Honors Program

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Admission Criteria

Incoming freshmen will be invited to apply to participate in the program based on their demonstration of exceptional motivation and a commitment to academic excellence, a high school GPA of 3.5 or higher and a minimum composite of 26 on the ACT or 1200 on the SAT, and strong leadership potential and/or experience as minimum requirements. Students are required to submit an application, writing sample, and a letter of reference from a high school administrator or teacher. Applications are reviewed on an on-going basis.

Current Viterbo students may also apply for admission. These students are asked to submit the following materials to the Honors Office:

  • a letter of application
  • a writing sample of four to six pages
  • a letter of support from a Viterbo University faculty member.
  • current students must have 3.4 or higher GPA.

General Description

Courses: The Honors Program strives to build a community of scholars by offering courses that are much more discussion based and interactive, rather than merely lecture driven. Students are given more responsibility for being engaged in their courses, often being asked to lead discussions on the course themes. Students are encouraged to participate in undergraduate research, present their findings publicly, and develop a love for learning. As a community of scholars, we challenge one another to think more deeply, ask difficult questions, and think critically about the world around us.

Leadership:  Students are given opportunities to develop leadership skills through workshops, courses, and service projects. The Honors Student Leadership Board is a small group of students within the Honors Program that work to develop programming incorporating feedback from members of the program in order to engage more students in program activities. Students will also be offered opportunities to participate in service projects and, eventually, organize and plan projects for other students.

Encouragement and Inspiration: An important component of the Honors Program is the opportunity to attend lectures and presentations by internationally renowned speakers. In collaboration with the D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership, students have been part of an informal question & answer session with such persons as Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor and author of Night; Immaculée Ilibagiza, Rwandan genocide survivor and author of Left to Tell, Gerda Weissman Klein, Holocaust survivor and author of All But My Life, and Margaret Lowman, author and tropical rain forest canopy biologist. Students are offered incentives and encouragement to participate in a variety of study abroad opportunities, including short-term trips connected to courses. In addition to these opportunities, students are encouraged to develop research skills through mentor relationship with faculty and assistance in developing undergraduate research projects.

Community Building: Being part of the Honors Program is more than a designation on a student’s transcript. We require that students remain active participants in the program, attending a set number of Honors events each year to maintain their good standing in the program. Freshman students participate in an Honors Retreat in conjunction with their Freshman Seminar course, Franciscan Values and Traditions. We take our goal of building a community of scholars very seriously, yet we also realize that it is important to socialize together as well. Throughout the year, the Honors Program hosts game nights, finals week study breaks, and informal discussions. We also have our own Honors Office and Lounge which offers students a place to unwind, meet with one another, enjoy a cup of coffee, and study or relax.

Course Requirements

General Education Courses: Three general education Honors courses or course equivalents:

  • Courses designed specifically for the Honors Program
  • Contract in a traditional general education course
  • Study abroad course or semester
  • Contracted Undergraduate Research Project
  • Participate in Exploring Leadership

Mission Seminars: Honors sections of the four university mission seminars are taken for Honors credit.

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