Honors Program at Columbia College

The Columbia College Honors Program allows high-performing students to be part of an elite organization.

Columbia College students will be challenged, inspired and prepared to respond to the issues confronting the next generation of scholars.

Honors courses are consistent with students’ academic abilities, preparation and goals. They provide opportunities for students to discover intellectual curiosities and engage in community service.

Why join the Honors Program at Columbia College?

In addition to taking classes with other high-performing peers, Honors Program members enjoy other benefits.

  • Register before other students, giving you first choice of classes each semester.
  • Opt to live with other members in the Honors Program Living Learning Community.
  • Take an unlimited number of credit hours each semester without paying an overload fee. This could save you money and time on your degree.
  • Count academic credit earned through Education Abroad toward required hours for maintenance of Columbia College scholarships.
  • Enjoy automatic membership in the Honors Student Association. This student club is an official partner of Schiffman Ethics in Society Series, the college’s most prestigious public event.
  • Earn a minor in honors.
  • Be eligible for the Bachelor's with Distinction degree.
  • Enjoy a status that will get you noticed by prospective employers and admissions committees of graduate and professional schools.

Criteria for admission

To be considered for admission to the Columbia College Honors Program, you must meet the following criteria:


  • 3.6 high school GPA or higher
  • 26 ACT or 1200 SAT or 2800 GED or higher

Transfer students

  • 24 transferable credit hours
  • 3.6 GPA or higher

Apply to the Honors Program

To apply to the Columbia College Honors Program, students should:

  1. Apply

    Complete the application for admission

  2. Send transcripts

    Send official high school transcripts, college transcripts (if applicable) and ACT/SAT scores to

    Office of the Registrar
    1001 Rogers St.
    Columbia, MO 65216

Once admitted to Columbia College, you will receive an application for admission to the Honors Program. You will be asked to write a short essay. When we receive your essay, we will notify you of an admission decision within 10 days.


To earn a minor in Honors, you must complete at least 19 credit hours in the Honors Program, including a one-credit-hour community service project for Honors 310.

Required coursework

Required coursework: 7 credit hours total
Course code Course title Credit hours
COLL 133H General Education Foundation Seminar [1] 3
HNRS 310 Honors Service 1
PHIL 330H Ethics [2] 3

1 Required for incoming freshmen only.

2 Special section for Honors students.

Elective coursework

Elective coursework: 12 credit hours total
Course title Credit hours
Honors General Education 0-12
Education Abroad 0-12
Honors Topics 0-12
Honors Option 0-12
Guided Research [3] 3
Schiffman Lecture 3

3 Including Bachelor's with Distinction

Baccalaureate Degree with Distinction

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

Students complete distinction work under the supervision of a faculty member qualified in the field of the project. At major stages of the project, work must be submitted to the Chair of the Academic Honors and Awards Committee. This includes the formal prospectus, complete draft and final project. The committee will approve or provide direction. Credits and grades for distinction work are optional.

To be eligible, a currently enrolled student must:

  • Be a member of the Honors Program
  • Have at least 75 credit hours, with at least 15 at Columbia College
  • Have a 3.5 cumulative GPA

Entry into the program must be at a date that permits two semesters of work on the project. Students do not need to complete Honors Program requirements in order to complete the Distinction Project.