Curriculum Effective Fall 2015

In order to complete the Honors Program at UW-River Falls, students who have been accepted into the program will take two Honors-specific classes and demonstrate knowledge in five core competencies:

HON 190: Honors Seminar

All Honors students enroll in HON 190 early in their UWRF career, preferably the first semester in the program.  Taught by instructors from several departments, this one-credit seminar is the foundational class that explores why each of the five Honors competencies is important and then helps students create a personalized Honors Program plan.  We want students to earn as many of their Honors credits as possible as they take classes required for graduation, so nearly all of the Honors credits will count toward degree completion.  

Global Engagement/Awareness

All UWRF students must complete a "Global Perspectives" (GP) class in order to graduate, so this class will count in this competency.  The rest of this requirement may be earned in a variety of ways:  by completing a second GP class, taking a 200-level or above Modern Language class (i.e. Spanish, French, German, Chinese, or Japanese), participating in a credit-bearing study abroad experience,or by completing a "portfolio project."

Communication/Rhetorical Skills

All Honors students must have strong reading, writing, and thinking skills; therefore, Honors students will take an Honors- or discipline-specific section of ENGL 200 (a General Education requirement) or will take a class that introduces students to their discipline's language (i.e. BIOL 160:  General Biology-Freshman Research Focus, CSD 160: Introduction to Communication Sciences and Disorders, ENGL 253: Introduction to Literary Studies, PSYC 216: Research Methods, etc.).  Students will be provided with a detailed list of the Communication/Rhetoric classes when they craft their Honors Program plan in HON 190.

Community Engagement

Being active in the community-whether that is the campus community, your home community, the national community, or the global community-offers a variety of benefits to students; therefore, if students plan on graduating from the Honors Program, they must complete at least 135 volunteer hours prior to graduation.  These 135 hours may be split across all four years or done in a shorter amount of time and may be done throughout the year, including over the summer, Spring Break, or J-Term.


Sustainability is the study of three key areas: economic, social, and environmental justice.  Since part of our mission at UWRF is to prepare ethical and engaged students, all Honors students will take courses that explore two of the three "pillars of Sustainability" named above.  Students will work with their instructor for HON 190 to choose classes in this requirement that also count in their major/minor and/or in their University/General Education requirements-courses from nearly all majors are available to meet this requirement.

Undergraduate Research, Scholarly, and Creative Activity (URSCA)

Another part of our mission at UWRF is to introduce students to the benefits of being involved in research and scholarly activities; therefore, to meet this requirement, students will complete an undergraduate research, scholarly, or creative activity in an upper-level class in their major and/or minor.  The class in which the URSCA activity takes place meets this requirement.

HON 497: Honors Capstone Seminar

To complete the Honors Program, all Honors students must take HON 497, a class where Honors students meet once per week for 50 minutes to listen and respond to URSCA presentations by their peers in the Honors Program.  This class will be taken near the end of their program or immediately after their URSCA project has been completed. 

Please Note...

1)  Nearly all of the classes taken in these competencies will also count in students' major/minor, General Education, and/or University requirements.  The credits students need to take to complete the Honors Program outside of graduation requirements are kept to a minimum so that students are not taking "extra" classes to complete the program.  

2)  In order for students to graduate with the Honors Program on their transcript, they must have at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA by graduation.

3)  Students may NOT double-count courses between the different Honors Program competencies.  For example, ESM 251 cannot count as both Communication/Rhetorical Skills and Sustainability.

4)  The Honors Program Office audits students' progress bi-annually.  If students are not making progress toward completing the Honors Program and maintaining a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher, they will be removed from the program.  As noted in #2 above, students must have at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA by graduation as a program requirement.

5)  More detailed information can be found in The UWRF Honors Program: Student's Guide.

Curriculum Prior to Fall 2015

The UWRF Honors Program consists of 18 Honors credits, all of which are possible to accumulate within the 120 minimum credits necessary to graduate.

Requirements for completing the Honors Program include at least 18 Honors credits and no history of academic dishonesty. Course requirements include at least one credit of HON 181 and one credit of HON 498.  General Education, Honors Program seminars and courses will meet General Education or Liberal Arts requirements whenever applicable. Sections of General Education courses may be made available on a rotational basis to Honors Program students and often include: CHEM 230 and CHEM 231, ENGL 100, 200, and 241, and PHYS 117.

Students must maintain a 3.3 cumulative grade point average and complete at least two Honors credits per academic year to remain in the program.  Students that have completed or are completing the Honors Program requirements are not required to take Honors credits above and beyond to remain active in the program, however still must maintain a 3.3 CGPA.  Students that are unable to take two Honors credits in an academic year due to special circumstances should contact the Honors Program Director. 

Please note that the Honors Program curriculum may be changing as of Fall 2015.  More details to come.  Please contact the Falcon Scholars & Honors Program Office with any questions during this time of transition, or 715-425-3304. 

Contracted Credits (variable credits)

Any Honors Program students enrolled in a non-honors course at the 200-level or above may contract with the instructor to earn honors credit(s) for different work (i.e. in greater depth). These credits will be recorded as honors credits. A required form is available in the Honors Program Office to gain contracted credit and also online (consult the "Forms" page).

Honors Thesis/Project (1-6 credit hours)

Required of all participants during junior or senior year. To enroll in HON 498, students must submit a proposal to the Honors Program Director outlining a project connected to the student's major and/or minor. The type of project will be dependent on the discipline being explored, but all projects must be approved by the Honors Director prior to the end of the "drop/add period" of the semester. Each project will be evaluated and approved by the Honors Director. Projects may be graded pass/fail at the student's request. Projects undertaken for departmental senior seminars may be accepted as honors theses/projects at the discretion of the department and the Honors Director. Forms can be obtained either from the office or online (consult the "Forms" page). 

Service Learning Component (1-6 credit hours)

Service learning in this context means unpaid volunteer work that will benefit the community and provide a significant learning experience. Service learning is based on the rationale that learning occurs through reflection on the service. One credit equals 45 hours of service learning. Service learning hours must be documented as to the amount of time contributed and the learning component completed. Participants must submit a proposal for service learning project(s) to the Honors Director for their approval prior to the service learning activity. These proposals will describe the service learning activity, outline its connection to the student's course work, and include the signature of the student's proposed field supervisor. Service learning hours may be planned and carried out individually, through the UWRF Collegiate Honors Society, or with another organization. Honors Program students are encouraged to arrange service learning activities through other organizations they belong to in order to stimulate participation by other university community members. Service Learning is graded on a pass/fail basis.  Forms can be obtained either from the office or online (consult the "Forms" page).

Events (0-2 credit hours)*

This component is meant to encourage Honors Program participants to engage in the intellectual and creative life of the UW-River Falls community and elsewhere. Approved events will include attendance or participation in professional meetings, lectures, concerts, plays, and art exhibits. Participants must submit an event proposal to the Director prior to the events describing the events to be attended and, wherever possible, drawing connections between them and the participant's course of study. Five events (12 hours minimum) equal one credit. Participants must provide a portfolio of short reaction papers to each event and appropriate evidence of participation in order to earn credit. Events are graded on a pass/fail basis.  Forms can be obtained either from the office or online (consult the "Forms" page).
*No longer available starting Fall 2015.

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Honors Program


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