General Studies Honors Program

General Studies Honors Program
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Interdisciplinary study—independent thinking

The Honors 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 general study 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:

  • Offer a challenging, team-taught, interdisciplinary general studies experience;
  • Uphold the highest academic standards;
  • Enliven and stimulate creative campus-wide conversations;
  • Encourage and provide opportunities for leadership and service;
  • Foster thoughtful reflection on the relationships between faith, learning, and experience;
  • Embody the very best of what Walla Walla University offers students, the church, and the world.

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 smaller, team-taught courses
  • Engage in lively discussions with students from a variety of majors
  • Focus on primary readings (rather than text books)
  • Be challenged to improve your critical thinking and writing skills
  • Explore how the Bible, spirituality, and religious philosophy blend with the rest of your life
  • Choose your elective classes from a wide range of stimulating interdisciplinary courses
  • Have the opportunity to incorporate study tours and/or course work at Oxford University into your general studies program
  • Tour art museums, geological sites, and fossil caves with your professors
  • Interact with fellow honors students and professors in service and social activities
  • Bonus: Earn a renewable scholarship totaling $5,000 over four years >

Core Classes

Unlike traditional general studies courses which tend to feature material presented in lectures and textbooks, honors courses focus on discussing and writing about ideas from primary sources. The General Studies Honors curriculum consists of three components:

Component One: Core classes taken by all honors students:

Class Credits
Western Thought 12
Honors Research Writing 3
The Bible and Its Enviornments 4
Science and the Arts 4
One Upper Division Writing Course 4
Religion in a Social Context 4
Topics in World Religious Thought 4
Honors Seminar: Faith and Learning 3

The core group begins with the year-long Western Thought sequence which features a chronological survey of the history, literature, and philosophy of western civilization, from ancient Greece to the modern age. Team taught by professors from English and history, these courses offer an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the events, ideas, and texts that shaped western culture. Building on that context, the core also contains courses such as “Science & the Arts,” and “Religion in a Social Context” which reflect the program’s commitment to helping students see the exciting intersections between academic disciplines.


Component Two: A group of required cognates (drawn from the traditional general studies curriculum) which ensure a well-rounded education in the liberal arts tradition.

Everyone takes these core cognates:


Class Credits
2 Physical Activity Courses 2
College Writing or Advanced College Writing 6
Calculus or Calculus for Life Sciences 4
2 quarters of General Biology, General Chemistry, General Physics, or Principles of Physics 8

Component Three: a list of elective courses from which students can choose interdisciplinary courses of particular interest to them.

See the WWU Honors Electives Bulletin for the full list of elective options.

The Honors House
The honors house serves as a hub for many honors program activities. Located on the corner across the street from the University Church, this inviting space serves as a “home away from home” for honors students who gather there for weekly study halls and teas, as well as other honors events. The honors house also serves as a residence for a few upper-division honors students who, in exchange for privilege of living there, also serve as honors ambassadors for visiting students and hosts for honors events.


Weekly Honors Tea
Friday afternoons starting at 2, the honors house becomes a welcome break from the stresses of the week by providing tea, hot chocolate, an assortment of treats, friends, puzzles, and games for honor’s students to enjoy. Different professors from the honors faculty join with the students each week for this opportunity to relax at the end of a busy week with good food, good friends, and a new appreciation of Sabbath rest.


Quarterly Honors Supper
Once a quarter, the honors department hosts a Friday night supper, where honors students and faculty can enjoy a home-cooked meal together. In addition to this being an opportunity to catch up with friends or make new ones, the evening also features worship presentations, often offered by honors program alumni who return to tell their stories of service and community engagement.


Honors Game Nights
Periodical Saturday evening game nights are held in the honors house, featuring board games and snacks to suit a wide range of tastes.


Captain Billy's Whiz Bang Party
Honors students get to exhibit their talent for frivolity at the annual Captain Billy’s Whiz Bang April Fool’s Day Party. Everyone who attends is encouraged (but not required) to participate in the fun. Quirky hats are worn by all as they nibble on snacks and cheer for the winner of the coveted Captain Billy trophy.


Free Tickets to Cultural Events
Several times per quarter, honors students are offered access to free tickets to cultural events happening in Walla Walla, including symphony concerts, live theater performances, film screenings, and art exhibits.


Service Activities
Honors students participate in a variety of service opportunities, including packing weekend meals for the homeless students that attend Lincoln High School. Honors students also help re-stuff the children’s bags at church with sharpened colored pencils, coloring books, toys, and other goodies to keep children entertained during the service.


JumpStart Reads Program
New honors students are all sent copies of the JumpStart Reads book during the summer and encouraged to participate in lively conversations about the text, hosted by a variety of faculty. Often this program offers an opportunity to meet the author at some point during the school year.


JumpStart Honors Retreat
The Sabbath before school begins in the fall, honors students are invited to lunch at the honors house following the church service. After lunch, activities provide the incoming honors students an opportunity to get to know their professors and fellow students.

How do I enter the program?

Admission to the honors program is based on several factors, including academic performance, SAT or ACT scores, application essay, leadership potential, and recommendations. While no single factor determines eligibility, in general a high school GPA of at least 3.5 and test scores at or above the 85th percentile are strong indicators of preparation for success in the honors program. 

If you are interested in entering the program, begin by submitting this online application form. Once your eligibility for the program has been established, you will be invited to submit the Essay portion of the application process. Space is limited, so apply early. Applications can be submitted at any time, but preference given to applications received by June 30.

Submit an application

Questions?

Cynthia.Westerbeck@wallawalla.edu
(509) 527-2370

Last update on March 5, 2018