Honors Scholars Program

Enrich your academic experience.

The Honors Scholars Program is designed to enrich and motivate you academically and spiritually in and out of the classroom. Classes are small and interactive, led by faculty who facilitate conversations that encourage you to make deep connections with class content.

be engaged.

What is the Honors Scholars Program?

In the Honors Scholars Program (HSP), you have opportunities to co-teach with a professor, conduct research, take educational trips, study abroad, present your research at regional and national conferences and participate in a community that will encourage you in your academic and professional pursuits. 

Our mission

Our mission is to cultivate Christian scholars, build God's Kingdom, and enrich the broader JBU community.

What we do

HSP is a four-year program that engages students who are passionate about learning. The combined curricular and co-curricular program is specifically designed to extend and enrich academic experiences.

Qualifying students

Students in the Honors Scholars Program generally have a composite ACT score of 28/SAT score of 1340/CLT score of 88, or a high school GPA of 3.8 or higher. We welcome applications from students who may not meet these exact criteria but think the HSP would be a good fit for them.

Foundational and integrated discovery 

The JBU Honors Scholars Program is distinctly different from high school honors programs. The program does not rely on a heavier workload, rather smaller class sizes and seminar structures encourage deeper engagement with class subjects and encourage community among students, faculty, and staff. In HSP, students progress through two tiers, in which they choose available curricular and co-curricular options based on individual strengths, gifts and career plans. This intentional approach provides students with individualized paths through their college career and allows students to tailor a cohesive, meaningful learning experience.



Honors Center

Open from 7 am to 11 pm weekly and 7 am to midnight on weekends, the Center provides a location for classes, meetings, offices, complimentary coffee, studying, or watching movies. There are couches and chairs for socializing, tables and computer stations for studying and study rooms for private or group study sessions.


Discussion-based classes

Honors classes are specially designed to challenge and motivate students through critical thinking and analysis. With few exceptions, honors courses count for core curriculum requirements — meaning honors students don’t have to take extra courses to participate in the program.


Experiential Colloquia

In addition to the honors core curriculum classes, students may explore ideas, questions, and historical sites through experiential colloquia. Previous colloquia include The Contemplative Tradition at Subiaco Abbey, The Graphic Novels of Gene Luen Yang, and Becoming Evil--Genocide. HSP covers all colloquia expenses for participating students.


Independent research

During their junior or senior years, many honors students write an original, major-related project based on interests, gifts, passions and goals beyond JBU. A faculty member supervises each student through the selection of the topic, research, writing and completion of the capstone project. 


Share your work at conferences

Students may produce papers or creative projects for their lower-division classes, engage in collaborative research in the science lab, or conduct their own independent research via the Honors Capstone Project. Students are encouraged to present their original research or work at national or regional conferences or at discipline-specific conferences. Conference expenses are covered by the HSP in conjunction with academic departments.


Integrated Courses

Honors students may take integrated courses in a variety of academic fields, including Integrated Humanities, Integrated Theology, and Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE). The courses are taught over two semesters, and Integrated Theology and PPE are team-taught.



HSP students have the opportunity to help teach a lower-division class in their major under the supervision of a senior faculty member. This experience offers honors students a behind-the-scenes look at their field of study, introduces them to the pedagogy of their discipline, and provides a rare opportunity of teaching at a university level. 


Oxford study abroad

As a part of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), HSP students may apply for the Scholars' Semester at Oxford (SSO) program, taking one-on-one tutorials with some of the world's most celebrated scholars. HSP students are allowed to apply at least 75 percent or more of JBU-awarded academic scholarships toward their semester at Oxford.


Finding ways to serve

Community engagement is a key component of the Honors Scholars Program’s philosophy, which is why students are encouraged to serve in or create an outreach program for the community. 

Lead & mentor: pouring into other students

Executive Council

HSP offers a wide range of opportunities for students to use their unique gifts and to grow both spiritually and intellectually. Many of our students choose to serve as leaders in Honors as Executive Council members and serve as an official voice for honors students. Council members receive honors credit for their participation. These students meet weekly to discuss and develop academic, cultural, and social programming or events. 

Associate Executive Council Member

Each Executive Council member may have associates to serve with them throughout the year. The associates help schedule, plan and execute events as needed.

Honors Gateway Mentor

All honors freshmen are required to take an Honors Gateway class. An honors upper-classman serves in each class as a mentor for students. Honors credits are given to honors Gateway mentors.

Other opportunities

Many honors students serve throughout our campus. They are found serving in the Student Government Association, on the Student Ministries Leadership Team, as resident assistants, and in other major leadership positions.

Frequently asked questions

Am I smart enough for Honors?

"Sure, I made good grades in high school and got a pretty high score on my standardized test, but I'm not really all that smart. Sometimes I think I just have everyone fooled."'

You would be surprised to find out how many high-caliber students feel the same. In fact, this may be the one common denominator among our very diverse group of honors students. This misperception is so common that it has been dubbed "Imposter Syndrome" by honors programs across the country. Research has shown that smart students are savvy enough to know their own limitations. Thus, honors-caliber students often rank themselves lower on self-evaluations of intelligence. If you join the HSP, you will be surrounded by students who not only share many of your strengths but who also have similar doubts - it is within this kind of community that "iron sharpens iron." 

Will the HSP be like my high school G&T program or AP classes?

"I did my high school's Gifted & Talented Program, and I just got burned out trying to make perfect grades and keep up with my AP classes. Is this what the honors program is like?"

Incoming students express concern about the workload that might be required by our program. We totally understand, but we offer something a little different. Our goal is to dig deeper into the subject than in non-honors classes. Thus, you will likely read more primary texts than in AP courses and be asked to develop your own opinions about course concepts and think of ways to apply them to your own life. Our belief is that this deep-learning approach will resonate with high-caliber students who are looking for a fresh start in college.

Will Honors classes hurt my GPA?

"I want to go to medical school, and they're really looking for students with high GPAs. I'm worried that if I take a bunch of honors classes my GPA will suffer."

Honors classes are not designed to be more difficult, rather they are designed to engage students in a different way. Classes are considerably smaller than non-honors classes, and students are asked to think in-depth about ideas or concepts. This means that students most often feel engaged by the class and have to worry less about "busy work," such as rote memorization of long lists. Much of the engagement will come from fellow students — discussion and/or debate with classmates often bring course ideas alive and reveal their significance for Christians living in the 21st Century. 

Will Honors classes limit my social life and fun?

"I want to do more in college than take lots of hard classes and spend all my time in the library. Besides, I want to play a varsity sport and maybe be an RA in my sophomore year. Honors would probably get in the way of all this."

The short answer: We seek to encourage students to love the Lord not just with their minds but also with their heart, soul and strength. First, keep in mind that the vast majority of our honors classes meet core requirements. Thus, being in the HSP won't necessarily take any extra time. You will be satisfying JBU requirements as you move through the program. Second, because our goal is to fully develop our students, we actually encourage you to take advantage of the co-curricular opportunities that JBU offers. For example, we celebrate our honors students who play on a varsity team. Many of our honors students also serve as RAs and Enactus, sing in Chorus, play in Chapel Band and are officers in the Student Government Association. These co-curricular experiences combine with our classes to make for a powerful developmental force.

How does Honors apply to my major or career?

"I'm majoring in photography, and I don't think being in honors will help me get a job after I graduate from JBU."

Graduating from the HSP does not guarantee lucrative employment nor automatic admission to the graduate school of your choice. However, we believe that the variety of experiences and opportunities in the HSP will prepare our students to pursue God's calling.

Contact us


Dr. Trisha Posey

Director, Honors Scholars Program




Caitlyn Bennett, M.S.Ed.

Associate Director, Honors Scholars Program




Becky Wakefield

Administrative Assistant