The Honors Program provides an unusually rich and challenging experience for capable and motivated undergraduate students. Its purpose is to assist students as they establish lifelong patterns of learning and appreciation of the world's great treasures of knowledge. An honors education provides students with the advantages of an enriched education in a small-class setting with excellent professors, while utilizing all of the advantages of a large university. Students who pursue an honors education at Brigham Young University take honors courses that fulfill university general education requirements; experience Great Works in literature, art, music, film, theater, and science; and participate in an intensive honors thesis experience in support of their selected major.
To graduate from BYU, all students must meet not only the requirements of a major department but also the university core requirements in general education and religion. Most students complete the nonmajor requirements through courses in the general university curriculum. Because all students must complete core requirements, some required classes have high enrollments, and there is little opportunity for students to interact with the professors. The Honors Program invites capable and motivated students to satisfy university core requirements through honors as alternatives to the standard general and religious education programs. Honors courses have small enrollments (usually fewer than 30 students per class) and emphasize class discussion and writing.
"University Honors" is a distinction awarded to all graduates of BYU who have met the honors requirements as described below. This prestigious designation is recorded on the university diploma, on the official transcript of grades, and in the commencement program. It is widely recognized as an indication of exceptional academic achievement.
There are no special admissions criteria for participation in the Honors Program, and all students are invited to consider honors as a way to both broaden and deepen their educational experience at BYU. However, it takes careful planning to complete all program requirements. Typically, interested first-year students begin by completing an enrollment form that may be obtained from the Honors Advisement Center in 350D MSRB after a brief orientation. Then during their second year, students formally commit to the program and, with the help of the Advisement Center, begin to construct a more concrete plan for graduation with University Honors. Reasonable accommodations can be made for transfer students who wish to join the program. But any student at the university is welcome to take honors courses that suit their interests and educational objectives.
Please call Shauna Barrick at (801) 422-1997 with questions.
The Honors Program is housed in the historic Maeser Building on the southwest corner of campus. It is surrounded by beautiful grounds and wooded areas. The building is named after Karl G. Maeser, the first principal of Brigham Young Academy (the school that later became Brigham Young University). A bronze statue of Karl G. Maeser stands at the building's east entrance. Constructed in 1911, the Maeser Building is the oldest building on campus. The building was restored in 1985 with modern electrical and ventilation systems but retains its historic architecture and decoration, its marble halls richly decorated with oak and brass trim.
Facilities for honors students in the Maeser Building include the Honors Reading Room in 150 MSRB, with study tables and a small library of reference works and classics; the Honors Student Lounge in 350D MSRB, where students can meet for informal discussions; an art gallery in the lower-floor hall; the Honors Advisement Center in 102A MSRB, where students receive counseling about their honors education; and the Martha Jane Knowlton Coray Lecture Hall in 321 MSRB, where classes, lectures, and performances are held. Another Honors Reading Room is located in room 3770 of the Harold B. Lee Library.
Students who have completed an enrollment form and who are active participants in the Honors Program are eligible for reduced-rate or free admission to selected musical and theatrical performances, some of which may include visiting performers of international renown. They also have priority registration privileges for honors courses. The Honors Program sponsors lectures, concerts, symposia, and socials. Honors students can also participate in intercampus events with honors students from other universities and colleges. Each Thursday at 11:00 a.m. during fall and winter semesters, the Honors Program sponsors the Honors Seminar, featuring an academic presentation by a professor or member of the community. Students are also invited to participate in the Honors Student Advisory Council, a group of student representatives who assist in policy development, social activities, and academic functions of the Honors Program.
The characteristics that best define honors students are motivation and a strong desire to obtain the most from the educational experience that BYU has to offer. Honors students seek breadth in their education by taking honors courses outside their majors. They excel within their majors by learning how to conduct research and scholarly work within their chosen fields. They usually tend to work harder and spend more time on their course work than other students, not because their courses are more difficult but because they take courses that interest them personally. They attend concerts, plays, films, lectures, and art and science exhibitions, and they participate in informal discussions with their professors and fellow students. Because many of their classes are small and discussion-oriented, they are personally acquainted with their professors. They are not necessarily those with the highest grade point average or the highest standardized test scores, nor do all honors students have scholarships. They become well-rounded, literate, and humane scholars whose faith in the restored gospel is strong. Their thirst for knowledge lasts a lifetime.
Approximately 30 percent of the BYU student body participates in honors. All BYU students who seek an enhanced educational experience are invited to take advantage of the many opportunities offered by the Honors Program.
This section provides a brief overview of the requirements to graduate with University Honors. Student advisors in the Honors Advisement Center (350D MSRB, (801) 422-5497), are available to answer questions about honors requirements. To graduate with University Honors, a student must:
The requirements for graduation with University Honors complements both major and core education. The honors curriculum, Great Works, and advanced languages requirements enhance the university general education requirements; the honors thesis requirement enhances the major education component.
Dates and times for honors courses are listed in the class list of this schedule under Honors (HONRS) or by any class with the suffix H.
The "University Honors Program Online Course Guide" also contains a complete list of honors courses and detailed course descriptions. It is an essential supplement to this class schedule and can be found at honors.byu.edu. For further information about the Honors Program, contact the Honors Advisement Center, 350D MSRB, telephone (801) 422-5497, http://honors.byu.edu.