How do I apply to the Honors Program? What are the requirements to get in?
Students with outstanding high school records may be invited to apply to the Honors Program. You may also apply to the program on your own initiative. Intellectual curiosity and a commitment to community responsibility are important qualities we are looking for in the program and we encourage you to submit additional information with your application if you believe that your high school record does not accurately reflect your potential to be a member of the program.
Apply to the Program
Applications will be reviewed by the committee as they are received. The priority application deadline is February 15. Applications received after that date will be reviewed and considered for admission if space is available. Because space is limited, early submission is encouraged.
Can I wait and join in my sophomore year?
Students with excellent records in their first year at Hood, and students nominated by faculty members, may be invited to join the Honors Program as sophomores. If you are a freshman who is not in the Honors Program, you are encouraged to speak to the Honors Director about joining as a sophomore. But if you are invited to join the Honors freshman class, we encourage you to do so, so that you have the benefit of being part of the Honors community from the beginning of your time at Hood.
How are Honors classes different from regular classes? How are they similar?
The biggest difference is that Honors courses are generally interdisciplinary seminars in which the main activity is discussion; there are very few lectures in an Honors course. In addition, the Honors Program emphasizes independent and collaborative work. Honors courses are enriched by guest speakers, field trips, and other co-curricular activities.
Honors courses are like other Hood courses in their small size (average 15 students) and in the way students and faculty are able to interact on a daily basis. Like most Hood courses, an Honors course is worth three credits.
Is the Honors Program like AP classes? Will I have a lot more homework than my peers who are not in Honors?
Hood Honors courses are designed to challenge your thinking and stimulate your interest in new subjects and approaches. While the reading load may be a little heavier than in some other courses, these classes are not intended to be more difficult than others. Instead, we hope they will stretch you in other ways, for example by making you think in new ways and opening you up to new ideas.
What if I don't like the program? Do I have to stay in it?
You can leave the program at any time. Even if you leave it, you will be able to apply some of your Honors credits to the Core Curriculum requirements, as long as you have taken both of the first-year Honors Colloquia.
What does "interdisciplinary" mean?
An interdisciplinary course frames and approaches the subject from a broader perspective than just one subject area. For example, instead of studying a work of literature only from the perspective of traditional literary criticism, an interdisciplinary course might study the environment and use works of literature to help in that task, along with biological, economic, historical, sociological, and other perspectives. All of Hood's Honors courses use this multifaceted approach.
What are some examples of topics and courses? What disciplines are represented?
In the past few years, freshman Colloquia have explored the following themes: "Social Justice," "The Other," and "Evil," and Art." The sophomore seminar focuses on global topics. For a complete list of Honors elective courses, see Honors Courses.
Faculty who teach in the program represent a wide variety of disciplines, including Art, Biology, Communication Arts, Chemistry, Economics, English, French, History, Philosophy and Religion, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology and Social Work.
How are the sciences incorporated into the program?
Scientific perspectives are an integral part of the Honors Program. One of the two required freshman Colloquia is always organized around a scientific theme, and we have a good variety of 300-level electives taught by science faculty. These include Biology: Facts, Future, and Fiction; Mind-Body Medicine; and Science and Global Ethics.
Are the classes in the Honors Program the same each year?
No, the themes of the Honors Colloquia change fairly often, and the elective course offerings (for sophomores, juniors, and seniors) are different each year. Most Honors electives are offered once every two or three years.
How many students are in the program?
There are about 150 students in the Honors Program at any given time.
Will it fit into my schedule?
Yes, the Honors Program schedules its courses carefully to ensure that they fit into students' schedules. There is a reserved time slot for HON 101-102 and HON 201-202, and other departments avoid scheduling freshman and sophomore courses in that time period, in order to minimize potential conflicts for our students. And nearly all of the Honors courses you take will fulfill Core Curriculum requirements, so they are a practical part of your program of study.
Honors students tend to be busy people with heavy schedules, quite apart from their Honors courses. Yet many of our Honors students manage to graduate from the Honors Program while also completing double majors, minors, study abroad, and other interesting extras. Honors is a flexible program that works with all of these options.
Is it for me?
Only time will tell. But most students who join the Program find it rewarding both academically and personally. You will get to know a lively group of intellectual peers, and you will take interesting, unusual courses from some of the best professors at Hood. If you give it a try, we're optimistic that you'll find it's well worth the effort.