scientific research project - but always includes a written component, a public presentation, and a defense before a faculty committee. Students will work with the Honors Director to determine the appropriate number of credits needed to complete the requirements of the course.

HON 494H. Honors Independent Study. 1-8 Hour.

HON 497H. Honors Ind. Study. 1-4 Hour.

Course Approved With Program Approval 3/94 Dropped Q For Pre- Req Purposes.

HON 498H. Honors Ind. Study. 1-4 Hour.

Course Approved With Program Approval 3/94 Dropped Q For Pre- Req Purposes.

HON 499. Special Topics. 1-8 Hour.