Frequently Asked Questions - Honors Program

Frequently Asked Questions - Honors Program

1. What is the Penn State Behrend Honors Program?

The Penn State Behrend Honors Program is unique to Penn State Behrend. It allows freshmen and sophomores to enhance their general education with opportunities for Honors study and culminates in an Honors Certificate at the end of the sophomore year.

2. Why should I join the Penn State Behrend Honors Program?

We think you will enjoy the small Honors classes, close interaction with outstanding faculty, and the opportunity to pursue special areas of interest and independent study and research.

3. Are Honors students separated from the rest of the student community?

No. Honors students are not taking part in a separate Honors curriculum. They are asked to choose at least one Honors course each semester along with their other University courses.

4. Are Honors courses “extra” courses in addition to degree requirements?

No. Honors courses fulfill general education requirements all Penn State freshmen and sophomores must complete. Students may also earn Honors credits by performing independent study/research or by turning a non-Honors course, with the instructor’s approval, into an “Honors Option,” thereby earning Honors credit for the course. This flexibility allows the student to earn Honors credits while pursuing areas of special interest. Course substitution privileges, when appropriate, enhance a more individualized course of Honors study.

5. Won’t the minimum Honors credit requirement be difficult to complete?

No. A normal course load is 12-15 credits per semester (approximately four to five courses), with most courses three credits each. Students in the Penn State Behrend Honors Program are required to complete a minimum of one Honors course during their freshman year. We recommend, however, that first-year students complete a minimum of six Honors credits, with the remaining three Honors credits achieved in the sophomore year. 

6. What classes count as Honors credits?

All courses ending in H and those courses with the an attribute of HONORS are automatically considered Honors level classes. In most cases, freshmen or sophomore students taking 400-level classes receive Honors course credit too. Note: Before assuming you qualify for 400-level course Honors credits, check with the Honors Office for eligibility.

Honors students also may convert a standard level class into an Honors course by using an Honors Option. Please contact the Honors Office for details.

Honors Independent Study courses are also another method of fulfilling the program's Honors credit requirement. Interested students should contact the Honors Office for further information.

7. How is an Honors course or seminar different from other courses?

While Honors courses may be more academically rigorous and challenging, you will be enjoying a seminar-type experience, as most Honors classes average 15 to 20 students. (Honors courses are limited in size to 25 students.) There is more opportunity for discussion, debate, and an in-depth, thoughtful examination of the subject matter. Students are expected to engage in active learning and to contribute to the class.

8. How high does my average have to be to remain eligible for Honors?

Honors students must maintain a 3.33 grade point average on a 4.0 scale (4.0 = A; 3.67 = A-; 3.33 = B+; 3.0 = B, etc.) each semester.