Office: 037 Axinn Library
Telephone: (516) 463-4842
J. Stephen Russell, Dean
Neil H. Donahue, Associate Dean
Hofstra University Honors College (HUHC) is dedicated to serving students who perform at the highest academic levels in all undergraduate programs. Through an innovative curriculum that is centered in the liberal arts and compatible with all majors, students are given an opportunity to earn special designations as graduates of HUHC. All HUHC students may complete an undergraduate degree in one of Hofstra’s other schools or colleges while also completing HUHC requirements. Earned HUHC designations are noted at graduation ceremonies and on students’ diplomas and official transcripts.
Students should consult the Class Schedule for specific offerings before registering for their programs.
Defining Honors Work
The following definition is the guide that the Hofstra faculty has adopted for HUHC courses and in evaluating proposals for the Honors-options described below.
The goal of honors work is greater learning and intellectual satisfaction, for both the student and the instructor. As compared to regular course work, honors work should go more deeply into methodology, structure, and theory. It should attack more sophisticated questions. Honors work typically will require extra time for the student and the instructor, but simply increasing the volume or complexity of course work does not make it honors-level. Honors work must be judged qualitatively, not quantitatively: it is denser and more intellectually demanding–more sophisticated, more probing. Honors work requires of its students a distinctively broad engagement with the course content.
The HUHC curriculum brings students together in their first year by requiring a common sequence of courses that meet some of the undergraduate requirements for graduation. The purpose of this common curriculum is twofold: to provide a wide-ranging and multidisciplinary intellectual experience that will be the basis for students’ education in subsequent years; and to foster a sense of identity among a cohort of students who all share a common experience within HUHC.
After the first year, students develop more individualized plans of honors study that are geared toward their particular intellectual interests. They continue honors work in HUHC seminars as well as in courses that satisfy major or minor requirements.
There are three different designations that Honors students can earn when they graduate from the program.
HUHC Graduate With Distinction
This is the highest distinction, within HUHC, that an undergraduate can earn at Hofstra. This designation requires that students complete the 12-credit first-year curriculum and 18 additional honors credits, including at least one 3-credit Honors College Seminar (HUHC 20 or 21). At least 6 of the final 18 honors credits must be in the liberal arts. To fulfill the requirements for this designation, students must also complete an acceptable departmental honors thesis/project and maintain an overall GPA of 3.6. Credit earned in departmental thesis/project courses may be counted in the final 18 HUHC required credits. Distinction is noted on both the official transcript and diploma.
Students who complete the 12-credit first-year curriculum and 18 additional honors credits including at least one 3-credit Honors College Seminar (HUHC 20 or 21) are designated Honors College Graduates and this designation will appear on both their official transcripts and diploma. At least 6 of the final 18 honors credits must be in the liberal arts. To complete the requirements for this designation, students must also maintain an overall GPA of 3.4.
Students who complete 18 honors credits including at least one 3-credit Honors College Seminar (HUHC 20 or 21) are designated Honors College Associates and this designation will appear only on their official transcripts. At least 6 of the 18 honors credits must be in the liberal arts. To complete the requirements for this designation, student must also maintain an overall GPA of 3.4.
First-year Curriculum–12 Required Credits
The first-year curriculum for HUHC students is a one-year, twelve-credit sequence of paired courses entitled Culture and Expression. Students take one six-credit pair consisting of a three-credit course in Social Sciences and a three-credit course in Humanities in the fall term and another pair in the spring term. Each of the four courses carries respective distribution status, meaning that students completing the first-year program will have completed three hours of distribution credit in “History and Philosophy,” three hours of distribution credit in “Behavioral Social Sciences” and six hours in “Humanities: Appreciation and Analysis.” The annual specific presentations of these courses (readings, activities, etc.) are developed by the teams of faculty selected to teach them: what follows is a set of general rubrics and guidelines under which specific annual versions of the courses are developed. The structure of the class hours is to be as follows:
2 hours: social science seminar
2 hours: humanities seminar
2 hours: common meetings
The pairs of courses are designed by the faculty chosen to teach them in each semester. The fall term is Culture and Expression: The Ancient World (to 1500 CE) and the spring terms is Culture and Expression: The Modern World (1500 to the present).
Each semester of Culture and Expression is to be designed as a six-credit multidisciplinary examination of important civilizations and their literary and other artistic expressions. Students are to be exposed to and develop the analytical tools and methodologies that are unique to humanities and social sciences, with the goal that they appreciate the ways the individual disciplines inform, complement, and communicate with each other.
The Common Meetings–two each week–are planned and designed as opportunities for students to consider the connections between the two syllabi. The purpose of the Common Meetings is twofold: to reinforce the sense of community and cohort within the program and to give all of the students the benefit of learning from a specialist on the faculty team. Thus, a lecture nominally on a philosophical topic–Platonism or the Enlightenment, for example–should draw not only on students’ recent study of The Republic or The Social Contract but should also explicitly relate these texts to readings in the students’ humanities course. Common Meetings may be lectures, debates, musical performances, video presentations, reader’s theater–whatever format the team of instructors deems appropriate to the current topics in both courses.
Additional Honors Courses in the First Year
In addition to the HUHC Culture and Expression 12 credit sequence, entering students may elect to enroll in honors versions of other courses appropriate to their intended major. For example, students interested in pursuing the natural sciences may consider honors calculus, and honors chemistry courses.
HUHC students needing WSC 1 and/or 2 have the option of enrolling in sections of these courses reserved for honors and honors-eligible students. The English Department makes these sections of English Composition available to HUHC students as a way of extending their honors experience, but these courses do not count towards either the 18-credit or the 30-credit designation.
Curriculum in Second, Third, and Fourth Years
To earn the HUHC graduate designation, students are required to take eighteen credits of honors coursework beyond the Culture and Expression courses (30 total). Normally, six credits should be taken each year, though a slightly different distribution sometimes may be necessary. For example, students who pursue a semester abroad or an internship program might take three honors credits in one year and nine credits in another.
Honors credits may be earned in the following ways:
Honors College Seminars
Each semester, HUHC offers a number of distinctive courses specially designed for second-through fourth-year students. These courses and seminars are taught by faculty from across the University and may be counted toward a student’s major where appropriate and with the department’s approval. Students will be required to complete at least one HUHC-numbered course in their second year, preferably in the fall semester.
Department-based Honors Courses and Seminars
Individual departments may offer honors courses or honors versions of existing courses at the introductory and advanced levels under their own departmental numbers.
Honors Option in Existing Courses
Honors options are designed to permit students to earn honors credit in regular (i.e. non-honors) University courses. They give students greater flexibility in developing their course of study and afford students an opportunity to make contact with a faculty member whose research is of particular interest. This option is recommended for, though not restricted to, work in a student’s major. There are three ways to earn honors credit through Honors Option.
a) Permanent Honors Options.
Many Hofstra departments are presently developing courses with “permanent honors options.” These are regular departmental courses that have a predetermined set of additional requirements which, when completed, will allow a student to earn honors credit. In these instances, the expectation is that students will undertake work that goes qualitatively beyond what is expected of the rest of the class (see Definition of Honors work above). The faculty member teaching the course works closely with the honors students, especially at the beginning of the semester, to ensure that the generalized description of the Honors requirements is specified in ways that accord with the course syllabus for that semester. Courses that have permanently approved honors options are specially designated, and students who complete the honors option will be able to count that course toward the completion of their honors credit requirement. b) Individually Negotiated Honors Options.
Students also earn honors credits in regular courses that do not have a pre-approved permanent honors option. To do so the student and the faculty member must prepare a proposal for review by the HUHC Council outlining the honors work that will be required. The proposal should be very specific in describing what the student will be doing that goes beyond the expectations of the other students in the class (see Definition of Honors Work above). Upon completion of approved Honors work, the student may count the course toward the satisfaction of their honors credit requirement. Individually Negotiated Honors Option proposals should be submitted in the semester before the course will be offered (where possible). The absolute deadline for the submission of proposals will be the end of the first week of the term. The HUHC Council will review and respond to proposals (by approving, rejecting or recommending modifications) by the end of the second week.
c) Honors independent study
All students may undertake honors independent study in their major department (or other departments if appropriate). When a student intends to undertake an independent study course, the student and the faculty adviser should present a plan for the independent study to the HUHC Council. The proposal should be very specific in describing how the work outlined in this independent study would go beyond what would normally be expected in a regular independent study course (see Definition of Honors Work above). The proposal should be submitted in the semester before the course will occur (where possible). The absolute deadline for submission of proposals will be the end of the first week of the term. The Honors Council will review and respond to proposals (by approving, rejecting or recommending modifications) by the end of the second week.
Honors thesis or project option in major department in senior year.
HUHC students will be encouraged to undertake a senior thesis or project. The procedures for undertaking and completing a senior honors thesis are determined by the individual departments. The only additional HUHC expectation is that HUHC students will participate in the annual Undergraduate Research Day presentations at the end of the spring semester.
Honors College Life
The HUHC program enhances all aspects of HUHC student’s experiences while at Hofstra. HUHC sponsors on-campus lectures, forums and cultural events as well as off-campus trips to museums and the theater. In addition to these enhanced intellectual activities, the HUHC also schedules social events such as pizza parties, open-mike nights, intramurals and trips to see the local sports teams.
Honors students are eligible for residence in HUHC’s Honors House. Honors House creates a living-learning environment connecting the classroom to the residence hall and the world at large. Honors House is the location for many of HUHC’s social and cultural activities. These are coordinated by the full-time live-in residence staff in cooperation with the HUHC Deans’ Office and the Honors House Mentor. Most importantly, Honors House offers opportunities for HUHC students to develop deep and lasting relationships.
Honors College Mentors
Each year, HUHC appoints selected faculty members to serve as Honors College Mentors. By engaging informally with students and helping them to plan intellectual and social activities, the Honors College Mentors work to build a sense of community for HUHC students. Honors College mentors have regular weekly hours convenient to both Honors House residents and non-residents.
First-Year Admission (Domestic Students)
Honors College does not apply hard and fast standards for student admission from secondary school. The College’s goal is to identify and serve students with the greatest potential for success. Accordingly, the Dean and the Office of Admissions examine each candidate holistically, looking at standardized test scores, high school GPA and other factors. Selected students may be invited to join HUHC by letter; other strong students may be invited to make written application to the Honors College Dean. Any student applying to Hofstra who wishes to be considered for HUHC should indicate this on the general application form.
First-Year Admission (International Students)
International students who do not have SAT scores or high school rankings must submit their TOEFL score and complete an application to HUHC that includes an essay and, where possible, an interview with members of the HUHC Council.
Transfer Student Admission
Transfer students may apply to HUHC if they have a minimum of 25 credits from another accredited academic institution. All transfer students applying to HUHC are expected to have earned at least a 3.5 overall GPA, and to make written application to HUHC. Transfer admission also requires two letters of recommendation from college/university faculty familiar with the student’s academic potential.
Admission of Hofstra Students Into HUHC
Students already enrolled at Hofstra will be considered for HUHC if they have a minimum of 25 credits and a GPA of 3.4 or better. Admission from within Hofstra also requires two references from Hofstra faculty familiar with the student’s academic potential.
Requirements for Remaining in HUHC
To remain in HUHC, students must make reasonable progress towards meeting one of the credit minima for an honors designation: 30 credits for Honors College Graduates, 18 credits for Honors College Associates. On average, it is expected that students should earn three honors credits each semester and maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0. It will be HUHC policy to remove students from the program after two consecutive semesters in which they did not earn honors credit. Exceptions to these removal criteria may be sought through appeal to the Honors College Dean’s Office.
Hofstra University Honors College courses are listed independently.