Honors Program


Graduation with Honors
Courses of Instruction

The Honors Program holds as its central purpose and philosophy the stimulation and encouragement of academic activity at the highest level. It strives to bring together dedicated faculty and highly motivated students who share a commitment to the finest qualities of scholarship. Through collaboration with each school and college of the University, the Honors Program provides opportunities for the intellectual growth and fulfillment of students in all disciplines as well as of the many faculty who share a commitment to these ideals.

The Honors Program strives to meet its goals through its varied curriculum and the collegial nature of its co-curricular activities. The curriculum provides opportunities for in-depth study and research in the student’s chosen discipline and also offers a variety of interdisciplinary programs intended to provide breadth of scope and perspective in the tradition of a liberal arts education.

Co-curricular functions such as the Fall Escape are designed to foster that intellectual stimulation which is achieved only through out-of-class interaction among scholars from all components of the University. The celebration of Honors Week each spring provides an opportunity to promote and recognize academic achievement across the campus.


Freshmen. Admission of incoming freshmen to the Honors Program is by invitation. The TCU Honors Council sets the invitational standards for each incoming class, based on SAT or ACT scores and high school transcripts. Invitations are sent out in early April to high school seniors who have been accepted to TCU and meet these standards. Highly motivated students with excellent records that fall slightly below the invitational criteria are also encouraged to seek invitation to the Program by contacting the Director.

Transfers. Transfer students are eligible to join the Honors Program if they have achieved a 3.40 GPA in all previous college work. (For students with fewer than 24 hours, high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores will also be evaluated.) Transfer students must meet all Honors Program curriculum requirements, including the Lower Division Requirements listed below. However, they are invited to request that selected courses taken at other institutions be applied toward Honors Program requirements at TCU. Approval of such requests will be at the discretion of the Director of the Honors Program and no more than 9 hours may be applied.

Current TCU Students. Any current TCU student who has both a TCU cumulative and an overall cumulative GPA of 3.40 or higher is eligible to join the Honors Program. Students who enter the Program after they have matriculated at TCU must meet all Lower Division Requirements listed below. Interested students are encouraged to contact the Director of the Honors Program.


Lower Division Requirements

All Honors students must complete either the Honors Civilizations Track or the Honors Intellectual Traditions Track to fulfill the Lower Division Requirements.

Honors Civilizations Track (15 hours)

Students who elect this track will take two related courses (6 hours) selected from the several pairs offered in which various elements of a particular culture or civilization will be traced.  The purpose is to allow students to develop an understanding of the art, literature, music, science and/or other facets of that culture or civilization.

The remaining nine hours of this track of Lower Division Honors work must be taken from the Honors sections of first- and second-year level courses offered in departments throughout the University.  These Honors sections provide an additional measure of sophistication and challenge and are taught by faculty members selected for their commitment to high academic standards and dedication to motivating good students.  Because Honors sections generally are smaller than other similar courses, they are frequently the arenas for more interactive teaching methods.

Honors Intellectual Traditions Track. (15 hours) Students who take the 3-semester, 9-hour Honors Intellectual Traditions sequence are strongly encouraged to begin their freshman year with an Honors Freshman Seminar in the fall semester. Honors Intellectual Traditions begins in the fall semester of the freshman year and continues until the spring of the sophomore year. Three additional hours in an Honors section of their own choosing are also required.

Upper Division Requirements

Honors students who have completed the sophomore year with a GPA of 3.40 or higher and have fulfilled the Lower Division Requirements are recognized as Associate Honors Scholars and are invited to participate in Upper Division Honors, pursuing programs leading to degrees awarded with Departmental Honors and/or University Honors.

Departmental Honors. Departmental Honors involves intense study in the student’s chosen major, typically consisting of a junior or senior level seminar and a Senior Honors Project. This project may be presented in several forms, for instance, a paper reflecting original research or creative study, a portfolio or original composition in literature or one of the fine arts, or a documented performance in the arts. In the fall semester of the senior year, a student pursuing Departmental Honors chooses a professor to supervise the project who together with two additional faculty members form the student’s project committee. These three faculty members work closely with the student and during the spring semester approve the work as being worthy of the Departmental Honors distinction. Most departments in the University have programs leading to Departmental Honors. For a listing of all such departments and for detailed information concerning the form of the Senior Honors Project, please contact the Honors Program Office.

University Honors. University Honors encourages interdisciplinary thought during the junior and senior years. In small seminar settings, students explore questions that have challenged thinkers through the centuries: What is the nature of values, of society, of the universe? What does it mean to be human? Requirements for graduation with University Honors are (1) proficiency in a foreign language at the sophomore level and (2) satisfactory completion of the four interdisciplinary Honors Colloquia, HCOL 40023, 40033, 40043, and either HCOL 40013 or HNRS 40103. Students may, if space is available, take one or more of the Colloquia even if they elect not to pursue the full course of study leading to University Honors.

Additional Requirements

Enrollment in Honors Courses. All freshman and sophomore Honors students must enroll in at least one Honors course each semester until they have completed their Lower Division Requirements.

GPA Requirements. To remain in the Honors Program, students must achieve a 3.00 TCU cumulative GPA at the end of the freshman year and a 3.40 TCU cumulative GPA at the end of the sophomore year. Students must have both a TCU cumulative GPA and an overall cumulative GPA of 3.50 to graduate with Honors Program distinctions.

Pass/No Credit Policy. Courses to fulfill Honors Program requirements may not be taken on a Pass/No Credit basis.

Graduation with Honors

A student is recognized as having attained Departmental and/or University Honors during the graduation ceremonies, and his or her diploma and transcript indicate that the degree was awarded with Honors distinctions. Such Honors are conferred by the Honors Program on the basis of the student’s having a GPA equal to or greater than 3.50 with at least 58 semester hours of academic work having been completed at TCU (exclusive of credit by examination), and the student’s having completed the stated criteria for Departmental and/or University Honors.

The following is a complete list of courses offered by this department. Go to Class Search to see which courses are being taught this semester.

Courses of Instruction

Honors Intellectual Traditions

Honors Intellectual Traditions is an interdisciplinary, team-taught, 9-hour, 3-semester course relating history, religion, literature, philosophy, art, and the natural and social sciences. By relying on many of the great books and art works of Western civilization, this course provides students with a challenging introduction to the ideas and images that have shaped our culture. Honors Intellectual Traditions apportions its 9 interdisciplinary hours in three courses:

HHIT 10113. Explores the question of purpose or teleology among the most provocative thinkers in Western history, especially in philosophy, religion, science, literature and art.

HHIT 20123. Prerequisite: HHIT 10113. Continuing the exploration of provocative thinkers and artists, this semester’s readings examine the notion of order.

HHIT 20133. Prerequisites: HHIT 10113, 20123. Extends the interdisciplinary investigation of Western culture as it struggles with the concept of change.

On completing the 9 hours of HHIT 10113, 20123, and 20133, students will receive credit in the Explorations component of the University Curriculum Requirements as follows: 3 hours of Physical/Life Sciences (non-lab), 3 hours of Critical Inquiry, and 3 hours of Historical Studies (non-US). Students who do not finish all three semesters will receive elective academic credit for the number of hours completed.

Honors Colloquia

HCOL 40013. The Nature of the Universe. An examination of interdisciplinary aspects of physical and natural science; the submicroscopic world and the cosmos; cosmology; developments in modern biological and genetic research; mathematics and logic; the nature of scientific inquiry and our understanding of the physical world.

HCOL 40023. On Human Nature. An examination of the development of our self-understanding, the origins of human culture and the study of contemporary culture as it affects the individual.

HCOL 40033. The Nature of Values. An examination of contemporary value systems through the study of certain intrinsic values as revealed in a variety of readings, thought patterns and human creations.

HCOL 40043. The Nature of Society. An examination of the structure, functions, and processes of our social, political, and economic institutions.

HNRS 40103. Origins. An interdisciplinary course addressing the origins of time, order, change, the universe, earth, man, and human cultures, involving cooperative interaction of faculty from anthropology, biology, and geology.

Other Courses

HSPR 40970. Honors Special Projects. An Honors student interested in undertaking special independent study may, with appropriate permission, register for HSPR 40970 for 1 to 6 hours of credit. This may be utilized as a summer reading course or free elective. Under special circumstances, it may be used in lieu of a Departmental Honors seminar or an Honors Colloquium to fulfill requirements for Departmental or University Honors.

For further information. Contact the Honors Program, Sadler Hall 207, Texas Christian University, TCU Box 297022, Fort Worth, TX 76129; Telephone: (817) 257-7125; Fax: (817) 257-6987; E-mail: Honors@tcu.edu.