Honors Benefits

See if the Honors Program is For You

"Honors provides a source of community that is hard to find elsewhere on campus. The classes truly are different, if anything because expectations are higher and people come to class ready to engage. Professors choose to challenge Honors students, and the opportunities to go "deeper" - with co-teaching, Executive Council leadership, and Capstone projects - are invaluable. JBU's Honors Program is designed to enrich and enhance your academic experience." -- Elyse Partee '16 (History and past HSP President.

Honors Center

The Center is located on the second floor(to the left) of the Soderquist Business Center and is available to all Honors students. Open from 7am to 11pm weekly and 7am to midnight on weekends, the Center provides a location for classes, meetings, offices, complimentary coffee, studying, or watching movies. 

“It [the center] creates a sense of identity and belonging to a group. Honors is a place where we can go to be with people that have things in common." -- Erica Warren '16 (English)

Once you are inside the Center, you will find an arrangement of couches and chairs for socializing, tables and computer stations for studying and huddle rooms for private or group study sessions. 

Discussion Based Classes 

Hannah Meyers, '16 Biology graduate describes one of her favorite classes, Western Civilization. "The professor and the way the class was taught made it one of my favorite classes in the honors program, and at JBU," said Hannah.

Our honors classes are essential to the Honors Program and 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. Classes are taught in and out of the classroom and are challenging and engaging. Many use primary texts as a classroom textbook.

Reading, Eating, Thinking
Hosting the class in their home, President Chip Pollard and his wife serve a home-cooked meal and discuss literary works of Dr. Pollard's choosing, such as Virginia Woolf’s "To the Lighthouse" or T.S. Eliot’s "The Four Quartets." The course allows the Pollards to get to know the honors students in person and to challenge them with the beauty of prose and poetry of some of the world’s greatest writers. 

"This class is a highlight of our semester, a chance to get to know students through sharing a series of meals and the chance to read and discuss great works of literature with them. The food is wonderful, and the conversation even better." -- Dr. Pollard

Honors English I
In Honors English I, Dr. Jonathan Himes, associate professor of English and C.S. Lewis expert, asks his Honors Composition class to explore the culture of the Ozarks. Over several weekends, Dr. Himes and his students visit Hattieville and Winslow, Ark., to share food and fellowship with several Ozark families.

The final project requires students to write an ethnography on their encounter with the culture of the Ozarks.

Colloquia, Experiencing History

"For me, my colloquium with Dr. Song on faith and vocation was very impactful in my life and in my future plans. I think the colloquiums as a whole offer students the opportunity to dig deeper in areas outside of their major." -- Sarah Ruhl '16 (Marketing)

In addition to core honors classes, honors students may take up to six optional one-hour colloquia for honors credit. Some are taught in the classroom to explain key historical figures, movements and events while other colloquia are trips taken to explore important historical sites. The program covers all colloquia expenses with the exception of tuition and meals. Various colloquia are offered each semester. 

Previous colloquia: Got Identity? Understanding Stereotype Threats, Apostle Paul's Ministry: Being a Tent-maker, Martin Luther King's Call to Racial Reconciliation, and more.

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 selection of the topic, research, writing, and completion of the capstone project. A completed capstone project, 21 honors credit hours and a 3.5 (or 3.75 honors) GPA allows students to graduate with Presidential Honors (highest honors).The project is often considered equivalent to a graduate-level assignment and allows the student to demonstrate competence for graduate school and employment.

Recent majors represented through the Honors Capstone Projects include: Philosophy – “The Problem of Evil: A Theodicy of Natural Law, Goodness, and Freedom”, Engineering – “Assisting Device for Manually Handicapped Workers”, Illustration- “Illustrating Walter Wangerin’s The book of the Dun Cow”, and more.

Share Your Work at Conferences

"Presenting at Honors conferences has been one of the highlights of being in the honors program," said James Cooke '11. "The process always gives me new insight, new ideas and new motivation for my own research."

Academic inquiry is encouraged by giving students the opportunities to ask and answer their own questions and then tell others about it.  Inquiry-based learning is an engrained part of the HSP culture — from the first to the last semester. Students may produce papers or creative projects for their lower-division classes, for example, engage in collaborative research in the science lab, or they may 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 such as the Great Plains Honors Council Conference, National Conference on Undergraduate Research and a discipline-specific conference as Conference on Faith and History with expenses covered by Honors Scholars Program.

Team-taught Classes

After completing the first tier, students are eligible to take integrated course sequence —Integrated Humanities I & II and/or Integrated Theology I & II. Both are team-taught by honors faculty, two-semester courses and limited to 25 students.

"I loved Integrated Humanities. That class was crazy!  I worked harder & learned more in that class than I ever have in any other class.  We got to hear from so many different speakers & were exposed to such a great variety of ideas and literature.  It was so different from any other class I was taking & although it wasn't directly related to my major, I'd say it was simply a good class in developing as a human.  It's been over a year now, and yet so many of the projects & discussions we had in that class I can still easily recall. If that's not a sign that real learning was happening, I don't know what is." -- Emily Hackett '16 (Math Education)

Integrated Humanities is one of the most challenging two-semester courses JBU offers. Students study transformative ideas in literature, philosophy, music and the arts from Classical Antiquity up to the 20th Century. Students integrate texts and adapt ideas from art, music or other fields of study. For example, you may be asked to write a "Canterbury Tale" or an existential one-act play, discussing how these "forms" express important ideas from the culture(s) out of which they arose. Trips to regional art museums are also part of the class. Texts include, but are not limited to: Homer, Virgil, Augustine, Cervantes, Shakespeare, Descartes, Poe, Sartre, and Derrida.

Integrated Theology combines Christian practice and Christian theology with brief comparative explorations of Islam for better appreciation of Christian faith as well as how our Christian theology and practice can be refined and challenged by the faith and practice of Islam. This two-semester course includes a trip to a local mosque to observe Friday prayers. Texts include, but are not limited to, Justin Martyr, Cyprian, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Welsey, Tozer, Qur'an, and Fulzur Rahman.

Co-Teach, Experiencing Leading the Classroom

Kelsey Balzer '11 did not think coming to college would mean teaching a class, but thanks to the Honors Program, she helped co-teach a history class with Dr. Posey. "Teaching is an attempt to learn with altruism, and primarily hope and work towards the development and progress of others. This time has been a humbling and influential way to finish my time at JBU," Kelsey said.

Honors Scholars Program 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. Many students who have co-taught have gone on to graduate school in order to later become university professors.


Students must complete the two-course sequence to receive credit.

  • First semester: students meet bi-monthly with their faculty supervisor to discuss course organization, teaching strategies and to observe the faculty in his or her classroom. Student must submit a written reflection.
  • Second semester: the student teaches up to 13 classes of a lower-division course under the guidance of his or her faculty member. Student must submit a written reflection. 

Lead and Mentor: Pouring into Other Students

Executive Council
The Honors Scholars Program 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 of honor students. Council members receive honors credit for their participation. The council is made up of a President, Vice President, Secretary, Student Recruiter, Director of Communications, Director of Finance, Director of Events, and Director of Spiritual Formation. These students meet weekly to discuss and develop academic, cultural, and social programming or events. Elections are held in the spring to fill vacant positions.

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. Mentors are available to answer questions and are available in and out of the classroom. Honors credits are given to honors Gateway mentors.

Other Opportunities
Many honor students serve throughout our campus. They are found serving the Student Government Association and other major leadership positions. Some serve on the Student Ministries Leadership Team as campus or outreach directors. Others find enjoyment as Resident Assistants, which live in a residence hall and help develop campus community.

Oxford Study Abroad

What does traveling to Europe have to do with the JBU Honors Scholars Program? For Grace Pennington '09, it meant spending a semester in Oxford as an honors student.

As a part of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) and the Honors Scholars Program, 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. SSO's curricular programming is geared toward students majoring and/or minoring in humanities. Students are also encouraged to use their time before, during, or after to travel around Europe. Honors Scholars Program students are allowed to apply at least 75 percent or more of JBU-awarded academic scholarships toward their semester at Oxford.

"The Honors study abroad program at Oxford University was one of the most intimidating things that I have ever done and turned into some of the best months of my life," Grace said. "I learned about a completely new and exciting culture, studied with some really challenging thinkers who taught me about romantic poetry and theology, traveled to five countries across Europe and made long-lasting friendships.”

Finding Ways to Serve

Community engagement is a key component in the Honors Scholars Program’s philosophy, which is why students are encouraged to serve in or create an outreach program for the community. As Krizana Saucedo '16 (Biology) said, "Work hard in your courses, but remember to give yourself time to recharge and have fun with hours to refill your cup, whether that be spiritually or emotionally."