Honors (H) Designation

What is an Honors Course?


All Honors courses tend to feature seminar-style, discussion-based, interdisciplinary pedagogy, although other methods (lecture, collaborative projects, etc.) are often used as well. Honors courses are always identified by either an Honors prefix (H 303, H 353) or suffix (ENG 108H). In addition, there are two kinds of Honors courses offered in the WOU Honors Program curriculum:

  1. “Core” courses, which are permanent and annually repeating, and
  2. “Colloquia” or elective courses, which are usually temporary and non-recurring. If faculty and student demand are sufficient, a “colloquia” may be offered every 2-3 years, but it would remain an elective course, not part of the core.

“Core” requirements are comprised of 12 courses in the Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Creative Arts. Three Honors colloquia are also required, in addition to the Honors Thesis/Senior Project requirements. The bulk of a student’s Honors credits are earned in the first two years of study; the Thesis/Senior Project is the major, culminating academic experience of the student’s final two years. See the Helpful Links section below for more information on current and past Honors courses, both “core” and “colloquia.”

By design, Honors courses are kept small (20-25 students) to facilitate student engagement and learning. There are also never any pre-requisites for Honors courses, because of the wide diversity of majors/minors pursued by Honors students.


Process for Obtaining “H” Designation Approval


The Faculty Senate Honors Committee is one of the four Senate Curriculum Evaluation Committees and oversees all Honors designation approvals and program changes. Click here for more information on the different Senate Curriculum Evaluation Committees and their responsibilities.

Changes to a permanent course in the Honors “core” can originate from an academic department, division, or the Honors Committee itself. The proposal will route through the curriculum Portal to the Honors Committee, then onto Faculty Senate.

Because of their non-permanent status, Honors Colloquia are always offered on a temporary basis, using the Temporary Course Approval form. Every October, the Honors Director issues a formal call for proposals for Honors Colloquia over WOU email. At its November meeting, the Honors Committee discusses every proposal and makes its recommendations, and the director then confers with appropriate faculty, department heads, and deans to finalize the offerings.


Helpful Links







Honors Program

(503) 838-8519 | or e-mail: honors@wou.edu



Honors Program

503-838-8519 | or e-mail: honors@wou.edu  | Location: APSC 210
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