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Advisor: Mark Sawin
Semester Hours: 18

The EMU Honors is an academic minor designed to provide academically gifted students with greater opportunities for challenge and growth. The program is designed to help students:

  • Develop the ability to examine ideas as human constructs made to bring order to chaos and sense to life and the ability to respectfully and systematically wrestle with ideas, even those fundamental to core beliefs.
  • Develop the ability to read and use the wide variety of "texts" (written, visual, relational, scientific, cultural, etc.) that drive and derive from the ideas formed by human experience.
  • Develop tools to bring balance to the destabilizing impact of challenging core ideas and the ability to contextualize one's own story amidst the biblical understandings of the wider Anabaptist and Christian traditions.
  • Develop the ability to formulate, critique and begin to implement ideas in a leadership capacity.

The EMU Honors Program seeks to attract bright and motivated students to participate in a challenging curriculum and is highly recommended to students who entered EMU with an honors scholarship. It is also enthusiastically recommended to any EMU student who academically excels and wishes to join the program. It is important to note that the Honors Program is an academic minor and functions as an academic program. It is connected to the larger EMU Honors system, which includes scholarship packages for incoming first year students (details about this are at, but the Honors Program itself does not include a scholarship, nor is it limited to students who entered EMU with an honors scholarship. All EMU students who are excelling academically are eligible to join the program.

Each fall semester, students awarded an EMU honors scholarship will be invited to take HONRS 111 Ruling Ideas, which serves as an introduction to the program and the curriculum. Students may elect to participate in the Honors Program at the conclusion of this course or at any time thereafter.

Yoder & Webb Scholars (the students awarded full-tuition scholarships) are required to participate in the Honors Program, but for all other students it is purely optional and available to all students who would like to join a program designed to enhance the normal EMU curriculum, providing increased rigor and more in-depth and alternative forms of study.

Honors courses are assessed via an alternative grading system, Qualify-Fail-A, to encourage students to take academic risks by exploring courses outside their comfort zone. Students who do their work diligently and well will earn a "Q" or "Qualify" which does not impact their GPA. Students can still earn an A if they excel or an F if they do not do the work.

Students (regardless of whether they received an EMU honors scholarship) who have excelled academically at EMU may choose to join the Honors Program. To complete the program, all the requirements below must be met, including a 3.6 or higher GPA at the time of graduation.

Honors Program Requirements

  • HONRS 111 Ruling Ideas - 3  Details
    Students entering EMU with an honors scholarship are eligible to take this course during their first semester.  Other students may also take it with permission of the Honors director. Students entering the Honors Program later may elect to take this course. If they do not, they will need to take an additional Exploration Unit.
  • HONRS Colloquium - Details
  • Exploration Units: (3 units, typically equivalent to 9 SH) - These include challenging courses and experiences from outside a student's primary major. When possible, students should include a unit from each major area of study outside their primary area of study (sciences/math, social sciences, humanities, and fine arts). These units can be fulfilled via:
    • A second major from a different school - 3 units
    • A second major within the same school - 2 units
    • Minor outside of school of major - 2 units
    • Minor within same school as major - I unit
    • Advanced class outside majors/minors and the EMU Core 1 unit
    • Additional HONRS Colloquium courses 1 unit
    • HONRS 431 Teaching and Leadership - 1 unit  Details
    • Music lessons/ensembles (two semesters) - 1 unit
    • Major theater production (if not required for major) - 1 unit
    • Editing the Weather Vane - 1 unit
    • Additional cross-cultural experience (summer) - 1 unit
    • Additional cross-cultural experience (semester or summer WCSC) - 2 units
    • Self-directed project (120 hours/unit) - 1-3 units
    • Student teaching - 3 units
    • Nursing clinical - 3 units
  • HONRS 401 Worldview Seminar - 2  Details
  • HONRS 451 Honors Capstone  - 1   Details  Completed in conjunction with the capstone project of the student's major or by arrangement with a cooperating professor
  • Foreign language proficiency through the Intermediate II level - Currently only Spanish is available at EMU, but the Honors Director will work with students who wish to pursue other languages. This requirement may also be filled by students taking a semester of language study followed by a related cross-cultural experience.
  • Cumulative 3.6 GPA at time of graduation
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