The distinction for the University Honors Program is called "Honors Fellows." To earn Honors Fellows, you must remain in good standing in the program, complete at least 30 Honors points appropriately distributed, and complete a Capstone project.
To remain in good standing with the University Honors Program, Honors Students must:
- Maintain a 3.5 cumulative GPR and a 3.25 GPR in honors coursework*
- Meet minimum co-curricular participation requirements.
- University Honors Freshmen requirements are met by participating in the Honors Housing Community first year experience seminar. Satisfactory participation is defined as 80% or better successful completion (see syllabus).
- Continuing University Honors students (sophomores and above) need to attend one Honors Student Council event per semester.**
- Demonstrate progress toward Honors Fellows distinction requirements by taking at least six hours of honors coursework per year.
- Annually update their Honors ePortfolio.
*Freshmen who are not meeting co-curricular participation requirements will be subject to probation for GPR in the Spring semester. Freshmen who do not have a 3.5 cumulative GPR at the end of their first academic year will be placed on probation during the upcoming Fall semester.
**Continuing students who will be away from campus for a semester of study abroad or internship should arrange an alternative way to participate. Meet with an honors advisor ahead of time to discuss alternatives, such as submitting a blog post or hosting a Donuts & Discussion about your experience.
Continuing Honors Students who fail to meet any of these requirements will be given a semester of probation to correct any deficiencies. While in the probationary semester, a priority registration time will not be assigned. Honors Students who fail to meet requirements after a semester of probation will be dismissed from the program. Students who have been dismissed may submit an appeal for an extra semester of probation by using this form.
A Snapshot of the Honors Fellows Curriculum
To receive the Honors Fellows distinction at graduation, Honors Students must:
- Earn a total of 30 honors points. Each credit hour of honors coursework equals 1 point. 21 points must come from courses distributed as follows: ◦12 hours in upper-division (300/400-level) courses or graduate courses taken for undergraduate credit
- 9 hours in the Core Curriculum, as specified in the student’s catalog
- Additional honors points to bring the total to 30 points
- Maintain 3.25 GPR in honors coursework and 3.5 GPR overall.
- Complete an Honors Capstone experience.
Honors Students are encouraged to meet with an Honors Advisor on a regular basis to ensure they are meeting program participation and distinction requirements. Please see below for a more extensive checklist of distinction requirements.
Earning Honors Credit
There are multiple ways to earn Honors credit. You can register for an Honors course or section, do a "course contract" to turn a regular course into an Honors experience, do Honors independent study or research or even take graduate courses for Honors credit!
Honors courses are intended to be “enriched,” not accelerated. Although the content of an Honors course will be largely the same as a non-honors course, the class activities will require a student to interact differently and at a deeper level than in a non-honors course. For instance, one could expect increased discussion, critical essays, creative projects, and group presentations instead of rote memorization or multiple-choice tests. Overall, students prefer their Honors courses over their non-honors courses, although they do admit that the Honors courses can be more time-consuming.
Over 300 Honors courses from each of the nine academic colleges at Texas A&M are offered annually. Subject to prerequisite or other department registration requirements, any TAMU undergraduate with a cumulative 3.5 GPR is eligible to register for Honors sections. For a current course listing, refer to http://howdy.tamu.edu. You can also find more information about finding Honors sections in our FAQ.
Honors students are strongly encouraged to meet regularly with Honors Advisors to help select courses that will allow them to complete Honors Fellows.
Options for Honors Credit
In addition to registering for a listed Honors course, eligible students may pursue one or more of the following options to obtain Honors credit:
Honors Course Contracts
Honors Course Contracts allow students in the University Honors Program (or one of the several college or departmental Honors programs) to receive Honors credit for non-Honors courses. In essence, a student proposes to "contract" the course for Honors credit by proposing alternate or additional activities to those listed by the instructor in the course syllabus; these activities should allow the student to emulate the experience of an Honors course and should augment the course activities, not simply add to them. The proposed activities must be approved by the instructor and the University Honors Program, and are copied to the instructor's department head. Honors credit is given at the end of the semester once the student has satisfactorily completed the activities described in the Honors Course Contract application. Honors credit will be applied to the student’s transcript after final grades for the class have posted. See our section on Teaching Honors Courses for examples of projects that you might consider for your Honors Course Contract.
There are two main questions that need to be answered for an Honors Course Contract: how will your plan of study differ from what is on the regular syllabus? And, what will be your basis for a grade?
We do track students who repeatedly fail to complete contract requirements and may not approve future contracts since wasting faculty time and energy jeopardizes the opportunity for all students.
Plan of Study
Honors-caliber study is not simply doing more work or more difficult work; instead, Honors study should expect higher-order or more complex work. In order to approve your contract, we need to see that your plan of study provides a more complex experience than what is described in the non-Honors syllabus. (see http://hur.tamu.edu/Faculty-Staff/Getting-Involved-in-Honors/Teaching-Honors-Classes for examples).
Basis for Grade
This section should clearly explain if and how your Honors Course Contract work will affect the grading policy described in the non-Honors syllabus. This requirement gives us a way to help address any disputes that might arise later. There is a range of possibility, as shown in the examples below:
- My Honors contract will not affect my course grade. If I do not complete the Honors contract work, I will not receive Honors credit.
- My Honors contract work will count for 20% of my course grade, with the other grade categories reduced proportionally.
- The Honors versions of my class assignments will be weighted the same as described in the syllabus, but will be evaluated with a higher standard as described in my plan of study.
Applications for Honors Course Contracts are due by the 20th class day of the semester. For complete instructions, refer to the Honors Course Contract application.
Graduate Course Work for Honors Credit
Any graduate course work taken at Texas A&M for undergraduate credit will be considered as Honors credit for Honors Students. Note that graduate credit hours earned toward an undergraduate degree may not be used again toward a graduate degree. Students who intend to enroll in graduate-level course work should confer with an Honors Advisor.
The ePortfolio is an online comprehensive collection of information about a person, like an enhanced multi-dimensional résumé. Often jobs or graduate programs require samples of work and--with your ePortfolio--you will already have begun to build this repertoire and will have gained experience organizing and presenting your work.
Expectations | Examples | Resources | Assessment | Submit your ePortfolio
We expect you to update your ePortfolio annually. Our hope is that you find ways to individualize this and tailor it to your needs. If you have a requirement to build an ePortfolio for a class or for your major, we encourage you to adapt this to your needs instead of duplicating effort. To meet our expectations, your ePortfolio should provide answers the following questions: What? So What? Now What?
What? - Interests, Opportunities, KSA
- What are my interests and what opportunities do I see to pursue those at Texas A&M?
- What are my long-term plans? How are these connected to my core values?
- What classes, lectures, organizations, communities, events or experiences such as study abroad, undergraduate research, service, or internships have been meaningful to me? How have these reinforced my goals, refined them, or changed them?
- What knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA) have I built to this point in my undergraduate career?
- What papers or projects am I proud of and willing to show off?
- What kinds of recognition have I received for my accomplishments?
- What kinds of leadership roles have I taken on?
So what? - Reflect on why these experiences matter to you
- Do I think that I am being well-served by these experiences?
- How am I learning and growing as a result?
- Am I meeting the TAMU Undergraduate Learning Outcomes?
- What has surprised me in my undergraduate education?
- What has caused me to feel excitement or accomplishment?
- What has caused me to feel concern or disappointment?
- How have I grown in my awareness of issues/questions/or problems in my intended field?
Now what? - Connect experiences & interests to your plans
- How do I see the various aspects of my education, both in and out of the classroom, coming together to help me achieve my goals?
- What gaps in my knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) do I need to fill?
- How is (or how will) my capstone project help me build confidence in my knowledge, skills, and abilities as I embark on a career?
- How will I celebrate my successes?
- How will I respond to setbacks and disappointment?
- What are my next steps in pursuing my long-term goals?
These questions are provided to guide your reflective efforts. There is no expectation that you answer all of the guiding questions, or that you organize them in separate sections. You are encouraged to structure your ePortfolio in whatever format best fits your needs. It will be especially helpful to give examples from your classes or student organizations that illustrate your answers. Students accustomed to our previous rubric may find this mapping to the new rubric helpful:
Click the image below to open a PDF of the ePortfolio assessment rubric.
You can describe courses you have taken and make note of professors you connected with. You can keep track of work experience, groups you participate in, and awards you have won. An ePortfolio is also a great way to describe what research you are working on, study-abroad photos, a reflective journal, and anything else you have put effort into and would like to document and share.
Below are some examples that we have been given permission to share:
Taylor Welch '19 (business honors)
Kaitlin Wallace '19 - (management information systems)
Laura Reid '16 (psychology)
Dominic Jarecki '17 (mechanical engineering)
Mikayla Barry '17 (biomedical engineering)
Arianne Couch '17 (business administration)
Rebecca Barton '17 (vizualization)
Eric Fris '17 (chemical engineering)
Michelle Dembosky '17 (biomedical science)
Here are additional resources that can help you understand the value of your ePortfolio:
Mays Business School Comm Lab has developed a "portfolio of the portfolio" that not only includes great examples of what kinds of information to include in your eportfolio, but also some great feedback from other students on the value of creating a portfolio.
(BTW, business students, you don't need to create two different portfolios! We're happy for you to submit your business portfolio link).
Honors Student Council has created a template you can use to start building your own ePortfolio
The Death of the Resume: Dave Wilkin at TEDxUW
Students Turn to Internet to Build Online Presence, Showcase Work
Showcasing Your Work, in an Online Portfolio
LSU Digital Portfolio Examples (includes discipline-specific examples)
Virtual Responsibility Guidelines