Mar 04, 2024  
2014-2015 Undergraduate Bulletin 
2014-2015 Undergraduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Honors College

David R. Davies, Dean

The first Honors classes were taught at the university in 1965. In 1971, the program was named in honor of George R. Olliphant, and in 1976 the Honors College was established.

The College provides a stimulating education for high-ability students from all of the university’s academic disciplines, rewarding and recognizing excellence through scholarship and other awards, and preparing undergraduates for entry to the most prestigious national and international graduate schools. From their freshman year, students are taught in small classes by experienced professors and are introduced to the practical applications of knowledge as well as to its theoretical bases. In their junior and senior years, Honors College students focus on research projects, working closely with their professors, and are strongly encouraged to participate in study-abroad programs in order to widen their cultural horizons and experience environments outside the United States.

The curriculum of the Honors College consists of two phases: General Honors (for freshmen and sophomores) and Senior Honors (for juniors and seniors). To enter the College as freshmen, students compete with other applicants on the basis of high school grades, scores on the American College Test (or the Scholastic Aptitude Test), a sample of written work, résumé and letter of recommendation. Students may also be asked to come to the campus for a personal interview. Senior Honors is described on the following pages.

The following is a brief description of the Honors College requirements and curriculum. For more specific details, students and advisers are urged to consult the Honors College Handbook, available on the Web at

General Honors

Freshmen admitted to General Honors complete the curriculum listed below. In satisfying the General Honors requirements, students also fulfill the University General Education requirements. For most students, completion of General Honors will also fulfill the core requirements of their major. Some students, however, may have to take additional core courses required specifically for their major. Students undertaking General Honors are required to complete at least 20 hours in Honors sections, taking a maximum of seven hours of Honors course work each semester. Students are in good standing as long as they remain on track and maintain a minimum 3.25 overall average.

Honors College General Education Requirements

I. Writing and Oral Communication (9 hours)  
  ENG 101 , ENG 102   6
  Required: 6 hours, preferably in Honors sections  
II. Global History and Culture (14 hours)  
  Humanities 9
    Required: 9 hours from the Humanities list in the General Education Curriculum , preferably in Honors sections  
  University Forum  
    HON 321 , HON 322   2
    Required: 2 hours in first year  
  Social Science 3
    Required: 3 hours from the Social Science list in the General Education Curriculum , preferably in an Honors section  
III. Aesthetic Values (3 hours)  
  Required: 3 hours 3
  Required from the Aesthetic Values list in the General Education Curriculum , preferably in an Honors section  
IV. Basic Science and Mathematics (11 hours)  
  Laboratory Sciences 8
  Required: 8 hours from list of laboratory sciences in the General Education Curriculum , preferably in Honors sections  
  Mathematics 3
  Required: 3 hours in MAT 101  or higher-level course, preferably in an Honors section  
V. Decision-Making and Responsibility (3 hours)  
  Required: 3 hours 3
  Required from the Decision Making and Responsibility list in the General Education Curriculum , preferably in an Honors section  

Note: The minimum core is 38 hours, 18 of which must be taken in Honors sections. Honors College students may also have to take additional core courses required specifically for their major. In addition, each student must take two writing-intensive courses, normally in the major or minor field. Such courses are designated in the annual Class Schedule Guide with the course suffix WI.

Honors College General Honors Requirements

  1. Completion of Honors College General Education minimum requirements
  2. Completion of a minimum of 18 of the General Education hours in Honors sections
  3. Overall minimal GPA of 3.25
  4. Completion of two hours of University Forum

Senior Honors

To enter Senior Honors, the student must either complete General Honors with a minimum GPA of 3.25 or meet the following admission requirements: (1) a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 on at least 40 hours, (2) a recommendation from one professor, (3) résumé/list of honors and activities, (4) sample of written work and (5) transcript. Students must maintain an overall GPA of 3.25 to remain in Senior Honors. Students completing Senior Honors with the required cumulative GPA will receive the special recognition denoted by the Latin designations summa cum laude (3.8 or higher), magna cum laude (3.50-3.79) or cum laude (3.25-3.49). Students will typically apply for Senior Honors during their sophomore year and, if admitted, enroll in HON 300 - Research Forum  in the junior year. The Senior Honors curriculum offers students opportunities for independent study in their major, for study abroad and for research stipends.

Senior Honors Curriculum

The Seniors Honors curriculum is designed to enhance students’ research skills through completion of a Senior Honors project. Working closely with an experienced professor, students learn to design a research study, collect information, analyze data and present clear reports in oral and written form. In addition, during their junior and senior years, students are strongly encouraged to participate in at least one study-abroad program in order to deepen their knowledge of cultures and environments outside the United States. Students are also required to complete a senior capstone course in their major field of study.

Honors College Senior Honors Requirements

HON 300 - Research Forum   1
HON 301 - Prospectus Writing   3
Senior Thesis (the 492H course in the department of the student’s major)* 3
Comprehensive Examination in the Major  
Senior Capstone Experience  

*The senior project must be done in the area of the student’s major unless specific prior approval is given by the dean of the Honors College for a project in the area of the minor. Students register in their major 492H.

Requirements for Graduation with Senior Honors

  1. Successful completion of seven hours in Senior Honors courses, specifically HON 300 HON 301  and 492H in the student’s major department
  2. Successful completion of comprehensive examination
  3. Overall GPA of 3.25 or better at graduation

Senior Honors Research

The Senior Honors project involves two phases – the prospectus and the project itself. The prospectus must normally be delivered one year prior to graduation; guidelines for the prospectus are available in the Senior Honors To-Do List located on the Web at The project should reflect significant individual effort that involves library research, laboratory research or field research, and must conform to accepted scholarly procedure within the discipline of the major field. It may be creative, but a creative project must be executed within the framework of accepted scholarly procedure (that is, a student who produces a creative effort must introduce that effort by adequate discussion of the nature of the creative form involved, including an indication of familiarity with other examples of that form). Any doubts as to the validity of a proposed project should be resolved in discussion among the project director, the chair of the student’s major department and the Honors dean. Directions for the format of the senior project may be found in the Senior Honors To-Do List located on the Web at

The comprehensive examination must be taken no later than four weeks before the student is scheduled to graduate. The examination may be either written or oral, at the option of the major department. The exact nature of the examination is a matter for decision by the department involved, but there are general guidelines:

  1. The examination should be designed so that it can be completed in a maximum of three hours.
  2. The examination should test the candidate’s general knowledge of the field of the major rather than specialized information about some particular aspect of the major.
  3. The examination should be uniform for all candidates within a particular semester.
  4. It is the responsibility of the student to contact the department chair and request that the comprehensive examination be designed and administered. These arrangements should be made one semester in advance.
  5. A student who does not pass the examination upon the first attempt may repeat it once.

Graduation Recognition

A student may graduate with Senior Honors only or with both General Honors and Senior Honors. Students graduating with Senior Honors, or with both General Honors and Senior Honors, will earn the Latin designation, cum laude (GPA of 3.25-3.49), magna cum laude (GPA of 3.50-3.79) and summa cum laude (GPA of 3.80 or higher).

Financial Assistance

Students enrolled in the Honors College may apply for financial aid through the Office of Financial Aid on the same basis as any other student. Scholarships available only to Honors students are listed below.

  1. Presidential Scholarships: Each year, the Honors College will designate a select group of Honors freshmen as Presidential Scholars. Applicants are expected to have high ACT or SAT scores, superior grades and proven leadership ability. The value of this award is equal to tuition, book support, and room and board for a four-year period. (The recipient will receive university-mandated necessary increments each semester.) Presidential Scholars are required to maintain at least a 3.25 GPA and must complete all Honors College requirements in order to retain their scholarship. The Schilling-Baird Scholarships, O. L. and Marie Sims Scholarship, the Pulley, Pulley and Gough Scholarship, the Lee Cornelius and Vera B. Burns Scholarship, the Drs. William G. and Hannelore Giles Scholarships, the J. Lloyd Milam Scholarship, the Cellular South Scholarship, the Southern Miss Foundation Scholarship, and others are awarded from special endowments made available for Presidential Scholarships.
  2. George R. Olliphant Scholarships: Available to a selected number of deserving students enrolled in the Honors College

The University Forum

The University Forum is a special series of lectures and programs open to all students, faculty and townspeople. Students who attend the forum lectures and designated films, concerts, plays and other activities may receive an hour of credit on a pass/fail basis by enrolling in HON 321  or HON 322  and completing course requirements. This course may be repeated by any Southern Miss student for up to eight hours of credit.