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The Honors Program

Instituted by the faculty in 1986, the McDaniel Honors Program offers academic enrichment to exceptionally motivated and enthusiastic students. As a participant in the Honors program, you'll join a community of fellow scholars dedicated to academic rigor while living in an environment conducive to the exchange of ideas. The program opens doors to challenging courses in diverse disciplines and results in an Honors designation on your diploma. Honors students pursue academic careers that deepen their intellectual curiosity, integrity, and commitment to leadership in the McDaniel community.

Students in outdoor classroom setting.

Admission to the Honors Program

Admission to the McDaniel Honors Program is highly selective and designed to identify students whose applications demonstrate intellectual curiosity, an intrinsic motivation to learn, and potential as leaders in the McDaniel community. Students identified as potential Honors scholars are also considered for additional merit scholarships, which both reward the excellent academic work of incoming students and further reduce the costs to attend McDaniel. 


Prospective First-Year Students

Students who submit a complete application for admission by December 15 are automatically considered for the Honors program. Based on a combination of core high school GPA, writing samples, honors classes, AP classes, class ranks, and any other areas of significant achievement, your admissions counselor will identify you as a potential Honors student and you will be invited to apply. As a point of reference, recent applicants have had an average GPA of 3.85; in addition, these students completed many honors, AP, and IB courses (when available), and pursued an average of 4 years of foreign language in high school. Students identified as potential Honors students will also be invited to our invitation-only Scholars on the Hill event.

Prospective Transfer Students

Transfer students who have achieved a GPA of at least 3.75 are invited to apply to the program on an individual basis. McDaniel College has articulation agreements with the honors programs at Carroll Community College, Frederick Community College, and Louisburg College in South Carolina. Students transferring to the McDaniel Honors Program complete a modified set of program requirements, as agreed upon with the Director.

Continuing Students

Interested sophomore-level students who have demonstrated their potential as honors students in their first semesters at McDaniel College may apply to join the program at the start of their sophomore year. These students should alert their advisor of their interest in applying to the program early in the spring of their first year. The faculty advisory committee for the Honors Program reviews these applications and makes final decisions regarding admittance. Typically 2-4 students are invited to join the program each year. These students must complete the same application as honors students selected during the admissions process.

The Honors Curriculum

Students who complete the following program requirements receive the designation of College Scholar.

  • Overall GPA of 3.5 or better
  • HON 1200 Honors: My Design (2 credits; fall of 1st year)
  • HON 2201 Great Works (4 credits; spring of 1st year)
  • HON 2200 Honors: My Career (2 credits; fall or spring of 2nd year)
  • HON 3200 Honors Journal Club (2 credits, fall or spring of 3rd year)
  • Three honors modules, selecting from among the following:
    • Honors Electives
    • Honors-Enriched Experiences
    • Study Abroad
  • HON 4491 Honors Senior Colloquium (2 credits; spring of senior year)
  • Completion of a College Scholars Project (4 credits; senior year, met by pursuing departmental honors or proposing a distinct project)
  • Demonstration of intellectual and moral character befitting a member of the Honors Program

Focused Instruction Academic Excellence

Honors seminars are discussion-based and allow students from diverse disciplines to dive into advanced topics. The Honors Program is designed to complement any major or student-designed program. Because honors electives may fulfill one or more general education requirements, completing the honors curriculum does not necessarily require additional coursework, but rather offers a flexible, customized path through the liberal arts experience.

Benefits of the Honors Program

The Honors Program provides many benefits to student participants. Our goal is to ensure everything is in place to help you customize you education to match your interests and fuel your ambitions. Your Honors Advisor identifies opportunities across campus to support and enrich your Honors experience and provide you increased access to the people, ideas and support systems you need to do your best work.

Honors Scholarships

All students invited to apply for the Honors Program are considered for additional merit scholarships based on the quality of their Honors Application. These scholarships range from an additional $1000 all the way up to full tuition.

Honors Housing

Honors students can select to live in Daniel McLea Hall with other members of the honors program. This suite-style living space is air-conditioned and typically reserved for upper-classmen. Forlines House is a popular option for additional honors housing. Living in honors housing is not required, but serves as a great way to meet like-minded peers and continue conversations begun in the classroom.

Priority Registration

Honors students register for classes in the first group of their respective class years, helping to relieve some of the stress that can come with the demands of balancing a complex schedule.

Unique Courses

Faculty members design unique and challenging courses just for our honors students. These courses are small, discussion-based and allow students to dive into complex subjects in diverse fields without the need to take introductory courses first. Because these courses meet general education requirements that students need anyway, they fit easily into the McDaniel experience. Students help to determine the line-up of courses

An Honors-Only Study Space

Between classes honors students relax in a space they dubbed the “Room of Requirement” and enjoy popcorn, hot cocoa, board games, or just a quiet space to study.

Extended Library Loan

Honors students can check out materials from Hoover Library for three months at a time, sidestepping pesky overdue notices.

Unique Study Abroad Opportunities

Students who participate in the Honors Program are allowed to study abroad at McDaniel Europe in Budapest, Hungary in the spring semester of their first year, a full semester earlier than most other students. That semester they complete their required Honors seminar abroad alongside students from around the world at McDaniel Europe. The McDaniel Honors Program is also a member of the Principia Consortium, allowing students to study abroad with other honors students from across the country at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. These students complete an honors course on the Scottish Enlightenment and have access to any of the other courses offered at the University, including a course on Bagpipes and an Anatomy course that allows students to work with a cadaver.

Special Trips and Events

From the statehouse in Annapolis to embassy row, think tanks, and cultural centers in nearby Washington, D.C., students rub shoulders and exchange ideas with policy makers and performing artists through annual Honors Program trips thanks to the connections created by networked professors. In addition, the program hosts an annual honors lecture bringing renowned researchers to our campus. Our students plan and participate in service events such as Night of Nets, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, and Relay for Life and bring their creative expertise to picnics, banquets, and receptions.

Access to the Honors Alumni Network

Honors students join a network of over 400 honors alumni who provide mentorship to current students and help connect them to post-graduate opportunities.

Leadership Opportunities

On campus, honors students are leaders among leaders and are well-represented in every group from team captains to the first-year council to the student government association. Within the Honors Program, students have an active voice and can run for positions on the student executive board.

Academic Research Opportunities

With the support of faculty and the Honors Advisors, many honors students complete undergraduate research and present their work at Honors conferences. Honors students are mentored on this process, further preparing them for next steps in their educational or professional journeys. Conferences where students present include The Maryland Collegiate Honors Council and the Northeast Regional Honors Council.

Mentorship by the Program Directors

The honors directors serve as additional advisors for honors students, meeting with them to put opportunities in their pathways and help them make the most of their McDaniel experience.

Official recognition as a "College Scholar"

Upon completing the program students are officially named College Scholars and this honors is noted on their transcripts. Students wear special cords at graduation and are recognized at the spring awards ceremony and at commencement.

Connect With Us

Corey Wronski-Mayersak

Associate Professor / Director, Honors Program

Phone: 410-857-2245

Recent News for Honors Program

  • McDaniel College Class of 2021: By the Numbers

    Here’s to McDaniel’s Class of 2021. All 587 of them. A diverse group, they have 55 different majors and traveled from nine countries and 25 states and D.C. to study on the Hill. Want to know more? Top majors? Where they studied abroad? How many are College Scholars? Read on!

  • Three incoming freshmen surprised with Dorsey Scholarships

    McDaniel College’s Admissions Office along with the Green Terror surprised three incoming Class of 2025 students by announcing them as the college’s newest Dorsey Scholars. The Dorsey Scholars Program is the highest academic honor at McDaniel and includes full tuition, room, and board for all four years.

  • Honors students present research at virtual Maryland Collegiate Honors Conference

    Four students represented McDaniel College at the Maryland Collegiate Honors Conference, “In Honors, Black Lives Matter,” held virtually on Feb. 26-27. McDaniel College Honors students Dalanda Diallo, Signe’ Kula, Maxwell Pardoe, and Raquel Sobczak were excited to have the opportunity to present at the conference and enjoyed hearing and learning of the stories and research from other presenters.