The Honors Program
Director: Tim Clancy, S.J.
For fifty years Gonzaga University has offered a challenging and inspiring four-year honors curriculum for academically gifted, and highly motivated students who desire to discover and develop their calling.
The program consists of two parts: annual honors colloquia and honors seminar sections for much of the general core curriculum. The honors colloquium classes introduce students to interdisciplinary study in areas of concrete interest and value.
The freshman colloquium introduces students to issues of class, race, gender and sexual orientation. The course includes a twenty hour service learning component in one of these four categories. In class students learn the social genealogy of each category, hear from a local activist how the category appears in the Spokane area and watch and discuss a movie that tackles some of the issues involved.
The sophomore colloquium is a multimedia, interdisciplinary course on American Christianity, particularly as it is practiced in the United States. This course runs in tandem with the sophomore honors religion seminar. Both classes are team taught by a priest, the director, and a professor from the religious studies department.
The junior colloquium involves a study of philosophical issues surrounding electronic culture.
In the senior colloquium the student writes an interdisciplinary honors thesis. Each student works with a mentor chosen by the student. The thesis is then publicly presented in April to fellow students in the program.
The second part of the academic program consists of a number of honors seminar sections of core classes. They break down as follows:
- Philosophy: There are four honors philosophy seminars mirroring the general philosophy core: PHIL 102H, PHIL 201H, PHIL 301H and finally a senior honors philosophy seminar (PHIL 489H). The topic for the senior seminar varies from year to year.
- Literature: There are three honors literature seminars: a two semester history of western literature, ENGL 103H, and ENGL 104H and ENGL 206H whose content varies from semester to semester, but focuses either on a period or a genre.
- Math and Science: One honors science course is required in addition to a laboratory science and one semester calculus (MATH 157).
- Social Science: Two social sciences courses from psychology, political science, sociology or economics;
- History: One of the two required history courses must be an honors seminar in American history.
- Religious Studies: There are honors seminars offered for two of the three religious studies requirements: RELI 110H and RELI 215H Christian Diversity.
- Fine Arts Honors Students are required to take 6 credits in music, art or drama, 3 of which may be performance credits.
- Speech: There is an honors Rhetoric seminar (SPCO 270H).
- Foreign Language: Two year college proficiency in a modern language or one year in classical Greek or Latin.
Honors students are also strongly encouraged to spend a semester abroad (typically in their junior year). The Honors program has a wide experience with a number of study abroad programs catering to every possible field of interest, including engineering, the physical sciences and business.
One of the most popular features of the Honors program is Hopkins House, where students can rest and relax, gather in study groups and take many of the honors classes. Hopkins has a warm living room, kitchen and the director’s office on the first floor; an electronic seminar room and two study rooms with computers on the second floor and a third study area and an entertainment center in the attic. Hopkins has five computers with high speed internet connections available for student use, as well as copier, scanner and fax capabilities. Hopkins is also wireless so that students can connect their own laptops to the internet from anywhere in the house.
The Honors program also sponsors a number of social outings. This begins with a weekend away in early September to begin to know one another, followed by progressive dinners, a Christmas party, and a second weekend away in the spring. All this is funded through a lab fee for the honors colloquia. This lab fee and books are offset by a $500 annual honors scholarship.
A hallmark of the program is its emphasis on leadership and service. Many continue their service learning in the freshman year to engage in a wide array of volunteer opportunities. Upon graduation, a sizable number of students end up deciding to enter the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and other service programs before heading off to graduate school. Honors students are awarded their diplomas with a special honors designation and are granted special recognition at commencement ceremonies.
Approximately twenty members of the entering freshman class are accepted into the program. Acceptance is based on test scores, high-school rank, extra-curricular interests and involvements, independent intellectual achievement, skill in effective expression, letters of recommendation, personal interview, and the quality of the essay on the Honors application form. For more information one can contact the Honors Program Office at 509-313-6702.