The Honors Program offers high academic achievers opportunities to interact with other students who have similar academic standards, small classes to ensure individualized attention, faculty who are caring and supportive, a strong academic program, and an enhanced academic record. It also provides opportunities to enhance regular courses through specialized projects.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Honors Program designed to do for me as a student, or my child?

The Honors program brings many benefits. In addition to an enriched program of academic and civic study, the program brings financial opportunities. Students meeting the criteria for admission to the Honors Program are eligible for the Honors Scholarship at Vol State. Further, participation in the Vol State Honors Program also opens the door for Honors Programs and Honors scholarships at four year universities, such as a MTSU's renowned McNair Scholarship.

The program is always looking to expand opportunities and benefits as well. Currently, the program is working to create some specific International Education-study abroad opportunities, as well as priority registration, and use of a special Honors Room in the Library. The program is also exploring a grant to reward Honors students with either a laptop or netbook computer. The Honors website will be updated to reflect these benefits as they are completed.

What is required to be accepted in the Honors Program?

In order to enter the program, a student must meet the following requirements. High school students must have either a) a 3.5 GPA, b) a composite score of 26 on the ACT, or c) two letters of recommendation from instructors. Enrolled Vol State students must have at least a 3.5 GPA or letters of recommendation from two faculty members.

If a student is interested in doing Honors work, but does not meet the criteria, they may join the Honors Auxiliary. This program is designed for students who take courses by contract but are not officially in the Program. The Honors Auxiliary students will be invited to Honors meetings and be able to use the Honors room in the library. They will not be eligible for the Honors Scholarship until an appropriate grade threshold is achieved. Performance standards will be defined in the Honors contracts for these students.

What is required to stay in the Honors Program?

The only requirements to stay in the Honors program are to maintain a 3.0 GPA and continue to take Honors Courses. However, in order to gain the Honors diploma, a student is required to do more than just twelve (12) hours of Honors courses. An Honors degree also requires participation in some on-campus events as well as some off campus ones. Remember that part of the goal of the program is creating not just high academic standards, but solid citizens as well.

How is the Honors Program different from taking regular classes?

Honors courses involve more student involvement in discussion, critical thinking and analysis, presentation of ideas, and writing. Because there are substantially fewer students in Honors courses, the faculty and students are able to interact more in order to promote intellectual curiosity, creativity, self-awareness, intellectual independence, open-mindedness, and the leadership abilities of highly motivated students. The goal is to encourage Honors students to strive for academic excellence and personal achievement.

What Honors courses are available at Vol State?

Currently, there are several courses offered as Honors courses. English Composition I (ENGL 1010), Survey of American Literature I (ENGL 2110), Survey of American History I (HIST 2010), Leadership Development (HUM 275), and General Psychology (PSY 101) are our standard offerings. Future courses are now under consideration for inclusion in the program, including courses in Math and Science.

Honors courses are listed in the Volunteer State schedule of classes in the Honors Section. Honor students may receive Honors credit in some non-Honors courses through the Honors-by-contract with instructors. In addition, superior students who are not officially admitted to the Honors Program may enroll in Honors courses with instructor recommendation.

What is Honors-by-Contract?

Quite simply, Honors-by-contract is taking a regular course and, through an agreement between a student, the Honors Director, and the instructor, making it an honors credited course. This Honors Contract should include some sort of project that enhances student learning in addition to the normal course requirements. Ideally, the instructor and the student arrive at the arrangement together and submit a contract to the Honors Director. Creative and challenging projects are encouraged and some projects may be selected for public presentation and/or posting on the Honors Program website. Ideally, this project should require some sort of service learning or off campus activity to widen the student's understanding of the outside world.

How do I find out more?

Contact Dr. Merritt McKinney, at (615) 230-3236 or