Features of the Honors Program

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Specially Designed Courses

Honors students take specially designed versions of core curriculum courses.  Capped at fifteen students each, these Honors seminars are smaller in size, and are taught by full-time faculty with demonstrated records of excellence in the classroom.  Honors courses are qualitatively different than other general education courses, focused on critical thinking and discussion rather than lecture or rote memorization.  Students are required to take a minimum of five Honors seminars during their time in the program, but are encouraged to take more if they can fit them into their schedules.

Some of the program’s regular course offerings include special Honors sections of classes in writing, statistics, philosophy, theology, environmental science, literature, American government, film, and theatre.  We also feature a rotating selection of interdisciplinary seminars from the freshman to senior level that invite students to make connections between different fields of knowledge and to apply what they’ve learned outside of the classroom. 

Senior Thesis

One of the unique components of the Honors experience is the senior thesis, which provides students in the program with the opportunity to make meaningful contributions to their chosen fields of study by working closely with faculty mentors on research, creative, and applied projects of their own design.

The thesis process culminates in oral presentations in the spring of their senior year for an audience of faculty, administrators, other Honors Students, and members of the community.  Students present their research in a variety of other settings as well, both on campus and at regional and national conferences. Students who have completed the program have consistently stressed how crucial the Honors Thesis process was to their intellectual and personal development, and just how valuable a credential it proved to be when applying for jobs or to top graduate and professional schools.

Intercultural Enrichment

Honors students graduate from Bellarmine with an enhanced degree of intercultural awareness that equips them to be global citizens of our increasingly interconnected world.  Students can meet this Honors specific learning outcome in a variety of ways, including by demonstrating proficiency in a foreign language or studying abroad. The Honors Program offers a rotating selection of courses with travel abroad experiences to locations such as Italy and Belize. Students in good standing in the program are edible to receive funding for these courses.

Community Engagement & Specialty Housing

In addition to pursuing academic excellence in and outside of the classroom, Honors students form strong bonds with each other and the larger community. Honors students have the option to take advantage of specialty housing in the nicest and newest residence halls on campus. The Honors Program holds fun activities on campus (e.g., trivia nights, kickball tournaments), and also hosts distinguished visitors to Bellarmine. 

Honors students also venture off campus to experience the vibrant cultural and social life here in Louisville and other major cities such as New York City, Washington D.C, and St. Louis.