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Honors Program

The Honors Program offers a wealth of special opportunities for motivated undergraduate students with high grade point averages. These opportunities range from specially designed courses in general education (Honors in General Education Program) and in selected majors (Honors in the Major Program) to many honors societies that students can join.

High achieving students often take advantage of more than one of these special opportunities to enrich their academic experience at Chico. Through these programs, they find that the quality of their education is heightened and that they forge special relationships with other honors students and with faculty. Moreover, the honors they earn make them highly desirable candidates for graduate school and for employment.


For this program, you complete a portion of your general education requirements by enrolling in special honors sections of general education classes. The honors sections are small, innovative, and interactive. They are taught by some of the best professors on campus. They provide a good environment for learning, as well as an opportunity to work closely with honors faculty and other honors students. You become part of a vital learning community that comes together in the classroom as well as outside for social and educational events. While in the program, you benefit from priority registration for all of your classes, and successful completion of the program is prominently noted on your diploma and transcripts.

Every semester the program offers approximately fifteen different honors classes from a wide range of departments across the university. Each class fulfills a general education requirement for graduation. You choose which ones you want to take in any semester. This structure gives the program the flexibility to fit well with every major on campus.

Lower-division courses are available in most of the required GE areas, and we are adding more all the time. Some of these classes are special honors sections of popular general education courses. Others are special, innovative classes created just for the Honors program.

Upper-division requirements are met by special team-taught theme courses. You work with each other and professors from two disciplines, to bring together material which will help you come to a richer understanding of a world of rapidly changing social and technological demands and opportunities. In the upper-division Honors theme you have the opportunity to complete a supervised research project, to volunteer in the Chico community, or to study abroad.

The Honors Program in GE Requirements

If you enter the Honors Program in General Education as a freshman, you have several options for your first year of honors work. You can participate as an honors student in the Freshman General Studies Thematic. See the chapter “Freshman General Studies Thematic” following General Education in the catalog or visit www.csuchico.edu/gst for more information. If you plan to become an elementary school teacher, you can participate as an honors student in the Liberal Studies Integrated Teacher CORE. See the Education or Liberal Studies chapter of the catalog or visit www.csuchico.edu/educ/ITC.html for more information. You can also choose to enroll in individual honors classes.

If you choose to take individual honors classes, you are required to complete 27 units or nine honors classes in your four years of study at the university. Of course, you can take more than the nine; many of our students do because they like the classes and do well in them. To remain in the program, you need to maintain a GPA of 3.0 or above in your honors courses and a 3.3 or above in your overall GPA.

The courses we offer are outlined for you on the next page. Which ones you choose to take depends on your interests, your major, as well as a number of other factors. Once you are admitted into the program, you will receive detailed information from us, and Honors staff is always available to review your options with you. Please see the appropriate academic program chapters for complete course descriptions.

Core Courses: The following courses satisfy General Education Area A requirements as indicated.

CMST 011H Speech Communication     3.0    A1

ENGL 001H Freshman Composition     3.0    A2

PHIL 002H Logic and Critical Thinking     3.0    A3

MATH 005H Statistics    3.0    A4

Breadth and Code Courses: The following courses satisfy General Education Areas B, C, D and E requirements as indicated.

M E 010H    How Things Work    3.0    B1

HNRS 075     Creativity & Interpretation    3.0    C1

THEA 060H    Acting    3.0    C1

PHIL 003H     Introduction to Philosophy    3.0    C3

ANTH 013HNW Cultural Anthropology     3.0    D1

ECON 002H    Principles of Macro Analysis    3.0    D2

MCGS 055HE    Intro Multicultural/Gender Std    3.0    D3

NFSC 025H    Basic Nutrition    3.0    E

HNRS 149    Outstanding Prof. Seminar    3.0    varies

HIST 050H     United States History    3.0    
    (A State-mandated code course)

POLS 055H     American Government    3.0    
    (A State-mandated code course)

Honors Connections: Incoming freshmen     taking individual honors classes should enroll in Honors Connections. The 3 units earned in this class can be used to satisfy any General Education requirement for area C, D, or E of the student’s choice.

HNRS 010     Honors Connections    3.0     

Upper-Division Honors Theme: You must complete 9 units of upper-division Honors theme courses to earn Honors in General Education.

1 course selected from:
BIOL/PHIL 116H Science & Human Values    3.0    
CSCI/PSY 116H Mind in the Machine    3.0    

1 course selected from:
Gender and Modernization    3.0    
Genocide and Mass Persuasion    3.0    

1 course selected from:
The Global Within the Community    3.0    
HNRS 199H Honors GE Thesis     3.0    

Admission to the Honors in General Education Program

Admission as a Freshman

If you are an incoming freshman who has exhibited scholastic ability and intellectual promise, we encourage you to apply for entrance into the Honors Program in General Education. You must have a high school GPA of 3.5 or an SAT of 1200 or an ACT of 27 or above.

Admission as a Transfer, Re-Entry, or Currently Enrolled Student

If you are transferring to the university and will have sophomore standing or better (30 or more transferable units), you will need a 3.3 or better GPA in your transferable course work to join the program.

If you are already enrolled in the university, you may still apply for entrance into the Honors Program. You must have at least a 3.3 cumulative GPA.


Application forms for the Honors Program in General Education are available from the Honors Office (ONCL 236), 898-5749. The application should be submitted to:

Honors Program
California State University, Chico
Chico, California 95929-0115

Honors Houses

Honors students from various majors can apply to live in the Honors Houses (part of Konkow Hall, one of the newest campus residence halls). Honors Houses offer a study-oriented atmosphere and social events. They are managed by the University Housing Office.


Honors in the Major is a program of independent work in your major. It involves six units of honors course work completed over two semesters.

Your honors work will be recognized at your graduation, on your permanent transcripts, and on your diploma. It is often accompanied by letters of commendation from your mentor in the department or the department chair. Most importantly, however, the Honors in the Major program allows you to work closely with a faculty mentor in your area of interest on an original performance or research project. This year- long collaboration allows you to work in your field at a professional level and culminates in  a public presentation of your work. Students sometimes take their projects beyond the university for submission in professional journals, presentation at conferences, or competition in shows; such experience is valuable for graduate school and professional life.

Some common features of Honors in the Major programs are

1) You must take six units of Honors in the Major course work. At least three of these units are independent study (299H) as specified by your department. You must complete each class with a minimum grade of B.

2) You must have completed nine units of upper division course work or 21 overall units in your major before you can be admitted to Honors in the Major. Check the requirements carefully, as there may be specific courses that must be included in these units.

3) Your cumulative GPA should be at least 3.5 or within the top 5% of majors in your department.

4) Your GPA in your major should be at least 3.5 or within the top 5% of majors in your department.

5) Most students apply for or are invited to participate in Honors in the Major during the second semester of their junior year. Then they complete the six units of course work over the two semesters of their senior year.

6) Your honors work culminates with a public presentation of your honors project.

While Honors in the Major is part of the Honors Program, each department administers its own program. Please contact your major department or major adviser to apply.

You can earn honors in the following majors:
Agricultural Business
Art and Art History    Asian Studies
Biological Sciences
Business (all options)
Child Development
Construction Management
Computer Science
Engineering (all options)
Geography and Planning
Health and Community Services
Liberal Studies
Nutrition and Food Science
Physical Education
Political Science
Recreation Administration
Religious Studies
Social Science
Social Work
Theatre Arts

If you are interested in participating in this honors program but your major is not listed, contact the Honors director at 530-898-4767.


Phi Eta Sigma is a national honor society for freshmen from all majors who have a GPA of 3.5 or better and have completed 12 or more units.

Golden Key National Honor Society recognizes academic achievement in junior and senior undergraduates in all fields of study who are in the top 15% of their respective class.

Phi Kappa Phi is a national honor society for second-semester juniors (upper 5 percent of their class) and seniors (upper 10 percent of their class) from all majors. For more information browse www.csuchico.edu/pkphs.

Discipline Associated Honor Societies exist in many departments across campus. Check with your major department for details.

Pinnacle National Honor Society for non-traditional students. Requires 3.0 GPA for undergraduates and 3.5 for master’s candidates. Contact the Re-Entry Center for details.


Each semester the college deans recognize superior scholarship by including on their Dean’s List those students who earn a 3.5 GPA or better on 12 or more graded units the preceding semester.


The university recognizes superior academic performance at graduation and on students’ diplomas and transcripts. Each college of the university may award honors to up to 5 percent of its undergraduates each year. Honors designations are distributed as follows:
Summa cum laude may be given to no more than the top 1 percent of the graduating class.
Magna cum laude may be given to no more than the top 3 percent of the graduating class.
Cum laude may be given to no more than the top 5 percent of the graduating class.
“With distinction” is the honors designation used for master’s degree graduates. This honor is awarded to students who maintain a 3.9 or above grade point average on all approved master’s program course work and satisfy criteria established by the graduate committee of the program offering the degree.