Make the Most of Your Academic Skills, Creativity, Determination, and Innovation
The Schreyer Honors College provides the best of a small college liberal arts experience within a major research university, with hundreds of student organizations and activities from which to choose. For more than 20 years, Penn State has offered a comprehensive honors program to students of exceptional ability in all majors across the university. Each year, the SHC offers more than 200 honors courses taught by select faculty with enrollments capped at 25 students. Scholars can satisfy honors credit requirements through independent research, upper-level or graduate courses (depending on their standing), and “honors options” for regular courses. In any given year, dozens of Schreyer Scholars graduate with both bachelor and master’s degrees through the Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate Program.
As a student in the Schreyer Honors College, you will be empowered to make the most of your college years. There are distinct opportunities afforded to Schreyer Scholars, including academic enrichment — such as exclusive honors courses, study abroad programs, research placements, and production of an honors thesis — as well as dedicated housing, and the distinction of graduating with honors from Penn State.
Earning a degree in any of the HHD majors from the Schreyer Honors College will allow you to realize the fullest potential of your academic skills, creativity, determination, and innovation, opening doors to limitless graduate school and career opportunities.
It's Not More Work — It's Different Work
You may be concerned that the Honors College will be more work when compared with the usual plan of study. Rest assured that honors courses are not more work; they are just a different kind of work. Instead of multiple-choice tests, you will have structured writing assignments and in-class discussions. You will read different material, with more opportunities to write and receive feedback. Your classes will be filled with other honors students: active thinkers, dedicated students, and involved leaders. Grades in honors courses are similar to grades that scholars would earn in their regular courses. Most importantly, honors experiences are designed to prepare you for graduate school and professional careers. Strong letters of reference from professors who have worked with you and know you well will support your applications to graduate school and future employers.
Honors Study FAQs
- Can I do this? I’m scared about writing a thesis.
Yes. Most of us are scared to do something new and a thesis is a big (but rewarding) challenge. We’ll help you identify your interests early on in the program and help you identify a thesis supervisor. You will take small classes in research methods and developmental theory to help you build a strong foundation of knowledge before you start your thesis. And the rewards of completing a thesis are big. The skills and knowledge that you develop during the thesis process — critical thinking skills, analytic skills, strong writing skills, experience working with a thesis supervisor, and experience breaking a large task into manageable pieces — will help you in whatever career you choose.
- Is the Honors College just for students who want to go into research?
No. The Honors College will give you a terrific head start on a career in any number of fields. The main benefits of the Honors College are help thinking about your career path and how to achieve your goals, access to many opportunities to gain in-depth knowledge, advanced skills, and practical experience, closer contact with the faculty through small classes, a thesis, and individualized advising. You can design a plan for how you want to achieve your goals whatever they are and participating in the Honors College will provide you with extra tools and opportunities to get there.
- Can I still do an internship?
Yes. We strongly encourage honors students to get real-world experience through volunteering in the community, acting as teaching assistants, working in research labs, and doing internships. Most honors students have more than one real-world experience during their time in the Honors College.
- Can I study abroad and still be in the Honors College?
Yes. The Schreyer Honors College strongly encourages study abroad, and so do we. We have set up the honors curriculum so that you can study abroad and still be well-prepared for your thesis.
- I see a lot of extra requirements. Will I still graduate on time?
Yes. The Honors College requirements replace some of the typical requirements for your major. In fact, because of the flexibility the Honors College provides and the fact that many honors students have AP credits and occasionally take more than 15 credits per semester, some honors students actually graduate a semester early.
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To learn more about the Schreyer Honors College or completing honors studies, contact: