Honors programThe Rio Grande Honors Program focuses on engaging, dynamic, and creative learning experiences that enhance a student’s academic curriculum as well as develop leadership, critical thinking, and communication skills.  The program attracts a wide range of students who positively impact their peers, the institution, and the global community.

The Honors Program is not a degree-granting program. It is, however, an academic program that can be taken in conjunction with a student’s major curriculum. Students who successfully complete the Honors curriculum in addition to their program curriculum will graduate with the Honors designation on their transcript. The complete Honors Program is a baccalaureate program, but eligible associate degree students are welcome to participate in the seminars and take the Honors general education curriculum as their academic program allows.

Honors students must maintain a GPA of at least 3.25 at all times. Students whose GPA falls below a 3.25 are automatically placed on probation but have until the following semester, not including Summer term, to raise their GPA to at least a 3.25.

Upon completion of the Rio Grande Honors Program, students will:

  • Develop and successfully execute a senior research project.
  • Demonstrate strong written communication skills.
  • Demonstrate strong verbal communication skills.
  • Design learning experiences tailored to individual interests.
  • Implement problem-solving techniques to successfully complete projects.
  • Critique one’s own academic successes and failures through self-reflection.
  • Express the value of social and cultural experiences outside the classroom.

Program Acceptance Requirements

First-semester Rio students seeking admission into the Honors Program must meet two of the following criteria:

  • Upper 10 percent of high school graduating class,
  • 3.5 high school GPA, and
  • ACT composite score of 25.

Currently enrolled Rio students seeking admission must meet the following criteria:

  • 3.25 minimum GPA after completing at least 8 credit hours

Honors students can apply up to two non-Honors classes – no more than four credits per class – to their Honors general education curriculum. These courses can be from Rio Grande or transferred in from a different institution. (Transfer credits must be approved by Rio Grande’s Registrar’s Office before they can be applied to a student’s curriculum.)

Honors students must maintain a GPA of at least 3.25 at all times. Students whose GPA falls below a 3.25 are automatically placed on probation but have until the following semester, not including Summer term, to raise their GPA to at least a 3.25.

Apply to the Honors Program

National Collegiate Honors Council

The National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) is the professional association of undergraduate Honors programs and colleges; Honors directors and deans; and Honors faculty, staff, and students. NCHC provides support for institutions and individuals developing, implementing, and expanding Honors education through curriculum development, program assessment, teaching innovation, national and international study opportunities, internships, service and leadership development, and mentored research.

Mid-East Honors Association

The Mid-East Honors Association is comprised of honors colleges and programs from Eastern Illinois, Indiana, Northern Kentucky, Southern Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia. Institutions that are close to these states (in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania)while not strictly within our borders, are welcome to join MEHA and attend the annual conference.

Honors Program Requirements

  • Students must successfully complete the following requirements prior to graduation to graduate as a Rio Grande Honors Student.
  • HON 10001: Welcome to Honors
    • Students must take HON 10001 the first semester they are accepted into the Honors Program. HON 10001 is a one-credit online course.
    • Course description: This course is the first course for students enrolled in the Rio Grande Honors Program. Offered in an online format, the course introduces students to the Honors Program and prepares them for such program requirements as the Honors contracts and the Senior Honors Project.  The class also focuses on information literacy, communication skills, and critical thinking.  There will be synchronous, online class meetings throughout the semester.  Prerequisites: Acceptance into the Rio Grande Honors Program.  (Fall/Spring)
  • SOC 20103 Honors Service Learning.
    • This course will be offered every spring semester, Mondays 2:30-3:45 (students must also complete a minimum of sixty clock hours at their service-learning placement.)
  • HON 20101 Honors Seminar
    • Students must complete two separate sections of HON 20101 in two separate semesters.
    • One section of HON 20101 will be offered each fall and spring.
    • Students should enroll in HON 20101 as fits their schedule but prior to their senior year.
    • HON 20101 will always be offered Mondays 4:00-4:50.
    • Travel seminars will be offered at least once every other year.
  • HON 40101: Senior Honors Seminar I & HON 40201 Senior Honors Seminar II
    • During their senior year, Honors Program students complete a senior project. This project can be anything from a traditional written thesis to a performance piece or a service-learning project.
    • All students will need to take HON 40101: Senior Honors Seminar I in the fall and HON 40201: Senior Honors Seminar II in the spring of their senior year.
    • Both courses are always offered Mondays 4:00-4:50
  • Honors Program Contracts
    • Students must complete two Honors Program contracts.
    • These contracts can be for any course of at least three credit hours that students take within their Rio curriculum (general education, major, minor, elective, lower or upper level).
    • The contracts will be developed in coordination with the Honors Director and the course instructor.
    • It will be the responsibility of the student to reach out to their instructors regarding an Honors contract; it is also the responsibility of the student to have a project in mind prior to reaching out to the instructor.


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