The University of Maine offers one of the nation’s oldest continuing programs for honors-level students. Open to students in all majors, The Honors College provides a unique opportunity for motivated students to investigate diverse academic areas of the University, to be challenged in a supportive intellectual environment, and to engage fellow students and enthusiastic, distinguished faculty in thoughtful, provocative discussion. Students in The Honors College complete an academic major in one of the University’s five degree-granting colleges while completing most of their general education program and a thesis in The Honors College. The benefits and rewards are substantial, and the program is flexible enough to be tailored to each student’s needs and interests.
Students and faculty involved in The Honors College come from all areas of the University. As a community of nearly seven hundred students within the University of Maine, the Honors College offers small, interdisciplinary classes, where students and faculty members interact closely, sharing ideas and insights developed through critical exploration of primary sources.
The College is based on the belief that genuine excellence in college-level studies means substantial competence in areas outside a major field of specialization as well as excellence within it. An emphasis on learning that both broadens and deepens has been the foundation for the design of courses in The Honors College. The Honors College expands students’ perspectives by exploring areas of thought not closely related to their major fields and it allows them to work in their majors with greater intensity than would be possible within a conventional course pattern. Honors study begins with interdisciplinary broadness and concludes with unparalleled depth in the major field.
First- and second-year Honors preceptorials are limited to twelve students. Together with faculty preceptors the students study the origins and development of civilization and culture. Each year the College offers ten diverse third-year Honors tutorials, each of which brings together eight students, a member of the faculty, and a topic that engages them in a focused academic inquiry. The curriculum culminates with a yearlong senior thesis in which the Honors student, working closely with a faculty advisor, embarks on a course of independent scholarship, developing and completing a research or creative project.
The Honors College is university-wide and is administered by a dean who reports to the Provost. The policy-advising body for the College is the Honors Council representing faculty, staff, and students. Honors Secretaries are faculty members designated by their college to represent the college on the Honors Council and to work with students, faculty, and the administration of the college on matters concerning The Honors College. A Student Advisory Board consisting of Honors College students representing various years and disciplines also advises the dean.
Entering first-year students are invited to join The Honors College on the basis of their admission records. To be eligible, students should have a strong academic record, score well on the SAT (ACT), and show curiosity, initiative, and intellectual flexibility in academic work. Students may also enter the College by applying to the dean. Second-semester first-year students and first-semester second-year students are invited into the College through faculty recommendations. Transfer students wishing to join The Honors College should consult with the dean.
The level of honors awarded depends on the quality of the senior thesis or project and the performance at the oral thesis defense which assesses both the student’s work on the thesis and in the broader curriculum. The designation appears on both the student’s diploma and on the transcript; the thesis title also appears on the transcript.
College and University Requirements
Successful completion of the Honors Core (HON 111, HON 112, HON 211, HON 212) and the cultural and civic engagement experiences (HON 180 and HON 170) satisfies all of the Undergraduate General Education Human Values and Social Context and Ethics requirements. HON 211 and HON 212 are also designated as Writing Intensive. Successful completion of HON 111 and HON 112 with a grade of C or better in each satisfies the University’s basic composition requirement (ENG 101). Many of the University’s majors accept the honors thesis as a capstone experience. For specific information, contact the Honors College.
For Further Information
Questions about The Honors College should be addressed to Professor Charlie Slavin, Dean, The University of Maine Honors College, 5716 Colvin Hall, Orono ME 04469-5716. The phone number is (207) 581-3263 and information can also be requested at firstname.lastname@example.org. The College maintains a web site at www.honors.umaine.edu.