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The French philosopher Pascal once said that most of the ills of the world could be traced to people being unable to sit in a room and think. The Honors Program at Loyola University Maryland attempts to teach students how to think. Because it is committed to liberal arts learning in the Jesuit tradition, the program places special emphasis on ideas and their expression. Students in Honors engage in a dialogue with great thinkers, writers, and artists—ancient and modern—in order to understand how ideas have shaped and continue to shape the world in which we live.
Honors brings together students and faculty who seek not only academic achievement but also intellectual challenge and growth.
The program focuses on the whole person, helping and challenging students as they work to refine and deepen their ability to think critically, to discern the true and the good, to respond to the beautiful, and to explore the intersection of faith and reason.
It offers students who are serious about their intellectual growth a series of classes and activities designed to lay the groundwork for responsible and informed choice in later life.
Students in the Honors Program come from all divisions and departments of the University, and the Honors Program is as well suited to students majoring in the sciences, social sciences, business, or education as it is to those in the humanities. Honors students are distinguished by their superior academic records and by their desire to participate in the program’s distinctive curriculum and activities. The Honors Program curriculum offers students a fully integrated program of study that is both multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary. It accomplishes the goals of the regular University core curriculum, but through an alternate path, and is designed to be flexible enough to accommodate the requirements of all majors across the University.
Though Honors courses are rigorous and challenging, professors endeavor to foster an atmosphere of mutual support and collegiality, rather than of rivalry or competition. Honors students speak often of the real sense of community that develops among them, and many lasting friendships have grown out of the program. At the same time, Honors students are by no means isolated from the larger University community. Because they often are among the most talented and engaged students on campus, Honors students tend to excel both in the program and in a whole range of extra-curricular campus activities.
The Honors faculty includes many of the University’s finest professors—teachers and scholars who are selected for their love of learning and their ability to communicate that love to students. They take a deep personal interest in their students and are readily available outside of the classroom for individual consultation and guidance.
Honors classes are small, and combine lectures with discussion and student presentations. Courses in all disciplines emphasize effective speaking and writing. Students generally find their work in Honors classes especially interesting and stimulating. The format and size of seminars allow for greater student participation, individual attention, flexibility, and independence than is possible in more traditional lecture courses.
The Honors core curriculum replaces the regular core curriculum, but like the regular core, it consists of a minimum of 17 courses. At the heart of the program is a four-course sequence known as the Human Drama which takes students from the ancient to the modern world in the freshman and sophomore years. These courses, taught by faculty from across the University, are inter-disciplinary and involve faculty collaboration so that students are exposed to a wide range of disciplines and approaches to the course material. The first two courses in the Human Drama sequence (HN 201 and 202) are integrated into Messina, Loyola's innovative first-year seminar program.
- HN 201 The Human Drama: The Ancient World (Messina seminar in "Self and Other" cluster)
Taken first semester of first year.
- HN 202 The Human Drama: Medieval to Renaissance (Messina seminar in "Self and Other" cluster)
Taken the second semester of first year.
- HN 203 The Human Drama: Renaissance to Modern
Taken the first semester of sophomore year.
- HN 204 The Human Drama: The Modern World
Taken the second semester of sophomore year.
- HN 210 Eloquentia Perfecta
This course develops students’ abilities in analytical thinking, writing, and speaking. Taken the first semester of first year, it fulfills the composition requirement in the core curriculum.
- Core Humanities
Honors students take four upper-level courses, one each in English, History, Philosophy, and Theology. Each semester these departments offer a variety of these courses, and Honors students choose the particular area they would like to study.
- Social Sciences
Honors students take two social science courses, at least one of which is an Honors-level social science seminar.
- Math/Science (3 courses)
a.) Honors students satisfy their Math requirement through one of the following courses: MA 251: Calculus I or ST 210: Introduction to Statistics or ST 265: Biostatistics.
b.) Science/math majors fulfill their two other math/science requirements through their major.
c.) Non-science majors take HN 215, Engaging Nature, an introductory science course that emphasizes close observation of the natural world, problem solving, and hypothesis development. It is designed to introduce students to science as a "way of knowing" and to the nature of scientific research and debate. For the third math/science core, non-Science majors choose from majors-level courses and specially-designed Honors science seminars.
- Foreign Language requirement
Students fulfill their Honors language requirement by taking one course at the 200 level.
- Fine Arts
Honors students take one seminar in one of the Fine Arts areas.
- HN 499 The Examined Life (Honors Capstone Seminar)
This is the Honors capstone course, and it is taken in the senior year. It satisfies the Honors core requirement in ethics, while also allowing students to revisit particular texts and issues with which they have wrestled during their first three years at Loyola.
Honors also enriches its students’ extracurricular experience through an extensive program of cultural events, discussions, social occasions, and excursions both within and beyond the Baltimore-Washington area.
Students in Honors elect representatives to a Student Council, which sponsors a variety of events and acts as the students’ liaison with the Honors director and the administration of the University. Among other responsibilities, the Council oversees use of the Honors student lounge, sends delegates to the national honors conference, and helps to organize field trips, class projects, and symposia.
Admission to Honors requires a separate application, in addition to the application for Loyola University Maryland. The Honors application consists of two parts:
- Online application
- Two essays (The prompts for the essays as well as directions for submitting them are found on the first page of the online application. Please remember to print out the essay prompts and directions before exiting the online application.). Be sure to review the important guidelines to follow when submitting your Honors application essays.
The Honors Program seeks to admit students who demonstrate intellectual curiosity, a desire for academic rigor, and a love of learning for its own sake. In reviewing Honors applications, the Director is interested in candidates who have successfully pursued the most demanding curriculum available at their school and who are eager to undertake the intellectual challenge that the Honors Program offers its students. Admission is extremely selective, and neither acceptance by the University nor a grant of scholarship aid is a guarantee of admission to Honors.
- Early Action deadline for the Honors Program is December 1, with notification sent via U.S. mail by February 1.
- Regular Action deadline for the Honors Program is February 15, with notification sent via U.S. mail by April 1.
Applicants may apply Early Action to Loyola University Maryland and Regular Action to the Honors Program if they so choose. Applicants should note that they can apply for early action to the Honors Program only if they are also applying early action to Loyola University Maryland.
Current Loyola students may apply for admission to Honors up to the close of their first year, but they should be aware that normally very few, if any, spaces are available.
Angela Russell Christman, Ph.D.
Director, Honors Program
Professor, Department of Theology
4501 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21210