Honors College

  • Dean: Kimberly Bell, Ph.D. 
  • Associate Dean: Patrick Lewis, Ph.D.
  • Associate Dean: Tracy Bilsing, Ph.D.
  • Assistant Dean: Justin Williams, Ph.D.
  • Associate Director: Kendall Gragert, M.A.
  • Administrative Coordinator: Connie Rodriguez
    Specialist IV: Ashlee Fuller


Academic Building IV, corner of Avenue I and Bowers Boulevard
Box 2479
1921 Avenue J
Suite 202
Huntsville, TX 77341-2479
Telephone: (936) 294-1477
Fax: (936) 294-1090

Website: http://honors.shsu.edu

Email: Honors College

The Elliott T. Bowers Honors College exists for the benefit of highly motivated and academically talented undergraduate students at Sam Houston State University. The Honors College provides these achievement-oriented students with the following benefits and opportunities:

  • financial support, including scholarships and research funding
  • interaction with other highly motivated students
  • special course offerings, including honors seminars
  • limited-enrollment classes
  • close contact with engaged and highly productive faculty
  • early registration
  • supervised undergraduate research
  • community service and civic engagement
  • access to honors-only facilities (including honors residence halls on campus, honors lounge, honors library study room, and honors computer lab)
  • a variety of cultural and social outings and events—on campus and off—throughout the academic year
  • involvement in the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium and TEDx Conference

Honors students earn honors credit in a variety of specially designated classes or contracted courses and work toward the distinction of graduating “With Honors” or “With Highest Honors.” To qualify for graduation “With Honors,” students must be members in good standing in the Honors College and have completed 24 hours of honors credit, including participation in two interdisciplinary honors seminars. To qualify for graduation “With Highest Honors,” students must, in addition, complete the six-hour honors thesis in an approved discipline under the direction of a faculty member of their choice. Those who graduate "With Honors" or "With Highest Honors" receive an honors cord, stole, and medallion and are announced as honors graduates at commencement.

To be considered for admission to the Honors College, either when first entering SHSU or as a continuing SHSU student, students submit a special application to the Honors College Office.

Incoming freshmen are eligible for consideration if they have achieved one of the following:

  • a composite SAT I score (Critical Reading + Math) of 1270 or above
  • a composite ACT score of 27 or above
  • graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school class
  • 3.5 unweighted high school G.P.A.

Transfer and continuing SHSU students are eligible for consideration if they have achieved a college cumulative GPA of 3.25 or better.

Admission is competitive. Selections are determined by a comprehensive review of each completed application by the honors faculty admissions committee.

Each year, incoming first-time freshmen who have applied and been accepted to the Honors College by January 1 and have earned a composite SAT score of 1320 or composite ACT score of 29 or above are eligible for one of 23 Honors Scholarships (worth up to $40,000 over four years). Moreover, students who have earned a composite SAT score of 1350 or composite ACT score of 30 or higher will be considered for one of two Bowers Scholarships (worth up to $80,000 over four years). Scholarships are highly competitive, and eligible students will be reviewed by a special honors committee and may be invited for interviews. Awards are for fall semesters only.

Honors Seminars are designed to provide unique, broadly integrative, interdisciplinary educational experiences to all Elliott T. Bowers honors students. These courses are highly interactive between professors and students. These and other educational initiatives provide honors students with a rich and challenging interdisciplinary learning environment.

To remain in good standing once accepted to the Honors College, students must maintain a 3.25 grade point average, make steady progress toward completing honors requirements, be honors advised each semester, and attend a minimum of three honors engagement events per year. 

HONR 3321. Honors Seminar in Fine Arts. 3 Hours.

This team-taught class is an investigation into the theories, meanings, purposes, and practical experience of the fine arts, including dance, music, the visual arts, and theater. Students will attend dance and music concerts, theater productions, and art exhibits. Spring semester only. Course Equivalents: HONR 2375 .

HONR 3322. Journeys. 3 Hours.

The Journeys seminar invites approximately ten of the most innovative and successful members of the Sam Houston State University community to give one lecture each. Each speaker has one class period to use however s/he feels is best. Chosen speakers generally detail the paths of their own lives while giving students advice on how to achieve successful and happy lives. Speakers are chosen from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds.
Prerequisite: Admission to the Honors College.

HONR 3331. Culture and Society. 3 Hours.

This course deals with contemporary social, economic, political, and international issues and provides important background information and perspectives on current debates and events. Course content varies.

HONR 3332. Honors Seminar in the Humanities. 3 Hours.

This course is a team-taught, cross-disciplinary concentration on ideas, developments, and subject matter in the humanities.

HONR 3342. The Word. 3 Hours.

This seminar changes topics (or "words") every semester, and several faculty with interests and specialties relevant to the theme from various colleges and departments lead discussions from different points of view. Sample topics include "The End," "Connections," "Sustainability," and "Drugs." All words reflect timely topics and student interests.
Prerequisite: Admission to the Honors College.

HONR 3343. Film and Society. 3 Hours.

This seminar invites students to explore the relationship between film and society from a broad range of perspectives. Several faculty from various colleges and departments choose films and lead discussions. Topics vary.
Prerequisite: Admission to the Honors College.

HONR 3365. Decision Making. 3 Hours.

This course introduces students to the fundamentals of decision making and problem solving. Students will (1) learn fundamental principles, generalizations, or theories of decision making, (2) learn how to apply course material to improve thinking, problem solving, and decisions, (3) gain skills for working as a team in presenting a problem for decisions, (4) understand how to analyze and critically evaluate ideas, arguments, and points of view concerned with decisions. Course Equivalents: HONR 2331 .

HONR 3375. Honors Dialogues Seminar. 3 Hours.

The Dialogues Seminar is an interdisciplinary course which examines selected controversial or provocative topics from various academic and intellectual perspectives. The course is team taught, with faculty from various disciplines engaged with one another and with the studets in interactive discussions of the selected topic for the course.
Prerequisite: Membership in the Honors College.

HONR 4095. Independent Study. 1-4 Hours.

This independent study may be taken for any interdisciplinary topic or project for honors students. Variable credit (1-4).
Prerequisite: Admission to the Honors College.

HONR 4375. Special Topics For Honors. 3 Hours.

This course affords honors students the opportunity to do an honors thesis, a long-term research and writing project under the direct supervision of a faculty member. The course is open to honors students in all disciplines.

HONR 4398. Honors Thesis I. 3 Hours.

In this course, the student works under close faculty supervision on a sustained research project to produce a thesis prospectus.
Prerequisite: Admission to the Honors College.

HONR 4399. Honors Thesis II. 3 Hours.

In this course, the student works under close faculty supervision on a sustained research project to produce an honors thesis.
Prerequisite: Admission to the Honors College.