Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I am eligible for the program?

If you are entering Chico State as a first semester freshman, you should have one of the following to apply for the Honors Program: 

  • High School GPA of 3.5 or above OR
  • SAT score of 1200 or above OR
  • ACT score of 27 or above

Students not meeting these criteria will be considered, but on an individual basis. We encourage you to apply if:

  • You have participated in honors programs in High School
  • You are a lifetime member of the California Scholarship Federation
  • You are a National Merit finalist
  • You are a transfer student with a GPA of 3.3 or above

Can I take Honors courses without being in the program?

Students who want to sample or to earn their way into the Honors Program may enroll in Honors Survey of Civilization (HNRS 120C/D/E) the second semester of their freshman year.   If there is room in the first semester after Honors students’ requests have been met, non-honors students may enroll.  Any student who completes HSC and maintains a cumulative 3.3 GPA may continue as a member of the Honors Program.  All students who successfully pass HSC, a nine unit set of courses, get credit for any three of the following four GE areas:  A2, any one C, any one D, E.

In the case of other Honors courses, if there is room in a course after all Honors students’ requests have been met, non-honors students may enroll.   However, if you are qualified to join the Honors Program, we encourage you to do so.

Are Honors courses harder than others?

No! Since honors classes are smaller, there is much more interaction between the students in the class and the professor. You have an opportunity to take an active role in your learning experience. There is generally no extra work, just a different structure to the class. Most students enjoy their honors classes because there is less "busy work" or "cramming" than they often encounter in non-honors classes. Honors courses do require more involvement in the material, but they are not more difficult. In fact, most honors students find that taking honors classes actually enhances their GPAs. 

Do I have to take more courses?

The Honors Program requires 24 units. 21 of those units meet GE requirements. Every Honors student should be able to meet graduation requirements and major requirements in four years without taking a heavy load of courses. 

What are the benefits of the program?

One of the goals of the program is to help students get involved as soon as possible in the rich cultural and intellectual mix of the University. But there are many other important benefits you will also appreciate. You will work with excellent teachers and other motivated students in small classes and will receive priority registration each semester. As an Honors student, you may be eligible for membership in Phi Eta Sigma and Phi Kappa Phi, both nationally recognized honors organizations. And, of course, successful completion of the program results in special recognition on your diploma and transcripts. More information about benefits are listed on the Programs page and in our Brochure (pdf).

Are there scholarships available for Honors students? 

About $2000-3000 in merit-based scholarship money is available each year for Honors students who have excelled in HSC and have GPAs of 3.5 or above.  Outstanding HSC students are encouraged to apply for scholarships in their freshman year. CSU, Chico Scholarship Application

How much input do students have?

Honors students have direct access to the program director and to the program advisors. The program also conducts course evaluations for each Honors class every semester, soliciting the anonymous input of all students in the class. These evaluations encourage students to share their opinions regarding Honors classes and the program in general. 

Are there social aspects to the program?

Yes.  The Honors program, besides accommodating about half the Honors Freshman in the Honors Houses (see below), sponsors program-wide events every year – all involving free food and socializing:  a fall welcome, a finals fuel-up at the end of each semester, as well as Honors student presentations of Honors theses and projects.  Moreover, individual Honors classes, such as HSC sometimes have activities outside of class.  Finally, sharing small Honors courses with the same students has proven a great way to form friendships.

What exactly are the Honors Houses?

Situated on the north end of campus in one of Chico State's newer residence halls, the Honors Houses are an easy walk or bike ride to class. They have spacious and comfortable double and triple bedrooms, large living and dining areas, and well-equipped kitchens. You can prepare your own meals or eat in the central dining hall that serves all residence halls. Honors Houses have computer access to the campus network, as well as a television and a DVD player. Students in the Honor Houses blend a balance of quiet study time with an active social life. The spaces are limited, so you need to apply early if you are interested in living there. More information about the houses is available here

How do I register for Honors classes?

You register for Honors courses the same way as other classes: through your Portal account. You will find Honors courses listed in the Class Schedule or a list of classes offered next semester is available. Special advising for Honors students is available at summer orientation and throughout the year. 

Do I have to maintain a certain GPA?

Yes. You need to maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or above to remain active in the program.

Do I have to take an Honors course every semester?

No. You need to take an Honors course your first semester in the program, but after that, you just need to continue to make progress toward completing the requirements. The requirements can easily be met by taking one course every semester, but depending on your particular situation and course history, there may very well be semesters in which you do not enroll in an Honors course.

Is it possible to earn Honors in GE and study abroad?

Yes!  The Honors Program encourages its students to study abroad, and offers one of the most flexible ways to study abroad while completing upper division General Education requirements.  Go to the study abroad website for more information about their programs, and make sure to stop in to speak with an Honors advisor before you leave.

How do I apply to the program?

You can apply through the Honors in GE Program Admission Page. If you wish to talk with a faculty member about the Honors Program, please contact Dr. John Mahoney, Honors Director, or Dr. Zanja Yudell, Honors Advisor.