Honors Program

College Scholars Catherine O’Keefe and Eric Spioch graduated in 2013; currently, Catherine is a research technician at the Burke Rehabilitation Center (NY) and Eric is programs intern at the Project on Middle East Democracy (DC). content

Overview

Stretch yourself for the honors program

If you are exceptionally motivated to learn, to lead, and to get involved in the academic community, you may be invited into the Honors Program.

At a college recognized for changing lives, the McDaniel Honors Program challenges students to develop their intellectual potential as leaders for change in their local and global communities. In particular, our program focuses on honing students’:

  • appreciation for challenges of change
  • leadership
  • integrity
  • project development

Instituted by the faculty in 1986, the McDaniel Honors Program offers academic enrichment to exceptionally motivated and enthusiastic students who join a community of scholars dedicated to academic rigor in the study of the liberal arts while living in an environment conducive to the exchange of ideas. The program opens doors to challenging courses in diverse disciplines. Honors students pursue academic careers that demonstrate their intellectual curiosity, integrity, and commitment to leadership in the McDaniel community.

Put simply, the McDaniel Honors Program sharpens the focus of the liberal arts experience. Detailed information about the Honors Program can be found in the Honors Program Handbook and the College Catalog.

Dr. Bryn Upton, Director
honors@mcdaniel.edu

 

Find us on Facebook: McDaniel Honors Program
Follow us on Twitter: McDaniel Honors Program.

Honors Curriculum

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 fulfill one or more general education requirements, completing the honors curriculum does not require additional coursework, but rather offers a flexible, customized path through the liberal arts experience.

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

  • Overall GPA of 3.5 or better
  • Demonstrate intellectual and moral character befitting a member of the Honors Program
  • HON 1200 Honors A to Z (2 credits; fall of 1st year)
  • HON 2201 Great Works (4 credits; spring of 1st year)
  • HON 2265 Honors Applied (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 (4 credit courses that also fulfill general education requirements; may sometimes fulfill a major or minor requirement as well; must meet one or more of the four student learning outcomes)
    • Honors-enriched experiences (maximum of 2 allowed; may range from 1-4 credits; at least one should be in the major field of study)
    • Study abroad (each semester abroad counts as one honors module)
  • 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)

Admission

Admission to the McDaniel Honors Program

Admission to the McDaniel Honors Program is highly selective and designed to identify students who applications demonstrate intellectual curiosity, an intrinsic motivation to learn, and potential as leaders in the McDaniel community. Students may enter the program as first-year students, as rising sophomores, or upon transferring to McDaniel College.

Prospective students

Students who apply by January 1st and who are in the top 10% of the applicant pool are invited to apply to the Honors Program based on a combination of their core high school GPA, writing samples, honors classes, AP classes, class ranks, and any other areas of significant achievement. Any student may request that his or her application be reviewed for consideration for an invitation to apply to the Honors Program. 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.

Rising sophomores

Interested 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 requirements as honors students selected during the admissions process.

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.

Students with questions about applying to the McDaniel Honors Program should contact Admissions at 800-638-5005 or use this form to request more information.

What Students Say

“What Students Say About Honors”

“My favorite part of the Honors Program is the interesting courses I have gotten to take. One of my favorite classes at McDaniel so far has been the Honors SIS Madness, Genius, and Creativity.”

“Takings an Honors SIS, I can now see why interdisciplinary studies are so important.”

“What was so great about it was the combination of personalities and ideas that incited educated conversation and banter. That is honestly what I came to a liberal arts school to do—to understand several disciplines and to meet other smart people with different opinions.”

“The people I have met through the Honors Program. My best friends are in the Honors Program, and every day I get to interact with the brightest people on campus through intellectual discussion, Honors activities, etc. My Honors peers make me think differently and be more open-minded, which in turn makes me a more well-rounded person. Dr. Upton is also a phenomenal advisor with the ability to connect with any individual. The Honors Program is my favorite thing that I participate in at McDaniel.”

“My personal slogan for the honors program has become, ‘Let’s share mind space.’ The honors program has offered me incredible moments to connect among a variety of perspectives. These connections create spaces for goofy conversation and critical evaluation. This is my favorite aspect of the honors program: idea storming! I love ideas, there are so many potentials out there and ideas are the bridges turning possibilities into opportunities. The honors program has been a bridge builder of my college experience. “

Is it hard to balance Honors with your other courses?

“Honors classes overlapped with my major and I took an extra summer semester abroad, so I Honors courses fit into my schedule easily.”

“No, it was not hard to balance Honors with my other courses. In fact, mixing Honors courses with my normal classes inspired me to think more critically and to ask questions to incite discussion within the normal classes.”

“Honors also gave me the opportunity to take classes that were not within my field of study. As I tested out of many of the required liberal arts classes, the Honors requirement allowed me to explore my interests beyond my major and minor.”

Is it hard to balance Honors with other activities (such as sports, student organizations, a part-time job, or Greek life)?

“For me, Honors mostly meant extra classes requiring a bit more thought, so I was able to balance it with the Free Press and Cross Country/Track pretty easily as long as I stayed on top of things. Sports kept me from more Honors service and social events than I would have liked, but I was still able to attend some of them.”

“Actually, I do not think it is difficult to balance Honors with my other courses. I feel like the Honors program has better prepared me for those other courses and in turn makes them less difficult. You get out of your education what you put into it. If you care about your education and put in the required work and time, the results will speak for themselves.”

“Initially, I was worried about committing to both the Honors program and the athletics program at McDaniel, but I am so thankful that I was able to experience both. The beauty of D3 is that it is crafted around your identity as a student-athlete, not just as an athlete. I always felt supported by my professors when it came to volleyball, and my coach always insisted that academics came first. As long as I was transparent with my professors and coaches about any potential schedule conflicts, they were understanding and supportive of my endeavors on the court and in the classroom.”

“It’s quite easy to balance Honors with everything else going on. I know from personal experience that last semester I was able to pledge a fraternity, play a D3 sport, be involved in clubs and still have lots of time to relax and spend with friends.”

“No, being a part of Honors created within me a desire to be a part of the greater campus community, more so than had I not been in Honors.”

What benefits are there to being in the Honors Program?

“I mostly enjoyed the opportunity to steer my own education in the classes. Open-ended papers and projects were intimidating at first, but they were the most enjoyable part of my classes.”

“One benefit of being in the Honors Program is that it gave me some experience presenting at the Maryland Collegiate Honors Conference. This helped prepare me for presenting my research at the end of my Summer 2016 internship.”

“I am really glad I got the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and speak in front of a class of people.”

“Aside from the air conditioned housing and early registration benefits, the Honors Program pushes students to strive for more and introduces them to a community of like-minded, hard-working individuals.”

“Especially as an incoming freshman, the biggest benefit was living in Honors housing. Living with like-minded students, who put studying first, encourages a different living setting than had we been placed within the general women's or men's housing. Being in the Honors Program also gave me access to classes that were not available to other students. These classes allowed us to learn at a higher level and with students who were more engaged than our normal classes. We also had a special advisor above our department advisor who encouraged a high level of community building within Honors. Some of my best life-long friends came from being in Honors.”

How did McDaniel and the Honors Program prepare you for what you do now?

“The Celtic Studies Ph.D. program I’m attending uses ideas from literary analysis, historical analysis, and archaeology. My English program prepared me for the literary analysis, but the Honors program exposed me to other disciplines and prepared me to face the challenge of such an interdisciplinary graduate program.”

“I graduated with a major in Political Science and a minor in Economics. I have not worked in the Political Science or Economics since graduation. I work in Financial Services (close to Economics, but not quite the same) for one of the largest wealth management consulting firms in the country. McDaniel and the Honors Program prepared me for my work here by teaching me how to think critically and how to maximize my time.  My ability to learn systems and processes quickly and to stay organized has allowed me to stand out among my peers. Had it not been for learning different subjects at McDaniel via the liberal arts program or learning at a higher, intensive, and competitive level within Honors, I would not be where I am today. My college experience pushed me to always strive for my best and to keep challenging myself with any direction life takes me because I've learned that such steps create for a rewarding outcome.”

Picture of the inside of the Honor Program housing.  departments

Honors Perks

At McDaniel College, everything is in place to help honors students customize their education to match interests and fuel ambitions.

 

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 was renovated in 2013. Forlines house is a popular option for additional honors housing. Living in honors housing is not required, but it is 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 and have recently taken courses such as:

  • Nanotechnology
  • The Hero’s Journey
  • The Arab World
  • The Zombie Apocalypse
  • Logic, Knowledge, and Interaction
  • Serving LGBT Communities
  • The Nature of Science
  • Childhood in America

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.

The honors-only study lounge.

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

The McDaniel Honors Program is 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 flair to picnics, banquets, and receptions.

A fire dancer lit up red square in the center of campus for one senior banquet. Photo credit: Mara Seibert (’13)
A fire dancer lit up red square in the center of campus for one senior banquet. Photo credit: Mara Seibert '13

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

Honors students present their research at regional and national conferences. 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. These positions include:

  • President
  • Vice President
  • Secretary
  • Historian
  • Housing Manager
  • Events Coordinator
  • Public Relations Coordinator
  • Community Service Coordinator
  • First-Year Representative

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.

In the News

McDaniel Honors students are active in the community. You can read about some of their recent events and learn more about the challenges that excite them in these features.

Prominent math education expert to present lecture

https://www.mcdaniel.edu/information/headlines/news-at-mcdaniel/archive/prominent-math-education-expert-to-present-lecture

 

McDaniel senior named Maryland top honors student

https://www.mcdaniel.edu/information/headlines/news-at-mcdaniel/archive/mcdaniel-senior-named-maryland-top-honors-student

 

Honors students serve LGBT communities through their projects

https://www.mcdaniel.edu/information/headlines/news-at-mcdaniel/archive/honors-students-serve-lgbt-communities-through-their-projects

 

New digital currency captures research interests of student and professor

https://www.mcdaniel.edu/information/headlines/news-at-mcdaniel/archive/new-digital-currency-captures-research-interests-of-student-and-professor

 

Story featuring Emma Wingerd and her thoughts about her trip to France with the Green Terror Basketball team

https://www.mcdaniel.edu/information/headlines/news-at-mcdaniel/archive/womens-basketball-team-goes-global 

 

Junior political science major’s career explorations not limited to earth

https://www.mcdaniel.edu/information/headlines/news-at-mcdaniel/archive/junior-political-science-majors-career-explorations-not-limited-to-earth

 

Students fly to Morocco for conference on the Muslim world

https://www.mcdaniel.edu/information/headlines/news-at-mcdaniel/archive/students-fly-to-morocco-for-conference-on-the-muslim-world

 

Honors course prompts students to explore perspectives on leadership

https://www.mcdaniel.edu/information/headlines/news-at-mcdaniel/archive/honors-course-prompts-students-to-explore-perspectives-on-leadership

 

Four student projects receive Griswold-Zepp awards.

https://www.mcdaniel.edu/information/headlines/news-at-mcdaniel/archive/four-student-projects-receive-griswold-zepp-awards

 

Service learning connects students to ideas of religious movement leaders

https://www.mcdaniel.edu/information/headlines/news-at-mcdaniel/archive/service-learning-connects-students-to-ideas-of-religious-movement-leaders

 

Honors class launches website investigating romantic

https://www.mcdaniel.edu/information/headlines/news-at-mcdaniel/archive/honors-class-launches-website-investigating-romantic-love

 

McDaniel to host statewide honors students

https://www.mcdaniel.edu/information/headlines/news-at-mcdaniel/archive/mcdaniel-to-host-statewide-honors-students

Gaming comes full circle
https://www.mcdaniel.edu/information/headlines/news-at-mcdaniel/archive/gaming-comes-full-circle

On Einstein, politics and relativity

https://www.mcdaniel.edu/information/headlines/news-at-mcdaniel/archive/on-einstein-politics-and-relativity

 

Finding Jung in Wagner’s ‘Ring’

https://www.mcdaniel.edu/information/headlines/news-at-mcdaniel/archive/finding-jung-in-wagners-ring

 

In search of common ground

https://www.mcdaniel.edu/information/headlines/news-at-mcdaniel/archive/in-search-of-common-ground-2014

 

Three seniors recognized for history research at regional conference

https://www.mcdaniel.edu/information/headlines/news-at-mcdaniel/archive/three-seniors-recognized-for-history-research-at-regional-conference

 

High honors presented at Commencement

https://www.mcdaniel.edu/information/headlines/news-at-mcdaniel/archive/high-honors-presented-at-commencement

 

Probing particle physics

https://www.mcdaniel.edu/information/headlines/news-at-mcdaniel/archive/probing-particle-physics

 

Real-life lessons in the liberal arts empower alumnae’s passion

https://www.mcdaniel.edu/information/headlines/news-at-mcdaniel/archive/real-life-lessons-in-the-liberal-arts-empower-alumnas-passion

 

‘Best of Fest’ promotes solutions to pressing conservation issues.

https://www.mcdaniel.edu/information/headlines/news-at-mcdaniel/archive/best-of-fest-promotes-solutions-to-pressing-conservation-issues

 

Jeff Groff ’01 named 2013 Honors alumnus

https://www.mcdaniel.edu/information/headlines/news-at-mcdaniel/archive/jeff-groff-named-2013-honors-alumnus

Picture of a happy graduate at commencement.  departments

Honors Alumni

What do honors students do after they graduate? Here’s a sampling:

  • Assistant Professor of Development Biology in the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Maryland, College Park
  • Pursuing a Juris Doctorate at American University
  • Curator at the Lutz Children's Museum in Manchester, CT
  • Investigative Specialist with the FBI pursuing a graduate degree focused on furthering a career in the United States Intelligence Community
  • Pursuing a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at the University of Florida
  • Ed .M. Candidate, Higher Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Associate Research Scientist at Yale
  • Teen and Children's Services Librarian for the County of Los Angeles Public Library
  • Assistant Professor at Duke University in the Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology and an Investigator in the Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy
  • Professional Ballroom, Latin, and Swing Dancer
  • Breast Surgeon at St. Peter's University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ
  • In the 3rd year of a pediatric Endocrinology fellowship at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City
  • Stage Managing (and occasionally acting) at the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre in Lancaster, PA
  • Coordinator for Wellness Communications at the University of Maryland in the Division of Student Affairs
  • Working as an assistant teacher at an orphanage in Guatemala
  • Attending the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts to pursue an MFA
  • Research assistant with Baltimore law firm
  • Study in Morocco on a State Department Critical Languages Scholarship
  • Primary school teacher in Accra, Ghana
  • Software engineer for a defense contractor
  • Research assistant at a virology lab at Fort Detrick
  • Folklife intern at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum with plans to pursue a graduate degree and career in Museum Studies

FAQ's

How do you get in to the Honors Program?

Prospective students in the top 10% of the applicant pool are invited to apply to the Honors Program based on a combination of their core high school GPA, writing samples, honors classes, AP classes, class ranks, and any other areas of significant achievement. Any student may request that his or her application be reviewed for consideration for an invitation to apply to the Honors Program. Students entering in fall of 2015 had an average GPA of 3.96. Students in the Honors Program typically have submitted applications that demonstrate their intellectual curiosity, intrinsic motivation to learn, and their potential as leaders in the McDaniel community.

Students who demonstrate academic promise in their first semester at McDaniel are encouraged to apply for admittance to the Honors Program at the start of their sophomore year. In the spring of their first year, interested students must submit an application, a letter of recommendation from a faculty member, and meet with the director. 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 have the same requirements to fill as honors students selected during the admissions process.

Transfer students are invited into the program on an individual basis.

 

What are the requirements for students in the Honors Program?

  • Overall GPA of 3.5 or better
  • Demonstrate intellectual and moral character befitting a member of the Honors Program
  • HON 1200 Honors A to Z (2 credits; fall of 1st year)
  • HON 2201 Great Works (4 credits; spring of 1st year)
  • HON 2265 Honors Applied (2 credits; fall or spring of 2nd year)
  • HON 3200 Journal Club (2 credits, fall or spring of 3rd year)
  • Three honors modules, selecting from among the following:
    • Honors electives (4 credit courses that also fulfill general education requirements; may sometimes fulfill a major or minor requirement as well; must meet one or more of the four student learning outcomes)
    • Honors-enriched experiences (maximum of 2 allowed; may range from 1-4 credits; at least one should be in the major field of study)
    • Study abroad (each semester abroad counts as one honors module)
  • HON 4491 Senior Honors 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)
Mable Buchanan
Honors students win awards

Honors Program students won three prizes and a standing ovation with History professor and program director Bryn Upton at the Maryland Collegiate Honors Conference March 3-4, 2017. Madelyn Jackstadt earned a prize for best poster, while Mable Buchanan and Christina DeJoseph won prizes for best abstracts.

Buchanan, a junior English major from Westminster, Md., closed her presentation, “Rue Morgue Gone Rogue: Poe, an Information Revolution, and the Real Life American Sensation Tale,” with a rap she composed. She brought the house down and earned a standing ovation.

“Fortunately, I had an Edgar Allan Poe rap prepared already because writing silly raps is a hobby of mine and because it focuses on him from a biographical perspective,” she says. “I just saved my expository background information for the end. I know it’s not a very traditional thing to do but I’m very glad I did it.”

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