The University of Maine offers one of the nation’s oldest continuously-running 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 requirements 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 approximately eight 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 curriculum 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 fourteen students. Together with faculty preceptors the students study the origins and development of civilization and culture. Every year the College offers a number of 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 each degree-granting college to represent the college on the Honors Council and to work with students, faculty, and the administration of the college on matters concerning Honors. A Student Advisory Board consisting of Honors College students 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, good standardized test scores, 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.
Honors College courses satisfy the following General Education Requirements:
- The complete Honors Civilizations four-semester sequence (HON 111, 112, 211, 212 – 16 credits) satisfies all five areas covered by the Human Values and Social Contexts requirements as well as the Ethics requirement.
- Completing both HON 111 and HON 112, each with a grade of “C” or better, satisfies the college composition (ENG 101) requirement.
- All tutorials satisfy at least one of the Human Values and Social Contexts requirements.
- Many of the University’s majors accept the Honors Thesis as a capstone experience. For specific information, contact the Honors College.
In practice, this means that students who complete the Civilizations sequence along with an Honors tutorial (HON 311 - HON 347) have satisfied all of the University’s general education requirements with the exception of the mathematics, science, and (in some cases) the capstone requirements.
For Further Information
Questions about the Honors College should be addressed to Professor Charlie Slavin, Dean, the Honors College at the University of Maine, 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.