About Honors College
Warren G. Frisina, Dean
Neil H. Donahue, Senior Associate Dean; Assistant Provost for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships; Fulbright Program Adviser
Office: 243 East Library Wing
Honors College Website
Hofstra University Honors College (HUHC) aims to be at the forefront of Hofstra University’s pursuit of academic excellence. We are a community dedicated to discovery and conversation. We promote intellectual engagement in all its forms among students, faculty, administrators and the broader public. To these ends our curriculum and programs are designed to serve and challenge HUHC students and faculty as well as the entire Hofstra University community.
Through an innovative curriculum that is centered in the liberal arts and compatible with all majors, HUHC students are given an opportunity to earn special designations as graduates of HUHC. All HUHC students 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 Hofstra portal 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 address 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 (“Culture & Expression”) 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 individualized plans of honors study that are geared toward their particular intellectual interests. They continue honors work in HUHC seminars as well as in “honors option” courses that satisfy major or minor requirements.
Courses for Honors/HUHC credit may not be taken on a Pass/D+/D/Fail basis.
There are four different designations that Honors students can earn when they graduate from the program.
HUHC Graduate With Distinction
This is the highest distinction 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 020 A-Z or 021 A-Z ). 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. This 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 020 A-Z or 021 A-Z ) are designated HUHC Graduates and this designation will appear on both their official transcripts and diploma. 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 020 A-Z or 021 A-Z ) are designated HUHC Associates and this designation will appear on their official transcripts and their diploma. To complete the requirements for this designation, students must also maintain an overall GPA of 3.4.
Transfer students from an accredited college or university, who have pursued honors work at their previous institution and who complete 24 honors credits including at least one 3-credit HUHC seminar (HUHC 020 A-Z or 021 A-Z ), receive the HUHC Recognition designation. This designation will appear on their official transcripts and their diploma. Transfer students may bring in up to 12 honors credits toward the 24 honors credits required for this designation. At least 6 of the final 12 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.
First-year Curriculum – 12 Required Credits
The first-year curriculum for HUHC students is a one-year, 12-credit sequence of paired courses entitled Culture and Expression (C&E). 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: Literature.” 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.
Each semester of Culture and Expression is to be designed as a six-credit multidisciplinary examination of 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 specialists on the faculty team. 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 versions of chemistry or biology courses.
Curriculum in Second, Third, and Fourth Years
Normally, six honors 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 (Courses for Honors/HUHC credit may not be taken on a Pass/D+/D/Fail basis):
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.
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 with the approval of HUHC.
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.
1. Permanent Honors Options (PHO): 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.
2. Individually Negotiated Honors Options (INHO): Students also earn honors credits in regular courses (including department-based independent study courses) that do not have a pre-approved permanent honors option. To do so the student and the faculty member must prepare a proposal 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 Defining 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 are initiated when a student approaches an instructor with an interest in a particular course and should be submitted by the instructor in the semester before the course will be offered.
3. Study Abroad Option (HSA): Students may earn three honors credits for Study Abroad by completing on site (in whichever country the student chooses) a series of structured exercises and reflections in the form of a Study Abroad journal. This Honors Option for Study Abroad is linked to the place of study, but not to a particular course, unlike other Honors Options. Instead, the student develops in advance and in consultation with Associate Dean Donahue the particular categories of observation, inquiry and commentary that will structure the journal. The first such category, and the only one required, encompasses the circumstances of everyday life in that particular place. The other categories might reflect the particular interests of the student and/or the particular features of the place. Through these categories, such as Art & Cultural Institutions, Live Culture, Architecture & Urban Planning, Political Life, Philosophy & Religion, Literature, Sociology, Economics, etc., the student is invited and encouraged to organize her/his impressions and deepen them by additional readings, outings, conversations, explorations, etc. in that place. This Honors Option recognizes and acknowledges that the Study Abroad experience is already itself a complex and transformative enrichment that aligns with the goals of Honors College; the structured journal helps to organize and deepen that enrichment. The HSA Honors Option can be repeated once (in a different location) for a total of 6 honors credits. The HSA Option may be used for experiences abroad linked to internships or other valid organized activities, but is not available for independent travel and touring.
Honors Thesis or Project Option in Major Department in Senior Year
HUHC students are encouraged to undertake a senior thesis or project. The procedures for undertaking and completing a senior honors thesis are determined by the individual departments; students register for the departmental honors listing (course numbers vary by department). HUHC will count those departmental honors credits toward HUHC honors credits. Students are expected to participate in the semi-annual Undergraduate Research Day presentations at the end of each semester.
Honors College Life
The HUHC program enhances all aspects of HUHC students’ experiences while at Hofstra. HUHC sponsors on-campus lectures, forums and cultural events as well as off-campus trips to museums and theater. HUHC students also have opportunities to get involved in HUHC sponsored service programs both on campus and in the surrounding communities. In addition to these enhanced intellectual and social service opportunities, HUHC regularly schedules social events such as pizza parties, outdoors trips, open-mike nights, intramurals and trips to see the local sports teams.
Honors students are eligible for residence in VanderPoel residential tower which creates an HUHC living-learning environment connecting the classroom the residence hall and the world at large. The VanderPoel residential complex 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 Office and the HUHC mentors. Most importantly, this honors residential complex offers opportunities for HUHC students to develop deep and lasting relationships with other HUHC students.
Honors College Mentors
Each year, HUHC appoints selected faculty members to serve as HUHC mentors. By engaging informally with students and helping them to plan intellectual and social activities, the HUHC Mentors work to build a sense of community among HUHC students, faculty and staff. HUHC mentors have regular weekly hours convenient to both residents and commuting students.
First-Year Admission (Domestic Students)
HUHC’s goal is to identify and serve students with the greatest potential for success. Accordingly, the Dean and the Office of Admission examine each candidate holistically, looking at standardized test scores, high school GPA, strength of program, class rank and other factors. 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 student applications to HUHC are welcome and assessed using the same standards as are applied to domestic applications. It is recognized, however, that international students may not have standardized test scores or class rank. In those cases, careful attention will be paid to the high school GPA and the overall strength of the applicants academic program. International students must also submit their TOEFL scores.
Transfer Student Admission
Transfer students may apply to HUHC from another accredited academic institution. All transfer students applying to HUHC are expected to have earned at least a 3.5 overall GPA. 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 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 toward meeting one of the credit minimums for an honors designation. On average, it is expected that students should earn three honors credits each semester and maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0. HUHC students may be removed from the program after three 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.
Honors College Courses
Hofstra University Honors College courses are listed independently.