2013-14 Catalogs

Program Overview

Director: Nancy Artz, Ph.D.

Assistant Director: Bethany Round, M.A.

Coordinator: Nan Bragg, B.A.

Faculty Teaching in Honors: Allen (Philosophy), Artz (Honors/Business), Briggs (LAC/Honors), Edwards (Political Science), Gavin (Philosophy), Gilbert (Communication and Media Studies), Giles (English), Goodale (Art), Kaufman (History), Kent (Theater), Lynn (Muskie/Assoc. Provost), Marya (English), Moore (Biology), Muthyala (English), Reimer (English), Schmidt (Political Science), Scott (Philosophy); Vassallo (Political Science), Vella (Psychology), Wininger (Philosophy)

Honors students are eligible for small, dynamic courses that meet USM Core requirements.  Students in any major may sample individual honors courses, complete our USM Core Thematic Cluster (Casco Bay Region: Where We Live), or graduate with an honors designation by completing a specified set of courses.

Our seminar-style format enables students to interact closely with peers and receive individualized attention from excellent faculty and staff.  Honors courses tap student curiosity and creativity while exploring intellectually rich topics from multiple perspectives; our interdisciplinary approach enriches and complements any major.  Students hone their communication skills and become better able to tackle complex challenges while working respectfully with others.  Courses include challenging reading, primary source material, student research, and student performance such as oral presentation or civic engagement.  Seniors can maximize their honors experience by writing a self-designed thesis.  For all of these reasons, honors education is prized by employers and graduate schools.

Honors is more than a set of stimulating courses.  The honors community is a home for engaged learners.  In a collaborative setting, students attain the confidence that comes from honing their thoughts through questioning, writing, dialogue, and integrative thinking.  Honors is meant to be a satisfying journey in which students rise to their potential as individuals and citizens – becoming the persons they want to be.

Honors courses are offered on the Portland and Gorham campuses.  Dormitory students can choose to reside in the Honors living-learning community in Hastings Hall.  The Honors dorm floor houses a seminar classroom, lounge space, and a faculty/staff office.  The Honors Center on the Portland campus offers seminar rooms, lounge space, student study space, and faculty/staff offices.

Please ask about competitive Honors scholarships available after one semester of honors coursework and flexible options for students with demanding major requirements or study abroad plans. For additional information, browse http://usm.maine.edu/honors.

Admission to Honors Courses

The Honors Program accepts motivated, intellectually curious students who value individual challenge and enjoy working closely with faculty and peers. Honors student status – and thus the ability to enroll in honors courses – may be requested any time between admission to USM and graduation.  Traditional students, transfers, adult learners, and part-time students are all welcome. When students request honors student status, we consider motivation for honors study (which could be evident from prior academic performance, life experience, faculty recommendation, or an interview).  As part of the general USM application process, honors status is automatically granted to recent high school graduates with a record of strong performance.
To enroll in your first honors course, visit the Honors Center (253 Luther Bonney Hall) or contact us at (207) 780-4330 or honors@usm.maine.edu.

Note: The Honors Program and the Russell Scholars Program are separate learning communities offering different USM Core courses (see http://usm.maine.edu/rscholar). Honors students are not required to reside on campus, may apply for an honors scholarship, and are eligible for an honors designation on their college transcript.

Honors Program Graduation Requirements

Thesis Track:  Graduation with General University Honors requires a cumulative USM GPA of at least 3.4 and the following coursework:

  •HON 101 - Honors Entry-Year Experience (or approved substitute)*

  •HON 210 - Honors Science Exploration (or approved substitute)*

  •HON 310 - Honors Global Ethical Inquiry (or approved substitute)*

  •HON 311 and HON 411/412 Honors Thesis I and II/III (minimum grade of B-)

  •Three credits of additional honors coursework

  * Course substitution is possible if you cannot use the required course toward your USM Core requirements because of prior credit, major requirement, study abroad…

Non-thesis Track:  An alternate honors designation is available for those who take an additional three credits of honors coursework in lieu of the six- to-nine-credit thesis.  The minimum USM GPA is 3.2.

Students are encouraged to meet additional USM Core requirements with honors courses.

Honors courses cannot be taken pass/fail, unless the thesis advisor grants the option in HON 311. To remain in good standing as an honors student, and thus be able to enroll in honors courses, students must meet a minimum grade standard of C+ in HON 100/101 and B- in all other HON courses. These minimum grade requirements function as prerequisites for other honors courses and as honors graduation criteria, unless the director grants an exception. If a minimum grade is not met, the student is to work with the honors staff to develop a plan to return to good standing. Dismissal from the program can result if a student does not meet with the staff; does not develop an approved plan; is unable to return to good standing within the plan's timeframe; or, after returning to good standing, subsequently fails to remain in good standing.

Note: the General University Honors designation is separate from, and in addition to, cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude awarded solely on overall USM grade point average (see Graduation Honors Policy in the Academic Policies section of this catalog).