701 West Grace Street
P.O. Box 843010
Richmond Virginia 23284-3010
Phone: (804) 828-1803
Fax: (804) 827-1669
honors.vcu.edu

Barry L. Falk, Ph.D.
Dean

Jacqueline Smith-Mason, Ph.D.
Associate dean and director of academic affairs

The Honors College offers highly motivated and high-achieving undergraduates a liberal arts college experience within the context of a large, urban, public research university. The Honors College is appealing to students from all majors who want to transcend disciplinary boundaries, be innovative and address big questions through classroom and, especially, experiential learning. With that in mind, the Honors College prepares students to be skilled communicators, critical thinkers and problems solvers. Further, students have opportunities to develop their understanding of language and culture locally and internationally, while also gaining a sense of social responsibility and a broad understanding of diversity and inclusion in the 21st century.

The center of activities for The Honors College is located at 701 W. Grace St., a living/learning, residential honors community. In this facility, students have meeting rooms, quiet study rooms, computers and recreational areas. This facility is open to honors students day and night for study.

Graduation with University Honors

Academic advisers at VCU help students in The Honors College select classes that will fulfill the requirements for graduation and match students’ interests. In addition, honors students are eligible to take courses designated as “honors.” Some classes are specialized courses for The Honors College. Other honors courses are special sections of regular courses open only to honors students. Class size is limited to 20 students to maximize opportunities for interaction with the instructor and fellow students. All honors courses are noted on the student’s official transcript.

To graduate with the distinction of University Honors, entering freshmen must complete the honors core curriculum (20 credit hours) and an additional four credits of elective honors courses, maintain a minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA and present a dossier documenting how he or she has become a well-educated individual. The honors core curriculum comprises eight courses:

HONR   150Flourishing1
HONR   160Introduction to Community Engagement1
HONR   200Rhetoric3
HONR   250Expository Writing3
PHYS   215Science, Technology and Society3
PHIL   230Reason, Science and the Self3
MATH   230Mathematics in Civilization3
POLI/INTL 365International Political Economy3

Continuing and transfer students entering The Honors College with 12-53 credits (freshmen and sophomores) must complete the following courses: PHYS   215PHIL   230MATH   230 and POLI   365/INTL   365 (honors section) and take 12 additional hours in honors to meet the requirements for graduation with University Honors. Transfer students entering with 54-74 credits from their transfer institution must complete 12 credits in honors course work in order to graduate with University Honors. The dossier will be presented to the dean and the Honors Council in the penultimate semester of the student’s academic work. Details, including deadlines and tips on writing the dossier essay, are available on The Honors College website at honors.vcu.edu.

Academic policies and requirements

  • Students in The Honors College must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 and a 3.2 GPA in honors courses.
  • Honors students should achieve a standard of excellence in general education as well as in their major field.
  • Honors students must satisfy a Diversity of Study requirement by completing a minor, dual degree or second major, or by completing at least two upper-level courses outside their field of specialization.
  • The honors student must complete at least 18 credit hours in courses designated as honors courses. Students entering The Honors College must complete at least 24 credits in courses designated as honors courses.

The GPA minimums and the 24 credits (or 12 credits, as applicable) are nonnegotiable. The central objective of The Honors College is that the students demonstrate good scholarship and sound learning in the best of the university’s tradition.

Special opportunities

The Honors College offers a number of opportunities to its student members. Among these are:

The Honors College Student Executive Board – an organization of Honors College students who help determine the course of The Honors College, as well as host social, service and leadership activities for Honors College students

Honors College internships and independent studies – honors-specific educational programs, often taught in conjunction with academic departments that introduce honors students to opportunities in their fields of interest and within the Richmond community.

The Berglund Seminar Series – weekly discussions on topics pertinent to the wide-ranging interests of honors students. Discussions are led by outstanding guest speakers from the university faculty and administration, and a variety of community leaders.

The Honors College is committed to enriching the students’ academic and personal endeavors. Additional resources and opportunities include

  • An honors undergraduate research program
  • Access to the National Scholarship Office
  • Honors advising
  • Priority registration
  • Special library privileges
  • First-year and upper-class honors housing options
  • Access to first-year and alumni mentorship opportunities
  • Global learning experiences
  • Honors scholarships