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More about the Honors Experience

HONB110: Humanities Honors Seminar.
At least 15 or more earned credits, overall GPA of 3.0, and permission of instructor

This interdisciplinary course is rooted in humanities subjects such as literature, history, philosophy, music, art and communications. You will work with the seminar leader and faculty fellows to raise questions across these disciplines and to think creatively and critically about a variety of visual, verbal, and aural texts. Past course titles have included:

  • Ethnic Conflict in the Modern World
  • The Pulitzer Prize in Contemporary America
  • Rednecks, Rebels and Outlaws: The Outsider in American Culture
  • Terror, Torture, Truth
  • Global Pop Music, World Cultures and Gender
  • American Comedy
  • Words on the Wadsworth: Modern Art and Podcasting
    The Search for Authentic Experience (spring 2010)

HONB200: Science Honors Seminar.
Second-year status, overall GPA of 3.0 and permission of instructor

This interdisciplinary course is rooted in math/science or social science subjects such as economics, political science, psychology, and sociology. You will raise questions across these disciplines partly by studying regional contemporary issues. Our field trips, hands-on research experiences, active discussions and work with experts in the field will also help you think critically and analytically and develop research skills. Past course titles have included:

  • Natural and Social Sciences Perspectives on the Connecticut River
  • Forces that Change Society
  • Sport and Society
  • Organizing and Advocating for Social and Political Change
  • Disasters
  • Creating Social Justice

HONB210 Winterterm Honors Experience.
Second-year status, overall GPA of 3.0, and permission of the instructor

This interdisciplinary course provides a study and travel experience for Hillyer honors students. Courses have been held in London, Mexico, and Hawaii. The Hawaii course studies Hawaiian and Polynesian culture. Lectures and field trips cover the history of influences Hawaii has endured over many centuries, as well as the expressive culture, and dynamics of religion, ethnicity, and race in contemporary Hawaiian society. You are required to attend four pre-travel classes on the Hartford campus in the fall prior to your travel. In addition, you must complete all work for the course in order to maintain the scholarships and honors credit associated with our Winterterm Honors Experience.

Community Events:
Meet University President Walt Harrison; join us for plays, exhibits, baseball games; give back to the community with friends on Honors Volunteer Day; present your own work on Honors Day; create your own events with the Honors Student Organization and the Alpha Lamda Delta Honor Society.

Hit the Road:
Our Winterterm experience lets you earn class credit while traveling to places such as London, Mexico, and Hawaii.
Priority Registration:
Register early and get first choice of classes if you earn an overall GPA of 3.5 or better and average 15 credits per semester.

Qualify for awards and scholarships granted for academic excellence.

Hillyer College gives several awards at the end of the first year to honors students who have carried a full load each semester (30-32 credits) and are enrolled to return to Hillyer College in their sophomore year:

  • The Mehri Honors Award acknowledges the academic excellence of the top two students in the first-year class with a credit of $500 each towards students' accounts;
  • The Benjamin Goldenberg Award acknowledges the academic excellence of the students with the third and fourth highest grade point averages in the first-year class with an award of $500 each towards students' accounts;
  • The Hillyer College Scholarship rewards a student in the top 5% of the first-year class for academic excellence with a monetary award between $250 and $500.
    The College reserves other awards for sophomore Honors Students.
  • The University Tuition Scholarship for Honors Travel grants a $500 credit to the spring tuition of students who successfully complete HONB210, the Honors Winterterm offering;
  • The Shaw Family Foundation Scholarship for Honors Travel covers $500 of students' travel tickets to the Winterterm offering for students who successfully complete the College's Winterterm Honors course;
  • The Honors Travel Scholarships for Students of Color cover the majority of expenses associated with the College's Winterterm Honors course for students of color who maintain academic excellence and exhibit financial need; priority is given to students from Hartford.
  • The Voldstad Award is given in January of a student's sophomore year and credits $1000 to the tuition payments of a student who has demonstrated academic excellence and financial need.
  • Alpha Lambda Delta, the honor society for first-year students, also offers scholarships. If you carry a full load of courses and earn a 3.5 or better, you may become a member and apply for special nationwide scholarships varying from $1,000 to $7,500 to help fund your undergraduate and graduate studies. See under "Awards" for details.

Enhanced Advising
Come by our drop-in hours and talk over a cup of coffee about how to match your interests with our course offerings; connect with professors in your major in our student-faculty lunch series; discuss transfer applications to B.A. programs on or off-campus; participate in career workshops.

A case study of the class by Assistant Professor of Art History Fran Altvater also appears in the Vol. 9, 3 Journal of Effective Teaching.

Requirements and Contract Honors
Complete Hillyer Honors with just 9 credits; take a non-honors course for honors credit with contract honors.

Sample of Work
In spring 2009, the Humanities Honors seminar was "Words on the Wadsworth: Art History and Podcasting". Students studied the history of modern art and used the Wadsworth Atheneum as case material for developing their own podcast art history tours.

More About Contract Honors
Contract Honors enables you to take a non-Honors course for Honors credit. Find a faculty member who is willing to work with you in developing a contract that states what additional work you will undertake to earn the "Honors" designation.

Possible ways to fulfill your contract may include:
completing assignments that substitute for the regular assignments, but that tackle course materials in greater depth or breadth;
completing additional assignments such as more extensive reading or more responsibility for reading primary rather than secondary texts;
completing a more extensive research project, incorporating a field component to be analyzed and related to the course content, giving a special presentation to the class, participating in a workshop or conference with a faculty member, etc.
engaging in self-reflective writing throughout the semester about what you hope to experience or learn through your modified course assignments, and about whether you feel you are meeting those goals.
Once you have negotiated a contract signed by you and the faculty member, you submit it to the College Honors Coordinator no later than four weeks after the beginning of the course. If the Coordinator has any questions or reservations about the contract, he or she may discuss these with the faculty member. If necessary, the Coordinator may also ask the University Honors Coordinating Committee to give opinions about Honors contracts.

Be aware that you need to receive a grade of "B" or above in order to fulfill the contract. Also, your professor may reserve the right to dissolve the contract if he or she feels you have not kept to its terms. Once your faculty member determines that you have completed your contract, he or she will notify the College Honors Coordinator, who informs the Registrar at semester's end that you have successfully earned Honors credit for your course. The Registrar will then add the designation "Honors Section" next to your course on your transcript.

Download the Honors Contract Form (pdf)

More Requirements
To complete the Honors Experience at Hillyer College you need to take at least 9 credits of honors courses and reach an overall GPA of 3.25 or higher and grades of B or better in all honors courses by your graduation from Hillyer. In addition, you need to take at least 6 credits from Hillyer honors courses (HONB110, HONB200, HONB210), one of which may be a Hillyer contract honors course. You may use either a Hillyer honors course or one offered in the other colleges for the remaining 3 credits. We also expect that Honors students maintain academic integrity in all of their courses to participate in our course offerings and events. For this reason, students found in violation of the College's policies regarding academic integrity cannot participate in the Hillyer Honors courses or activities. The Honors Coordinator may request information from the University's Judicial Affairs office regarding any Hillyer student who may have breached University policies. The Honors Coordinator may also make further inquiry and may recommend that the Dean of the College exclude that student from any College Honors course or event.

Graduate with University Honors
Set yourself apart from other graduate school candidates and job applicants! Take just 12 credits after leaving Hillyer and complete University Honors.

To learn more about how the Honors Program can work for you now and after graduation, contact the Hillyer Honors Director, Associate Professor Michele Troy at