Immerse yourself in challenging and rigorous material, independent inquiry, and curiosity as you create a community of research and creative work.

The Honors Program at Otterbein

The Honors Program at Otterbein University is a holistic and cohesive undergraduate experience, beginning with engaging, integrative, and stimulating seminars taught by specially selected faculty from across the university, and culminating in the junior or senior year with an interdisciplinary seminar or independent thesis project. The Honors Program is committed to the shared premise of Integrative Studies, that learning should serve and shape one’s chosen responsibilities in and to the world. Each course in the Honors program participates in a shared Integrated Studies conversation about the theme of Knowledge, Action, and the Public Good. Through our related program theme, “A Community of Scholars,” Honors courses recognize the varied and vexed impacts of knowledge and action, and they examine multiple, competing, and contradictory conceptions of the public good.

Information for Faculty

Resources for faculty teaching in the Honors Program can be found in the General Education Resources LibGuide.

A Community of Scholars

Program Theme

The Honors theme, “A Community of Scholars,” offers Honors students cohesion in coursework through both the thesis or non-thesis tracks of the program. All Honors courses will highlight participation in the Honors Community of Scholars, including curricular and co-curricular activities. Students will be attentive to the diverse methods of research and writing across the disciplines. They will familiarize themselves with the potential of interdisciplinary research and develop a deeper understanding of the values of intellectual freedom and civic responsibility in research and creative work. They will consider what it means to belong to a community of critical inquiry, as well as the role of scholarly inquiry to the public good. Courses will foreground the Honors Community of Scholars via co-curricular activities and informal writing and reflective assignments. We’ll consider these questions together!

What does it mean to be a student in your particular discipline? How does your discipline relate to the larger university culture?  

How does your work in your field relate to, intersect with, and/or challenge the work of other disciplines?

Does your major or field of study intersect with other majors or disciplines? Which majors commonly interact with yours? With which fields have you had less exposure?

What specific questions, methods, and research strategies are unique or particular to your field? What makes your field crucial to the university and  the world outside the academy?

How can you be a responsive and responsible member of a community of inquiry? How is knowledge production itself a public good? 


What are the research or creative aims and responsibilities of your field, and how do those aims respond to and benefit the broader community? 


Eligibility & Requirements

Honors Admission

Honors Admissions & Eligibility

  • ACT scores (of 27 and above) and in the top 10% of their graduating high school class or 3.8 GPA (for schools that do not rank).
  • SAT scores (1220 and above) and in the top 10% of their graduating high school class or 3.8 GPA (for schools that do not rank).
  • Current students interested in joining the Honors program may apply by the end of their first year with a faculty letter of recommendation.
  • Current students should contact the Honors program director (Michele Acker) for more information. Students must have a 3.5 GPA to maintain good standing in the program.

Honors Program Requirements

The Honors program parallels the Integrative Studies curriculum. Students may complete the Honors program by choosing the thesis or non-thesis track option. Students may receive HNRS 2800 credit for a study-abroad experience or course. Contact Honors program director for permission.

Honors without thesis
HNRS 1500 3 hrs *Transfer credit for INST 1500 counts for HNRS 1500.
FYS-HNRS 3 hrs
HNRS 2000, 2200, 2400, 2600, 2800 9 hrs *Two 2xxx may be INST.
HNRS 3000 3 hrs *Prereqs: 4 HNRS 2xxx or 3 HNRS 2xxx and 1 INST 2xxx.
Honors with thesis project
HNRS 1500 3 hrs *Transfer credit for INST 1500 counts for HNRS 1500.
FYS-HNRS 3 hrs
HNRS 2000, 2200, 2400, 2600, 2800 9 hrs *Two 2xxx may be INST.
HNRS 3500 3 hrs *Prereqs: 2 HNRS 2xxx.
HNRS 4000 3 hrs

*The Honors thesis is a two-year project: work begins in HNRS 3500 and is ongoing, under advisor supervision, through HNRS 4000 in spring of the senior year.

*Students completing HNRS 4000 receive SYE credit.

Honors Program Petition Form

Sometimes an academic record does not provide a complete picture of a student’s abilities or intellectual interests. If you have abilities or interests that you feel meet the program’s overall eligibility standards, you can complete our petition form to tell us more about yourself and request admission to the Honors Program.

Course Goals

Teaching & Learning

The Honors Program is committed to practices of intellectual inquiry. Honors courses will: 

  • Immerse students in challenging and rigorous material. 
  • Engage discussion and sharpen presentation and participation skills. 
  • Create a culture of research and foster community within the Honors Program. 
  • Demand a sustained and attentive intellectual pace.
  • Inspire practices of independent inquiry and curiosity.