The Honors Program is designed for students of exceptional initiative and ability who enter the program as first-year students by invitation, or by application within the first year of their college career. The Honors Program is designed to foster the kinds of critical thinking, cross-disciplinary curiosity, analytical and creative rigor expected in Honors courses in all disciplines, to enrich the experiences for entering and lower-division Honors students through intellectually challenging course work, and to provide significant opportunities to interact with an academically energetic cohort during four years of Honors study. Sweet Briar students who are not accepted into the program as incoming first-year Honors students may apply for admission in the spring semester of their first year. Students who transfer to Sweet Briar from another institution also may apply for admission to the program.
The Honors Degree
The Honors Degree is the culmination of an Honors course of study at Sweet Briar College. A student wishing to pursue the Honors Degree should consult with her advisor and the director of the Honors Program as early in her college career as possible.
The path to an Honors Degree consists of five to six classes (13-16 credits) taken by all Honors students concurrently and over all four years. Students must earn a grade of ‘B’ or better in each of the graded courses, a grade of ‘B+’ or higher in HNRS 472, a grade of ‘P’ in each of the P/CR/NC courses, and achieve a 3.4 cumulative GPA at graduation.
- CORE 110H - Design Thinking (3 credits): As an Honors section of the first 3-week Leadership Core class that all entering first-year students take, this class will bring th cohort together.
- CORE 130H - Women in the World (3 credits): This curse will bring Honors students back together in the sophomore year for another shared experience.
- HNRS 399 - Honors Summer Research Program or HNRS 470 - Junior Research (3 credits): Students will prepare for their senior research through either the Honors Summer Research Program or Junior Research. Both courses will be supervised by an advisor in the student’s major.
- HNRS 471 - Honors Launchpad (1 credit): This course will be taken in the 3-week session in the fall of a student’s senior year. Taken with all other students intending to graduate with an Honors Degree, this course will encourage collaboration, critique, and cross-disciplinary discussions as students prepare to begin their intensive senior research. This course will require facilitation by a faculty member.
- HNRS 472 - Senior Honors Research (3-6 credits): A student’s senior research may take place over one or two semesters (depending on discipline), following the guidelines currently established by participating majors and supervised by an advisor in the student’s major as well as two additional committee members.
Students who complete a Sweet Briar approved course abroad may petition the Honors Committee to accept it as the equivalent of an an Honors course.
Senior Honors Thesis Project
The Senior Honors Thesis project provides the Honors student with the opportunity to design and complete a long-term project in her major program. To be eligible to initiate a Senior Honors Thesis project, a student must have successfully completed CORE 110H, CORE 130H, HNRS 399 or HNRS 470, and at least three courses that count towards her major in addition to having a minimum grade point average of 3.0. Seniors will initially be enrolled in HNRS 471 - Honors Launchpad in the fall 3-week session, during which they will develop their proposals and learn research and presentation techniques. If the thesis proposal is approved, the year-long research project of creative endeavor moves forward under the direction of a faculty member from, or approved by, her major program. Periodically, she may meet with other students doing thesis work and with the director of the Honors Program. The Senior Honors Thesis project must be completed in a form specified by the major program no later than two weeks before the end of classes in a student’s final semester. The thesis project is evaluated by a committee made up of the candidate’s thesis advisor, a second reader from the College, and a third reader from outside the College, most often faculty from another college. The committee also conducts an oral examination on the thesis and determines the level of honors (Honors, High Honors, Highest Honors) to be awarded. A candidate who does not meet the requirements for successful completion of the Senior Honors Thesis project is transferred to candidacy for the regular degree and will receive credit for independent study for her work.