2019-2020 Elmhurst Catalog 
    Dec 10, 2019  
2019-2020 Elmhurst Catalog

The Honors Program

Established in 1965, the Elmhurst College Honors Program provides honors-level liberal arts education dedicated to self-development and professional preparation.

Designed to ensure that students experience both intellectual independence and academic achievement, the Honors Program fosters intellectual relationships among students and faculty and staff in support of the free exchange of ideas, enhances the integration of the liberal arts and professional activity, and develops its members as future societal leaders in an increasingly global world.

Qualified students in any major may participate in the Honors Program. Honors Program students are concurrently enrolled in one of the College’s undergraduate programs through which they earn their bachelor’s degrees. A study in the Honors Program is intended to complement the curricula of all academic programs, providing students the benefits of challenging coursework with recognized teacher-scholars and other academically motivated students. Many Honors Program courses fulfill the College’s Integrated Curriculum requirements.

To be considered for the Honors Program, students must first be admitted to Elmhurst College. First-year and transfer students with excellent academic records are invited to apply for admission to the Honors Program. Students who demonstrate superior academic achievement while at Elmhurst and then present a faculty recommendation may also apply to the Program.

Program participants are expected to contribute to the well-being of the common life of the College, to maintain a strong academic record consistent with the expectations of the Honors Program and with the requirements of their academic scholarships, and to actively participate in Honors Program activities.

Participation in the Honors Program becomes a part of the student’s permanent academic record. Transcripts and diplomas acknowledge each participant as an Honors Program Member, an Honors Program Scholar or an Honors Program Global Scholar; students completing the Honors Program are recognized at the College’s Honors Convocation.


Mary Kay Mulvaney, Director; Mladen Turk, Assistant Director; Full-time faculty from multiple disciplines.

Mission Statement

The Elmhurst College Honors Program affords a unique, enhanced educational experience for distinguished undergraduates committed to the pursuit of academic excellence. Fostering intellectual independence, scholarly achievement and the integration of liberal learning and professional activity, the interdisciplinary program nurtures a community of learners and contributes to the intellectual vibrancy of the entire College.

Program Goals

  • Provide intellectually stimulating experiences within courses and beyond
  • Contribute to campus intellectual vibrancy
  • Foster leadership skills
  • Promote Service-Learning and civic engagement opportunities
  • Encourage international experiences and broader intercultural awareness
  • Maintain a strong sense of community among participants and between students and faculty
  • Support research opportunities
  • Network with other Honors Program organizations to enhance our program

Program Description

Academic Opportunities 

The Honors Program combines unique academic opportunities with cultural and social activities throughout a student’s college career.

Academic opportunities include honors versions of Integrated Curriculum courses, topic-based January Term electives, Honors Directed Readings, Honors Service Seminar, Honors Intercultural Seminar, Honors Model UN, advanced interdisciplinary seminars, and independent research with faculty mentors.

It is strongly recommended that students take one Honors course per term, especially during the first two years. Participation in the program can result in one of three possible distinctions on a student’s transcript and diploma upon graduation from Elmhurst College.

Honors Program Member indicates completion of a minimum of 4.75 Honors credits (19 semester hours), with at least one Honors course at the 300/400 level, earned within the Elmhurst College Honors Program with a grade of B or better.

Honors Program Scholar indicates completion of a minimum of 6.5 Honors credits (26 semester hours), with a grade of B or better. This total must include a research component earned through Honors Independent Research (see course number 495 within each academic department), the Honors Interdisciplinary Seminar (see HON 404  ), and/or successful completion of the CASE Summer Fellows Program (including an exit reflection requirement) or the Honors Program Summer Fellow experience.

Honors Program Global Scholar (the highest distinction) meets all the Honors Program Scholar requirements and indicates completion of a credit-bearing international study experience.

Some transfer Honors credit may be applied to any distinction; however, a minimum of three Honors credits (12 semester hours) must be completed within the Elmhurst College Honors Program.

Honors grant funding is available to assist students in completing their research. One category of such grants, the Swords Scholar Grant, is available exclusively to Honors Program students. All research projects are presented in a public, a scholarly venue such as the Elmhurst College Research and Performance Showcase and/or off-site professional conferences including the annual conference of the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) and the National Conference of Undergraduate Research (NCUR).

Social, Cultural, and Housing Opportunities 

In addition to the formal academic components of the Honors Program, students are provided with myriad intellectual, cultural and social opportunities to further enrich their college experience. These include personal advising by full-time faculty and the Honors Program director and assistant director; skilled guidance in applying for special funding opportunities for undergraduate research, pre-professional activities, nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships and/or graduate study; Service-Learning activities; and varied campus and off-campus co-curricular activities including special receptions with distinguished guest speakers, cultural events and social gatherings with other Honors Program participants.

Further opportunities exist within the Honors Living Learning Community. This housing option allows Honors Program members to live together in a dedicated residence hall wing enabling a strong community focus with shared goals of academic excellence and enhanced campus and civic engagement. 

Course Offerings

One unit of credit equals four semester hours.