Honors Program

The Earlham Honors Program connects traditionally high-performing students with experiences best suited to their inclinations and abilities so that they can use their unique talents to change the world.

This process begins with the end in mind. Whether you intend to become a doctor, researcher, teacher, entrepreneur or politician, the honors program can connect you with an opportunity— such as the Rhodes, Fulbright or Watson fellowships, undergraduate prizes like the Hult, or competitive or prestigious internships or civic awards—which will help you achieve that end.

For that reason, our honors program prepares you to demonstrate your success according to four criteria that broadly reflect the priorities of these awards and fellowships.

  • Motivation—using your talents to the full
  • Leadership—demonstrating your abilities as a leader and collaborator
  • Excellence—achieving academic and technical excellence
  • Humanity—improving the conditions of your fellow human beings

Eligibility and admission

Earlham admits approximately 10% of each incoming class to its honors cohort. Two-thirds of each honors cohort is invited to join the honors program during the spring before they attend Earlham in the fall. Other students apply to, and are invited to join, the honors program during their first semester at Earlham. Our honors students are academically extraordinary.

Benefits of being an honors scholar

Our program helps students discover and develop their talents using two unique honors experiences:

The honors seminars are designed to help you discover and learn about complex social problems that speak to your interests and values and to develop the technical and interpersonal skills you will need in order to address these problems.

The honors pathway is an enhanced system of advising that connects you with opportunities in Earlham’s curriculum and co-curriculum along with internships, fellowships, projects and alumni networks, as part of a coordinated plan for your learning.

The honors program also offers regular programming and gatherings for the entire cohort of honors students, including annual trips to the Butler Undergraduate Research Conference. It also promotes honors student participation in three other types of events:

  • Meetings that inform students of post-baccalaureate fellowships and how to apply for them
  • Gatherings of alumni, especially those gatherings designed to encourage students to form mentoring or professional relationships with notable alumni
  • Programming hosted by the Centers for Global Health, Environmental Leadership, Social Justice, and Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Creativity that introduces students to the undergraduate and post-graduate opportunities these centers make available.

In addition, honors students will be specifically invited to participate in opportunities that involve networking with distinguished alumni and the Board of Trustees (including off-campus travel for alumni events).

Honors programming consists of three courses and a mentored capstone project that follows the following sequence:

  • Honors 150 and Honors 151 are the heart of the first-year honors experience. In these courses, Honors students learn to communicate effectively and work collaboratively as they investigate complex global issues. These range from humanitarian crises to international politics to developments in the arts, humanities, business and technology.
  • Honors 250 is an interdisciplinary research seminar that builds on the investigation, communication and collaboration skills that students learn in Honors 150 and 151. Students analyze a specific real-world problem or situation using a combination of qualitative, quantitative, analytical and abstract reasoning techniques.
  • Honors 350 is a junior-year capstone. In collaboration with a mentor, teams of honors students collaborate to develop a project that promises to improve the lives of their fellow human beings and demonstrates honors students’ extraordinary motivational, leadership and technical skills.

Additionally, students may select to complete Honors 483, a one- or two-credit, optional teaching assistantship tethered to Honors 150, 151, 250 or 350. Honors students mentor or advise junior students in coordination with the course’s instructor or the Honors 350 project mentor.