Dr. Jonathan Thorndike, Director
Honors Council: Andrew Davis (CAS, School of Humanities); Carrie Harvey (CHS); Dan Johnson (CVPA, Art); Brad Childs (COBA); James Al-Shamma (CVPA, Theatre and Dance); Mark Volker (CVPA, School of Music); Rachael Flynn-Hopper (CAS, School of Education); Nathan Griffith (CAS, Political Sci, School of Social Sciences); Mike Pinter (CAS, School of Sciences); Donavan McAbee (School of Religion); David Schreiber (CEMB); Jonathan Thorndike (Honors Program Director).
The Honors Program at Belmont University was created to provide an enrichment opportunity for students who have potential for superior academic performance, and who seek added challenge and breadth in their studies. The program is designed to allow students to be as creative in their study as their ability permits, and yet to encourage in their study a range and depth of learning in keeping with the faculty’s expectations of excellence for honors students.
Students are offered a creative curriculum, flexibility and individualization in the formation of their degree plans, the collegiality of like-minded and equally dedicated peers, and academic and personal support from a private Honors Tutor.
Participation in the Honors Program supplements, a baccalaureate major. The Honors Program has an alternative General Education Curriculum core which substitutes for the regular B.A.; B.B.A., B.F.A.; B.M., B.S.; B.S.N.; or B.S.W. General Education core shown elsewhere in the bulletin.
The Honors Program is administered by the Honors Council composed of one faculty member from each of the university’s colleges, the Director of the Honors Program, and the three Honors students representing the sophomore, junior, and senior classes.
Belmont offers many types of financial awards and scholarships to academically superior students. Faculty and staff make significant efforts are made to insure that all students in the Honors Program have an opportunity to acquire such aid, but no financial aid is directly linked to participation in the program. Students should consult the section on financial aid in this bulletin.
Enrollment in Honors Courses
Students in the Honors Program are required to complete a 41-42 hour curriculum consisting of the Honors interdisciplinary core and one of three Honors Tracks, and are encouraged to complete each course with their specific cohort of peers. Students not in the program may request permission from the director to register for honors seminars. Such students should have a 3.2 G.P.A., written recommendations from their academic advisors, and permission from the instructor.
Withdrawal, Dismissal, and Reinstatement
Students may withdraw from the Honors Program at their own discretion. However, they are required to notify the director, in writing, of their intention to withdraw.
Beginning with the end of the freshman year, honors students’ grade point averages are reviewed regularly. Students who fail to maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.2 will be placed on probation. If a student has a GPA of less than 3.2 by the beginning of the junior year; or if at any point it becomes unlikely for a student to attain a GPA of 3.2 by the end of the junior year, the student will be dismissed from the program. Dismissal can be appealed to the Honors Council.
Honors students who fail to demonstrate a responsible commitment to the program or an appropriate decorum consistent with the high values of the Honors Program may be dismissed from the program by the Honors Council. Any student seeking reinstatement to the Honors Program after being dismissed must go through the application process again.
Honors students who have been absent from the university for more than one year must reapply for admission to the program.
The Plan of Study for Belmont Scholars
Honors students have the unique opportunity of designing their own baccalaureate degree plan, which is called an Individualized Major. Honors students can complete the catalog requirements for any standard Belmont academic major, or they can design an Individualized Major. If an Honors student elects to design an Individualized Major, under the guidance of an Honors faculty tutor, the student submits the Plan of Study by the end of the sophomore year. The Individualized Plan of Study must be approved by the Honors Council if the Honors student wants to design his or her own major.
The Individualized Plan of Study must include an approved major. No minor is required, but one can be created. The Individualized Plan of Study must have the approval of the College(s) in which the student will be studying. The Individualized Plan of Study cannot be fulfilled by a traditional Belmont catalog major or minor and must be clearly different from a catalog major or minor. The Individualized Plan of Study must have a minimum of 30 credit hours in the major field. The Individualized Plan of Study must have a well-developed rationale and coherent explanation of learning objectives and outcomes. The balance of the Individualized baccalaureate program may be determined by the student with approval of the Honors Council.
All Honors students must complete the Honors interdisciplinary core courses and one of 3 Specialized Tracks: 1) Research Track in Humanities, Social Sciences, or Natural Science; 2) Project LEAD Leadership Studies Track; or 3) Artist’s Studio Track for Creative Projects.
A minimum of 128 semester hours is required for a bachelor’s degree from Belmont. Many departments require specific courses, which must appear on the Individualized Plan of Study, and close consultation between the student, the Honors Tutor, and the department chairperson is essential.
The Honors student is strongly encouraged to include in the Plan of Study a foreign language through the intermediate level and one year of a laboratory science courses.
Research is crucial to the essence of a Belmont Scholar. Accordingly, all Honors students complete academic research, professional projects, creative projects, and scholarly writing throughout their programs. However, being a Belmont Scholar also requires some degree of specialization. So, all students in the Honors Program are required to write an Honors thesis which may include a creative project in their major area.
During the junior year, a thesis/project prospectus is formulated in consultation with the Honors Tutor. By the end of the junior year, the prospectus must be submitted for approval to the thesis committee and Honors Council. Particulars about the thesis and supervising committee may be obtained from the Director of the Honors Program.
Graduating with Honors and as a Belmont Scholar
Belmont recognizes and employs the traditional Honors nomenclature, and students need not be admitted to the Honors Program to graduate with an Honors distinction.
In addition to these awards, the university also designates some students as Belmont Scholars. To be eligible for such a designation, a student must have successfully completed Belmont’s Honors Program.
The minimal requirements for graduation as a Belmont Scholar are as follows:
- a minimum of a 3.2 cumulative grade point average
- personal values and decorum adjudged worthy of the Honors designation
- completion of the Honors core requirements
- completion of one of the three Honors Specialized Tracks
- completion of an approved bachelor’s major
- successful completion and defense of the Honors thesis or project
- approval by the Honors Council