Jul 13, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Bulletin 
2024-2025 Undergraduate Bulletin

Honors College

Joyce Inman, Interim Dean

The University of Southern Mississippi offered its first Honors classes in 1965.  In 1971, the university established the Honors Program, named in honor of George R. Olliphant, and in 1976, the program became an Honors College.

Today’s Honors College provides a stimulating, supportive community for academically motivated students from any of the University’s academic disciplines.  The Honors College rewards and recognizes excellence, provides opportunities for leadership and professional development, and prepares students for success in graduate/professional schools and the workforce. From their first year, students are taught in small classes by experienced professors and are introduced to the principles of academic inquiry and scholarly investigation. In their junior and senior years, Honors Scholars work closely with faculty mentors to develop original research projects and creative scholarship. Throughout the curriculum, Honors Scholars are strongly encouraged to serve as contributing members of the campus community and to participate in study-abroad programs in order to widen their cultural and intellectual horizons.

The curriculum of the Honors College consists of two phases: Honors Foundations (for freshmen and sophomores) and Honors Keystone (for juniors and seniors).

For more detailed information about the requirements outlined below, please consult the Honors College Student Handbook, available at www.usm.edu/honors.

Honors Foundations

To enter the College as freshmen, students participate in a competitive application process. The typical applicant will have an ACT score of 26 or above and an unweighted high school core GPA of 3.5 or higher. 

In addition to completing the curricular requirements of their major and/or minor, students in Honors Foundations:

  1. Complete a minimum of 16 Honors Hours, to include: HON 321 - Honors Forum , 4 hours over four semesters; HON 111 - Honors Colloquium  and HON 112 - Honors Colloquium , 6 hours, taken in the freshman year; HON 303 - Honors Seminar , 6 hours, taken in the sophomore year.
  2. Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or above to remain in good standing; for information about Honors College probation and suspension policies and academic recovery plans, please consult the Honors College Student Handbook.

Honors Keystone

Students who have completed the Honors Foundations curriculum will automatically advance to Honors Keystone.  Transfer students and Southern Miss students not already in the Honors College may also apply to Honors Keystone. Applicants will have a minimum GPA of 3.4 on at least 45 hours of college credit and will have completed three full-time semesters of college. In order to complete the Keystone curriculum, students should have at least four semesters of coursework remaining. Admission is competitive. For more information, visit www.usm.edu/honors.

Working closely with a faculty advisor, students design and execute an original project of research or creative scholarship.  The curriculum is structured incrementally, with the thesis project typically developing over four semesters. For more information about thesis requirements, please consult the Honors College Student Handbook.  Keystone curriculum requirements are as follows:

  1. HON 300 - Developing the Honors Thesis I  and HON 301 - Developing the Honors Thesis II  (2 hours, taken in the junior year).

  2. Thesis Hours (3 hours, taken as 492H in the student’s major, or in a course equivalent as approved by the Honors College).

  3. Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or above to remain in good standing; for information about Honors College probation and suspension policies and academic recovery plans, please consult the Honors College Student Handbook.

At graduation, all students who successfully complete Honors Keystone will be recognized as Honors College graduates. 

Financial Assistance and Scholarships

All students who are accepted to the Honors College receive a scholarship. All Honors scholarships require completion of the Honors College curriculum. Students who withdraw or are suspended from the College will have their awards rescinded. For more information, visit www.usm.edu/honors. All Honors Scholars must submit a yearly application in the GO system for awards to be disbursed.

Note that students who enroll in the Honors College may also apply for financial aid on the same basis as any other student. Visit the Office of Financial Aid for more information.

The University Forum

The University Forum is a special series of lectures and programs open to all students, faculty, and the community. HON 321 - Honors Forum , a one-credit hour class offered in association with University Forum, is open to all USM students and is repeatable up to eight hours.