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Academic Honors

Honors Program


The Honors Program is designed to enhance the educational opportunities of academically gifted students who seek to participate in analytical, synthetical, and creative study. The program welcomes students who are eager to accept academic challenges and to become creatively involved in their own pursuit of educational excellence. Honors students explore classical works and contemporary thought across the academic disciplines. Honors students may join the Honors Student Association, which provides highly motivated students opportunities for social interaction, educational trips, campus leadership and program development.


To be eligible students must demonstrate academic achievement meeting at least two of the following minimum standards:

  1. 3.5 high school GPA;
  2. 78th or higher percentile on ACT or SAT;
  3. 3.5 Columbia College GPA.

Students with prior college experience must have 30 semester hours of credit with a minimum GPA of 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale and meet one of the criteria listed above.

Home-schooled or other non-traditionally schooled students are eligible for admission to the Honors Program upon presentation of an ACT, SAT, or GED score at or above 78th percentile and demonstration of scholarship in high school level academic coursework.

Students may petition for admission to the Honors Program if they have completed a minimum of 30 hours of academic credit at Columbia College with a cumulative grade point average of 3.6. Credit transferred from another academic institution may not be used when petitioning to participate in the Honors Program. To petition for admission a student must complete a petition form and write a letter to the Honors Program Director including the reasons for desiring admission and the anticipated benefits to the student. The student must also have two Columbia College faculty members submit letters to the Director supporting the petition. The Director grants admission to the Honors Program.


Once eligible, a minimum 3.25 GPA overall and a 3.0 GPA in Honors courses is required to remain qualified for the Honors Program. No Honors courses may be taken with the pass/fail option. Entering Freshmen who qualify for the Honors Program are strongly encouraged to enroll in HNRS 110 Introduction to Honors and HNRS 111 Introduction to Honors II.

To graduate with Honors, a student must complete at least 21 academic hours in the Honors Program. A one credit hour community service project for Honors 310 must be completed. Students may enroll in a maximum of 9 hours of Honors credits designated for General Education and may be eligible to enroll in a maximum of 3 hours of Honors credits for an Honors distinction project. An eligible Honors student may apply no more than six hours of Honors credits transferred from accredited institutions toward the completion of the Honors Program.

Recommended Honors Plan of Study

HNRS General Education 0-9 hrs
HNRS 110 Introduction to Honors I 1 hr
HNRS 111 Introduction to Honors II 2 hrs
HNRS 233 Honors Topics 3-9 hrs
HNRS 310 Honors Service 1 hr
HNRS 433 Honors Topics 3-9 hrs
HNRS 484 Honors Distinction 1-3 hrs
21 hrs

Recognition of Academic Achievement

Dean's List

The Dean's List is an honor accorded to students who achieve academic distinction. Students may be named to the Dean's List if

  1. they complete at least 12 semester hours of Columbia College credit in a given semester with a GPA of 3.5 or higher; or
  2. they complete a minimum of 6 semester hours during each of two consecutive evening sessions with a GPA of 3.5 or higher.

A grade given to replace an Incomplete cannot be applied to Dean's List requirements. ESOL 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, ENGL 107, MATH 104 or MATH 106 do not count towards Dean¡s List eligibility.

Courses elected by students as pass/fail or satisfactory/unsatisfactory are not included in the minimum requirement of at least 12 semester hours (Day) or the minimum of six semester hours (Evening).

Awards Convocation

In the spring of each year, an Honors and Awards Convocation is held, a special occasion recognizing those students who have made exceptional contributions to Columbia College through outstanding scholarship and/or leadership. Students who have completed at least 15 semester hours at Columbia College with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher are eligible for these awards. Recipients of these awards are generally chosen from this pool.

Graduation Honors

Columbia College confers baccalaureate degrees with the following honors designations:

GPA Designation
3.9 and above summa cum laude
3.75 to 3.89 magna cum laude
3.5 to 3.74 cum laude

To receive a degree with these honors, students must have completed 60 hours of credit at Columbia College.

Dean's Academic Achievement Award

Students who graduate with at least 39 Columbia College hours and earn at least a 3.5 cumulative G.P.A. may be eligible for the Dean's Academic Achievement Award upon graduation. Students must meet the following criteria:

  1. Hold an Associate in Art or Associate in Science from a community college with an articulation agreement with Columbia College.
  2. Complete a bachelors degree at the ESD site of articulation.
  3. Earn a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.5 or higher.
  4. Complete 39 hours in residency with Columbia College.

Students seeking a second baccalaureate degree to whom a Dean's Academic Achievement Award was granted with a prior degree must complete an additional 39 hours in residency with at least a 3.5 cumulative G.P.A. to be granted a second Dean's Academic Achievement Award.

Students eligible for Latin Honors are ineligible for the Dean's Academic Achievement Award.

Baccalaureate Degrees with Distinction

The Bachelor's Degree with Distinction is available for any degree program offered by Columbia College and requires a demonstration of excellence in a special two-semester project (excluding summer session) in addition to satisfying degree requirements.

Distinction work is done under the direct supervision of a faculty member qualified in the field of the project. At all major stages of the project (formal prospectus, complete draft or evidence of significant and substantive progress, and final project), work must be submitted by designated deadlines to the Chair of the Academic Honors and Awards Committee for approval or direction. Credits and grades for distinction work are optional.

To be eligible, a student must have second-semester junior standing (with at least 15 semester hours at Columbia College) and a 3.5 cumulative GPA. Eligibility is based on the assumption that a student may be eligible after five semesters. Entry into the program must be at a date that permits two semesters of work on the project.

The Presidential Award

Each Commencement, special recognition is given to students earning a 4.0 grade point average who have completed the entire course of study for the bachelor's degree at Columbia College.

The President's Honorarium for Academic Excellence (Overload Fee Waiver)

Columbia College students who have earned 30 institutional semester hours may take an overload to a total of 21 semester hours without additional cost if their cumulative grade-point average is at least 3.75.

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