Guidance Letter A-090


SUBJECT:  Honors Program

The Honors Program is for students who excel in academics and have a desire to explore in greater depth the major topics covered in the curriculum. Designed to augment the course work required for a degree, the program core curriculum includes specially designed honors courses as well as honors-level sections and components of standard courses. Students who successfully complete the program will earn recognition at graduation and on their transcripts.

The honors courses are designed to challenge academically well-prepared students while introducing and reinforcing the experiential learning outcomes of the Honors Program, which are:

  • Demonstration of academic excellence
  • Demonstration of in-depth subject exploration in a chosen field
  • Public presentation experience
  • Leadership experience and exploration of leadership styles
  • Service to the campus and/or community
  1. Honors Diploma Requirements
    To receive the Honors designation on their diploma, a student must complete a minimum of 17 hours of Honors course work with an average of 3.25 or better and meet the associate degree requirements with a 3.25 overall GPA at graduation.  Honors course work will consist of three required HON courses (see section III.B.) and a minimum of 9 hours of approved Honors sections of General Education courses (see section III.A.). The Honors Capstone course, to be completed in the final semester, will involve an original project and a public presentation and may contain service and/or leadership projects. The diploma and transcript will carry a seal bearing the designation "HONORS."
  2. Honors Program Qualifying Criteria
    ​Students must apply to participate in the Honors program using the Honors Program Application. All applications are reviewed by the Honors Program Chair. A student must meet criteria as outlined below to be admitted into the program.  (Any exceptions to the criteria must be approved in writing by the Honors Program Review Subcommittee and the Vice President of Academic Affairs.):
    1. First Time Freshman – must have a cumulative high school GPA of 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale or an ACT composite score of 24 or higher or an SAT combined score of 940 or higher.
    2. All learning support requirements must be satisfied prior to admission to the Honors Program.
    3. Currently Enrolled Student – must have a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher after completing a minimum of 12 semester credit hours of college-level hours of which 9 must be Cleveland State hours.
    4. Transfer Student - must transfer from an accredited institution's honors program with recommendation of its director and meet all Cleveland State requirements with the exception of residency; or must transfer from an accredited institution with a minimum of 12 hours college-level credit and a GPA of 3.25 or better, a written recommendation from a faculty member at the transfer institution and approval of the Honors Program Review Subcommittee.
  3. Honors Course Designations
    The following program classes are open to honors program participants or by special permission of the instructor and Honors Program Review Subcommittee:
    1. Honors Sections of Approved General Education Courses
      1. The Honors Section format allows students to earn honors credit in a selection of courses that fulfill general education requirements for most degrees. Students will attend regularly scheduled course sessions while completing specially designed in-depth study and assignments with other honors program members. Credit hours for the traditional course and the honors upgrade course will be identical. A selection of these course offerings will be available each fall and spring semester. The honors section is identified by discipline designation and course number, e.g. HIST 2020. The section number designation will be "_H_".
      2. Under special circumstances, a student may request approval for honors credit in a course outside of the standard Honors general education section offerings. This requires collaboration with the course faculty to create a one-time honors contract which must be approved by the Honors Program Review Subcommittee before the end of the semester prior to the course start date. Only one contract course outside of the standard Honors section options may count toward the Honors diploma.
    2. Honors Program Core Requirements
      1. HON 1110 Honors Colloquium
        First Year Seminar: Honors Colloquium is designed to introduce first-semester honors students to the Cleveland State campus and college life.  This course also introduces the Honors program structure while providing foundational support for successful completion of an honors diploma. Students will engage in activities to support their current and future academic needs, introduce them to the various aspects of campus life, encourage pursuit of leadership and service opportunities and create a record of their activities. This course is taught as a learning community with Leadership Development (3 hours) and Service Learning Experience (1 hour). The section number designation is "HHH."
      2. HON 2902 Leadership Development Studies
        This course follows the "Leadership Development Studies: A Humanities Approach" curriculum created by the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and is designed to assist students in the development of personal leadership philosophies and methods. This course carries three credit hours. The section number designation is "HHH."
      3. HON 2901, HON 2902 or HON 2903 Honors Capstone
        ​The Honors Capstone is a student-focused learning experience meant to enhance and reinforce the skillset gained through the Honors Program.  Under the guidance of a faculty mentor, the student will learn to integrate knowledge and methods from their chosen discipline into a project that supports their academic goals and interests. The goal of the capstone experience is to provide students with introductory experience in original research and public presentation.  This should be approached, by student and mentor alike, as both a new learning process and an opportunity to demonstrate awareness of principles and practices learned to this point within their field of study.  The section number designation is "HHH."
  4. Faculty Remuneration for Honors Courses
    1. Courses listed above under III.B. are considered stand-alone courses. As such, they are considered part of the faculty member's course load; they may thus be part of a regular course load or computed as overload. If an honors course has fewer than 12 students, proration may be necessary (based upon the credit hours attached to the course).
    2. Courses listed above under III.A. (Honors sections) are offered as additions to the regular faculty course load. Compensation will be based on a prorated amount per student (14th day) per semester (based on overload pay scale; 12 students= 1 class) as follows:
      • Instructor-$27. 50
      • Assistant Professor - $31.67
      • Associate Professor - $37.08
      • Professor - $41.25

Source: Honors Task Force 1995/96/97 and 2014

Latest Revision:
September 29, 2016

Previously Approved by:
Dean’s Council January 30, 2013; Curriculum and Academic Standards February 7, 2013; President’s Cabinet February 12, 2013; Curriculum and Academic Standards November 20, 2014; President’s Cabinet March 23, 2015.

Approved by:
Curriculum and Academic Standards September 29, 2016.
President’s Cabinet October 6, 2016