Honors College

Greg Straughn, Dean
ACU Box 29142, Abilene, Texas 79699-9142
Zellner Hall, Room 100

Phone: 325-647-2728
Fax: 325-674-6581
Email: gregory.straughn@acu.edu
Web: www.acu.edu/honors

The Honors College offers an enhanced academic experience to qualified undergraduate students in any major.  Students should consult the Honors Course Guide or contact the Honors College advisor for current course offerings.  Teachers of Honors courses are listed in this catalog under their respective departments.


The Honors College offers highly motivated students stimulating classes, opportunities to work with select faculty members, and the chance to do research projects in their major field.  Students receive special advising, early registration, and coaching for prestigious scholarships.

There are three tracks in the program, and the courses required for each will fit into most degree plans.  See the Honors College advisor for complete information.  There are no extra costs and no extra courses required for Honors College participation.  Frequent social events and small-group chapel gatherings encourage fellowship among Honors College students and teachers.  Members of the Honors College Student Senate provide leadership and plan social events.

The ACU Honors College is active in the National Collegiate Honors Council and the Great Plains Honors Council.  Selected students may present papers at these conferences.

Admission Requirements

Students must be formally admitted to the Honors College before they can register for Honors classes.  To apply for admission, entering freshmen must satisfy the following criteria: (1) have either a high school grade point average of 3.75 or rank in the top 10 percent of their high school class; (2) have either an SAT score of at least 1810 or an ACT score of at least 27; (3) submit a satisfactory resume (achievements, awards, offices held, etc); and (4) submit a satisfactory HC application essay.  Instructions and application are available online at www.acu.edu/honors.  Students whose qualifications are slightly below the standard should submit a letter describing their grades and other evidence of high ability and motivation, such as special awards or success in Honors courses.  Current ACU students and transfers will be admitted on the basis of their grades:  a 3.50 GPA is mandatory.  


Honors College classes are smaller than other classes.  Lower level Honors classes have a limit of 20 students (25 in Bible), while upper level colloquia classes are limited to 15.  Honors classes are taught by select faculty who encourage discussion and in-depth thinking.  Up to 12 hours credit for honors courses taken at another school may be counted toward ACU Honors requirements, at the discretion of the Honors dean.

Topics for colloquia are announced yearly.  They are open to Honors College students who have completed at least three semesters of full-time college study.  Colloquia are always interdisciplinary, allowing students with any major to find a connection.  Each colloquium meets for 15 hours, either one night a week for 5 weeks, or on one weekend.  They earn 1 hour of credit.  A colloquium emphasizes reading and discussion, and requires a position paper from each student.  Recent topics have included Music and World Culture; Photography and Society; Sustainable Design; Cartoons and Modern Culture; J.R.R. Tolkien; Satire; and Zen, Clay and Culture.  

Graduation with Honors College Distinction

Lower level:This consists of 18 hours of lower level Honors classes plus 2 Honors Activity Credits.  Entering freshmen will take an Honors section of Cornerstone plus one other Honors class.  It is strongly recommended that students take 2 Honors classes each semester until they have all 18 hours.  Students meet with the Honors advisor each semester before registration for advice on how to fit Honors work in their schedule.  Some of the courses offering Honors sections include BIBL 101, 102, 211; CHEM 133, 134, 223, 324; COMS 211; CS 120; CORE 100, 120; ENGL 111, 112; and HCOR 222, 223.

In addition to course work, Honors students complete a total of 2 Honors Activity Credits.  These are designed to help students get involved in the co-curricular life of the University.  Students can choose from a list of activities that include, but are not limited to, service learning, book club, study abroad, leadership positions, music, theatre, and sports.  Students are encouraged to submit their own ideas for approval.

Upper level: Students take 2 colloquia and choose options from the following list.  Most items in the list may be done more than once as content and experiences will vary.  Everything except Honors classes must be approved in advance.

3-hour upper level Honors class

Honors colloquia, in addition to the required 2

Project in student’s major



Second study abroad experience

Original creative work or performance

Enhanced capstone

Honors portfolio presentation

Other ideas suggested by student and approved by a committee of Honors faculty

To graduate with the distinction of Honors Fellow, students must complete 18 hours of lower level Honors classes, 2 colloquia, and any 3 of the upper level options.

To graduate with the distinction of Honors Scholar, students must complete 18 hours of lower level Honors classes, 2 colloquia, and any 6 of the upper level options.

The distinction of Honors Associate is designed for transfer students.  To earn this award, students must take at least one 3-hour Honors class, 2 colloquia and any 5 of the upper level options.

Students completing the requirements for any of these distinctions and having a cumulative GPA of 3.50 will receive a certificate to accompany their diploma and wear Honors regalia at graduation.  Honors Scholars will also receive a note on their transcripts and may have the title of their Honors-enhanced capstone - or other major project, subject to approval - published in the University commencement program.


Course Descriptions
See the Course Descriptions section of this catalog. Courses offered by the Honors College include those with the following designation: HCOL, HCOR.

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