Honors Curriculum

Students Entering Fall 2014 and Later

The Honors Curriculum consists of four integrated components:

(a) Honors Core Curriculum
(b) Honors Portfolio
(c) Distinction Project
(d) Additional general education requirements

Honors Program Checksheet

The Core Curriculum

The Honors Core curriculum parallels the Intellectual Inquiry curriculum that is required of all other students. In both curricula, students learn through topic-based courses that apply the skills, knowledge, and methodologies of different disciplines to real questions and issues.  Honors courses provide enhanced learning opportunities for students in two ways:

They offer more sophisticated or challenging materials or assignments.  Examples might include greater reliance on primary source material, readings and assignments that dig deeper into complex issues, more discussion, and more student-driven course material or classroom activity

Each course has a distinctive engagement component that uses course content to connect students with a community beyond the class.  Examples might include collecting data in the Roanoke Valley, participating in an embedded service learning project, exchanging ideas with scholars in the field, and planning an event for the campus or an external community.

Courses in the Honors Core are as follows:

Two first year seminars

HNRS 110    Honors Seminar

HNRS 120    Living an Examined Life

Seven courses from disciplinary perspectives, which are satisfied by HNRS courses listed below.  Students may also choose to substitute up to three disciplinary courses or INQ courses in place of equivalent HNRS requirements.  A fourth substitution of an INQ course is allowed with permission of the Honors Program Director. However, students applying substitutions still must take at least one HNRS course in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics (HNRS 240, 241, 250, 251), one in the Social Sciences (HNRS 260), and one in the Humanities and Fine Arts (HNRS 270, 271).  In addition, at least one of the 200-level HNRS courses or INQ substitutions must have a global perspective.  Global courses are denoted with a G in the course section designation. Disciplinary substitutions for the global requirement are not allowed.

HNRS 240    Statistical Reasoning
HNRS 250    Scientific Reasoning I
HNRS 241    Mathematical Reasoning  OR HNRS 251 Scientific Reasoning II
HNRS 260    Social Scientific Reasoning (2 units required from different disciplines)
HNRS 270    Human Heritage I
HNRS 271    Human Heritage II

The capstone course:

HNRS 300    Contemporary Issues

Honors Core Curriculum FAQs

Honors Portfolio

The Honors Portfolio helps students explore opportunities outside of the traditional classroom and showcase their most meaningful work.  The Portfolio Seminar (HNRS 111, 112, 113, 114) supports development of the Honors Portfolio during the first two years, as students pursue deliberate, individualized programs of cultural, intellectual and service activities that broaden and deepen their understanding of the world outside the classroom.  In the first year students identify and cultivate broad interests by exploring a wide range of opportunities on campus and in the community.  In the second year students move toward depth as they choose extended, more focused experiences and begin to lay groundwork for their Distinction Projects.  In this year students also explore and prepare to participate in high-impact opportunities on and off campus.  In creating the Honors Portfolio, students draw on written and creative works related to these breadth, depth, and distinction experiences along with other academic and personal accomplishments to create an integrated and forward-looking picture of their development at Roanoke College.  

Honors Portfolio FAQs

Distinction Project

During the third and fourth years, students bring their academic, intellectual, cultural and/or service interests to bear on a distinctive extended project that spans at least two semesters and includes a significant written or creative work.  This Distinction Project may take many forms; examples include but are not limited to the following:

Two-unit research or creative project

Semester or year of study away with associated project

Extended service leadership project

Internship and related one-unit research project

The project will be shared with an on- or off-campus audience through presentation or performance, and the culminating written or creative work becomes part of the Honors Portfolio.

Students may apply to the Honors Program Director for funding to support the Distinction Project.

Distinction Project FAQs

Additional General Education Requirements

In addition to the Honors Core, students in the Honors Program must complete the following general education requirements:

Proficiency in a foreign language through the intermediate (202) level.

Two physical education activities. One of these must be HHP 160 (Fitness for Life); the other may be a ¼ unit course in a different activity or participation in a varsity sport.

One unit of Intensive Learning.


"A strong community of dedicated individuals is probably one of the best benefits of Honors for me.  I have developed friendships with friends who honestly care about their education and who want to do well at Roanoke College.  They want to go above and beyond and get involved with the multiple club opportunities on campus.  There is almost an instant connection with these individuals from the moment you get to meet one another."

- Rebecca Siar '15

"The breadth of experiences I gained from the Honors Program, particularly through the foreign language component and cultural events, led me to a job teaching English in Spain, while my mentors and peers encouraged me to apply for the prestigious Fulbright scholarship, which would allow me to research public health in Mexico. The program´s focus on and support of multidisciplinary interests has given me the tools I need to continue pursuing my dream to serve underrepresented and minority communities as a physician and public health care advocate. "

- Victoria Godwin '14



  • Study with other intelligent, hard-working students
  • Opportunity to live in Honors-designated housing