Honors Program

Higher Learning At A Higher Level
The Anna Maria College Honors Program was founded in 2007 to provide a rigorous intellectual challenge to students of all majors and opportunities in academics, leadership, culture activities, and community service for highly-motivated scholastic achievers.

Today, this “college within a college” plays a singular role in fulfilling the mission of Anna Maria College. Honors students follow a curriculum guided by themes that match the College’s commitment to developing research and writing skills, global and social awareness, and humanistic values in the Roman Catholic tradition.

For more information on Anna Maria College’s Honors Program, contact the Admission Office or email Assistant Professor Dr. Craig Blais, the Honors Program Director at cblais@annamaria.edu.

More Information

Benefits, Requirements & More

Benefits, Requirements & More

Benefits

What do I gain by joining the honors program?
Joining the honors program entitles students to a wide range of opportunities for fostering community, engaging in service, participating in research, and growing into leadership. These include:

  • Small Classes: Small, dynamic classes with Anna Maria’s most experienced professors.
  • Research Opportunities: One-on-one research opportunities with professors in the student’s major & opportunities to present research at conferences.
  • Specialized Advising: Special honors advising in addition to student’s academic adviser.
  • Priority Registration: Honors students may register for classes before their peers.
  • Community: Co-curricular and extracurricular events throughout the year.
  • Honors Student Council: Opportunities to participate in service with other honors students.
  • Honors Housing: Honors students enjoy early room choice for on-campus housing.

What distinguishes an honors class?
There is no single model for an honors class; however, there are important characteristics that distinguish an honors section from a non-honors class at Anna Maria College:

  • Intellectual challenge: Honors classes should emphasize content and activities that stimulate students to think about topics in new ways, explore subject matter in greater depth or breadth, or gain first-hand exposure to issues through experiential learning. 
  • Quality, not quantity: Honors classes do not simply load on more assignments. Honors classes should not involve substantial extra work when compared with a non-Honors class. The emphasis in Honors classes should be on exploring the subject matter a little more thoroughly.
  • Interactivity: Honors classes often involve much more student-faculty interaction than a typical non-honors class. While the format of the class is left to the discretion of the instructor, student participation is generally greater in an Honors classroom.
  • Faculty accessibility: Honors classes are all taught by experienced full-time faculty members. Honors students are more likely to seek out faculty for detailed feedback on their work and for mentoring advice on their academic and career aspirations; having faculty who are present and committed to the institution is essential.
  • Distinctive: Honors classes are distinct from the non-honors classes in substance and/or teaching methods. Faculty members have discretion to determine what will be different about their honors section. Distinctive features might include one or more of the following:
  1. Greater breadth of topics:  The addition of topics that are not covered in a non-honors version of the class. This might include readings, lectures, assignments, activities, field trips, or out of class experiences unique to the honors class.
  2. Greater depth on selected topics:  More in-depth treatment of a particular topic or topics. This might include readings, lectures, assignments, activities, field trips, or out of class experiences unique to the honors class.
  3. Pedagogical techniques unique to the honors class: Such as case studies, peer-teaching or discussion-leading, flipped classrooms, experiential or service learning, or essay questions rather than multiple choice exams.
  4. Connection to mission: Deeper exploration between the content of course and the essential learning outcomes of Anna Maria College, particularly using critical thinking and creativity to be adaptive and grow to meet the challenges of the future.
  5. Higher standards in grading: Such as requirements for more references in a research essay, fewer grammatical errors in written work, or greater evidence of creative or critical thinking.

Requirements

Academic Points
Honors Program students earn 100 points during their time at the College. At least half of a student’s points must be earned through academics, while the remaining points may be earned through a combination of academic, leadership, service, and cultural activity points.

First-year students must achieve a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA by the end of their first year; sophomores must achieve a minimum 3.1 cumulative GPA, juniors must achieve a minimum 3.2 cumulative GPA, and seniors must have a minimum 3.3 cumulative GPA in order to graduate from the Honors Program.

Honors Course
The primary way to earn Academic Points is by taking an Honors Course. The seven honors courses in permanent rotation are:

  • First Year: Freshman Composition, First Year Experience, Introduction to Philosophy, Writing through Literature
  • Sophomore Year: Introduction to Theology
  • Junior Year: Catholic Worldview
  • Senior Year: Honors Thesis

Honors Contract
Any course can potentially be turned into an Honors Contract with the agreement of the faculty member.  Students and professors work in conjunction to determine the conditions of each contract (i.e. additional work, presentation, independent research, etc.).

Research or Creative Work
Honors Program students may complete a directed study on an original topic, present at a regional or national conference, or publish in an academic journal.

Leadership Points

Student Government
Honors Program students may hold an elected office with the Student Government Association (SGA).

Student Clubs
Leadership Points may be earned by establishing and/or performing a leadership role in an on-campus club or student group.

 Service Points

Campus Involvement
Service Points may be earned by helping in some capacity with AMCAB, Campus Ministry, Residence Life, or the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Community Activity
Honors Program students may engage in activities that demonstrate civic responsibility and a commitment to the community. Charities and organizations may or may not be affiliated with Anna Maria College and might include Alternative Spring Break or Habitat for Humanity.

Cultural Activity Points

Study Abroad
Cultural Activity Points may be earned through semester-long or short-term (i.e. Spring Break) study abroad.

Cultural Events
Cultural Activity Points may be earned through the organization of, or participation in, plays, performances, concerts, art exhibits, etc.

Activities

Annual Events
Honors students attend an annual “Presidential Dinner,” a formal event sponsored by the College President in order to celebrate their achievements during the academic year. At the end of each semester, all Honors students are incited to attend the Honors Thesis Defense, where senior Honors students present their independent research projects to the Greater-College community.

Off-Campus Excursions
The Honors Program will sponsor off-campus excursions to New York City and other area events. Every spring semester, there is a bus trip to see a Broadway play. In the recent past, area trips have included King Richard’s Faire in Carver, Massachusetts.

Honors Program Council and NCHC

Honors Student Council
The Honors Program is overseen by an Honors Council which consists of the faculty teaching Honors courses, student representatives from each class, the Vice President of Academic Affairs, the Registrar, and a representative from Admissions. Student representatives on the council are Honors Program students in good standing and are elected by the Honors Program students in their class each year.

National Collegiate Honors Council
Anna Maria College’s Honors Program is a member of the National Collegiate Honors Council [NCHC], the National Association of Honors Programs, and the Northeast Regional Honors Council [NRHC]. Each year, Honors students have the opportunity to present at the annual Anna Maria College Academic Symposium and the Regional NRHC annual meeting.

Founded in 1966, the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) is a unique educational organization designed to support and promote undergraduate honors education. NCHC has nearly 900 member institutions and several hundred individual members, impacting over 330,000 honors students. NCHC provides its members with resources, training opportunities and collaborative events to build and sustain honors programs and their curriculum. Students also have access to honors scholarships and exclusive events through NCHC and its members.

Honors Program Application

Incoming Students
Currently, incoming first-year students are invited to enter the Honors Program based on their high school GPA. Any entering first-year students who were not invited but who wish to be considered for the program may apply below. If you have any questions, please email Dr. Craig Blais at cblais@annamaria.edu.

Click here to apply.

Transfer Students
If you are a current Anna Maria College student interested in joining the Honors Program, you must meet the minimum GPA requirements (freshman: 3.0, sophomore: 3.1, junior: 3.2) and receive recommendations from two faculty members, one of whom should have had the student in ENG 103 or 104 (exceptions for students who transferred or who had AP credits for both courses.) Those recommendations along with the student’s application and transcript will be considered for admission. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Craig Blais at cblais@annamaria.edu.

Click here to apply.