University Honors Program

Director: Naomi J. Andrews

The University Honors Program provides small, seminar-style classes that emphasize critical thinking, analytical rigor, effective expression, and interaction among professors and students. Honors classes inspire and enable intellectual risk-taking and lifelong learning and develop globally aware and engaged student leaders for the University community and beyond. The Honors educational experience culminates in a focused, meaningful, and collaborative thesis in senior year.

Honors classes are designed to fit within the curricula of the humanities and natural and social sciences as well as business and engineering. Honors students can major in any undergraduate field offered at Santa Clara University. The University Honors Program welcomes students from diverse geographic, ethnic, and religious backgrounds.

Students who enter the UHP at Level I (first-years) must complete a total of nine Honors-level courses plus a senior thesis. Students who enter the UHP at Level II (second-years) must complete a total of six Honors-level courses plus a thesis. Additional participation requirements and a cumulative 3.3 GPA are also required to maintain UHP status.

Membership in the University Honors Program is a privilege; behavior that is inconsistent with the values and standards of the SCU community compromises your right to belong to UHP. Students in UHP are bound to the Student Conduct Code, and being found in violation of it through the Student Conduct System may result in removal from the program.  

Requirements for students who enter at Level I:

  • Critical Thinking and Writing I
  • Critical Thinking and Writing II
  • Cultures and Ideas I
  • Cultures and Ideas II
  • HNRS 20 (Difficult Dialogues seminar course)
  • Either a Core RTC I, 2, or 3 Honors or a Core Ethics Honors course
  • Three UHP electives or experiences (see below)
  • Senior Honors Thesis (one full academic year)

Requirements for Students who enter at Level II:

  • HNRS 20 (Difficult Dialogues seminar course)
  • Either a Core RTC I, 2, or 3 Honors or a Core Ethics Honors course
  • Four UHP electives or experiences (see below)
  • Senior Honors Thesis (one full academic year)

UHP Electives:

  • Designated Honors courses
  • Study abroad or summer study abroad (counts as one elective if over six weeks, 1/2 if under six weeks)
  • Extra language course (counts as one elective)
  • Contract Honors course (counts as one elective)
  • Immersion trip through SCU Ignatian Center (counts as 1/2 elective, can be repeated once)
  • UGST 101, Fellowships and Grad School Preparation (counts as 1/2 elective)

Lower-Division Courses

1H. and 2H. Critical Thinking & Writing I and II

A two-course, themed sequence for Honors students, featuring study and practice of academic discourse, with emphasis on critical reading and writing, composing processes, and rhetorical situation (ENGL 1H and 2H, PHIL 1H and 2H, etc.). The second course will feature more advanced study and practice of academic discourse, with additional emphasis on information literacy and skills related to developing and organizing longer and more complex documents. Themes may address cultural comparisons, science and society, and other topics. (4 units each quarter)

11H and 12H. Cultures & Ideas I and II

A two-course sequence focusing on a major theme in human experience and culture over a significant period of time (e.g., ARTH 11H and 12H, HIST 11H and 12H, PHIL 11H and 12H, ENGL 11H and 12H). Four Honors sequences will be offered each year. Courses emphasize either broad global interconnections or the construction of Western culture in its global context. Successful completion of C&I I is a prerequisite for C&I II. (4 units each quarter)

HNRS 20. Difficult Dialogues

This seminar-style course is devoted to the analysis from different perspectives of some issue, text, or problem in the area of a professor’s expertise. This course will provide critical thinking skills and an opportunity for students to discuss and debate the toughest questions faced by society today. Honors 20 is required of all Honors students and is open only to Honors students. (4 units)

Upper-Division Courses

UGST 101. Fellowship and Grad School Preparation

Seminar for students interested in preparing for a major fellowship competition (e.g., Fulbright, Rhodes, Knight-Hennessy Schwarzman, Marshall, Mitchell, Truman, Goldwater, Udall, Gaither, NSF), internal SCU grants and programs, and preparation for application to graduate or medical school. Open to all students. Taught in winter quarter only.  (2 units)

195. Honors Program Thesis

Course credit for thesis or culminating project of the University Honors Program. Enrollment limited to students in the University Honors Program. This course is Pass/No Pass. There are no lectures for this coursethesis milestones turned in through Camino. Interim grades of “N” will be given until the thesis is successfully submitted. (1 unit)

Contract Courses

With the agreement of the instructor, an Honors student may get Honors credit for a non-Honors course by adding an enrichment activity or project. The student and the faculty member agree on this added requirement. The goal of the added contract is the student’s acquisition of a deeper and richer command of some aspect of the course material. The student may be afforded an opportunity to present the results of the research to the class. Honors Contract courses may be especially valuable in the student’s junior year as a precursor to the senior thesis. Students wishing to establish a contract for Honors credit must turn in the appropriate application to the office by the end of the first week of the quarter in which the course is taken.