Accelerated. Integrated. Enriched.
The honors general studies program at Walla Walla University provides an exceptional interdisciplinary experience that inspires curious, highly motivated students to serve as leaders of thought and agents of change.
The honors program is a separate track of general studies and not a major or a minor in itself—you can combine it with any major. Honors courses are more personalized and have a flavor distinctly different from the regular general studies courses because they use primary source material more extensively than textbooks to enhance the development of independent thinking.
The WWU honors program is designed to
- Provide an accelerated pathway through the Foundations section of the General Studies program
- Provide an integrated pathway through the Ways of Knowing section of the GS program with the interdisciplinary Western Though sequence replacing some survey courses
- Provide an enriched pathway through the Ways of Engaging section of the General Studies program with elective options that encourage high-impact learning experiences, graduate school preparation, and alignment with career goals
The honors program is open to students from any major who enjoy the challenge of engaging with complex ideas from a variety of perspectives. You should consider joining the honors program if you would like to:
- Take fewer Foundational Skills courses, leaving more room for electives related to your academic and professional interests
- Take smaller, team-taught seminars rather than large survey courses
- Engage in lively discussions with students from a variety of majors
- Take courses that focus on primary readings (rather than traditional textbooks)
- Select electives that align with your professional interests and career goals
- Build relationships with a vibrant community of honors students and professors through both academic and social activities
- Have assistance building a portfolio of professional development materials for admission to graduate programs or entering the job market
- Bonus: Earn a renewable scholarship totaling $5,000 over four years.
Like the traditional general studies program, the honors general studies curriculum consists of three components—Foundational Skills, Ways of Knowing, and Ways of Engaging—but with some important differences.
Section I: Foundational Skills: Honors students are expected to already have stronger than average foundational skills so will take fewer credits in this area than traditional GS students.
- Written Communication: Instead of taking two quarters of college writing (ENGL 121 and 122), honors students take one writing seminar (HONR 141) that explores the theme of Identity, Responsibility, and Citizenship through engaging readings and writing tasks.
- Oral Communication & Information Literacy: Instead of taking an introductory speech class, those public speaking skills are incorporated in Honors Research Writing.
- Foundations of Faith: To fulfill their Foundations of Faith requirement, honors students take The Bible and Its Environments (HONR 281) which explores the book of Genesis through the lens of ancient Mesopotamian culture and literature.
- Quantitative Reasoning: Honors students can select from a variety of Math classes as fits the needs of their major.
- Physical Health: Like all students, honors students take two activity courses.
Section II: Ways of Knowing: Honors students experience an integrated approach to the liberal arts through a team-taught Western Thought sequence and curated lists of religion courses in cultural, historical, and philosophical contexts. Students will also take a lab science course (as required by their major).
Section III: Ways of Engaging: Honors students will select enriched elective options from the following categories, designed to help students transform academic achievement into responsible citizenship.
- Engaging the Arts
- Engaging History & Philosophy
- Engaging Faith (Senior Seminar in Faith and Learning)
- Engaging Science & Data
- Engaging Society
- Quarterly Honors Supper
- Once a quarter, the honors program hosts a Friday night supper, where honors students and faculty enjoy a home-cooked meal and lively conversation.
- Honors Tea
- Frequently on Fridays afternoons honors students and faculty relax with a cup of tea, home-baked treats, good conversation, and a new appreciation of Sabbath rest. Seniors are celebrated at the end of spring quarter with a special High Tea.
- Honors Study Hall
- Honors students have the opportunity to study together in the Honors Seminar Room. An upper-division honors student is available to mentor first-year students as they engage with readings, assignments, and exams.
- Free Tickets to Cultural Events
- Honors students are offered access to free tickets to cultural events happening in Walla Walla (and the surrounding region) including symphony concerts, live theater performances, film screenings, and art exhibits.
"I found deep friendship with motivated, talented and curious honors classmates. We shared diverse perspectives, interests and professional goals. Honors put me in touch with ideas and people I would never have had were it not for honors. Plus, I've impressed new acquaintances at parties with obscure quotations."
"My honors classes were interesting, challenging, and provided a fantastic groundwork for the rest of my life. Also, I married another honors student and we've had fantastic discussion (and a good life) ever since."
"As a physics major I joined the Honors Program to challenge myself and strengthen my writing. The class discussions kept the material interesting and I've grown close to my classmates over the years. It took some work, but I'm glad I did it."
"The most essential component of my honors experience was the interdisciplinary group of students that I had all my core classes with. I loved becoming close with this small group of students. The teaching and discussion-guiding was as wonderful as the ideas presented. Western Thought I and II were some of the best times of my life."
"I believe the strength of this program lies in its teachers and students. Starting my college experience engaging with and discussing important texts with incredible teachers and classmates was the perfect foundation for my undergraduate career. The honors program is a community interested in cross-disciplinary, thoughtful conversation together."
"The Honors Program is particularly useful for the STEM student, as it has a great track record of creating well-rounded scientists who understand how to write and reason and read. The program encourages deep thinking and reasoned arguments. It’s most crucial benefit, however, is the community. The Honors Program brings together a group of people from many different majors who share a desire for thoughtful conversation and gives them the environment and subject matter to think on and talk about. This community was one of the most valuable resources for me in my time here."
How do I enter the program?
Admission to the honors program is based on several factors, including academic record, leadership potential, and recommendations. While no single factor determines eligibility, in general a high school GPA of at least 3.7 (or test scores at or above the 75th percentile) are strong indicators of preparation for success in the honors program.
If you are interested in joining the program, just complete the online application form so we can learn more about you and why you want to join the program. We’ll then get back in touch to help you determine whether the program is a good fit for you. Applications can be submitted at any time, but preference is given to applications received by July 31 so students have plenty of time to make adjustments to their fall schedules.