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Patricia & Douglas Perry Honors CollegeHonors Courses

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What are Honors courses?

Honors College courses are offered in a small class setting with some of the best faculty members on campus who emphasize innovation and individualized instruction. These courses are not designed to be more difficult or time-consuming but to deepen and refine the undergraduate experience.


Types of Honors Courses


The Honors College offers a number of courses to supplement offerings provided in our students' majors. Students use theses course to develop robust academic portfolios; departments use these courses (such as the HNRS Thesis) to enhance their offerings for accomplished students.

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You might take Honors College courses like...


community-health

Social Entrepreneurship

(HNRS 401/501)

Investigate how community-based organizations use appropriate management practices and embrace innovation in fulfulling their social missions.*

Stem Cell Research & Translational Medicine Student in Lab

EVMS/Honors College Apprenticeship in Academic Medical Research

(HNRS 226)

Develop skills in research and information literacy through active involvement in ongoing research programs under the supervision of a faculty mentor at Eastern Virginia Medical School.*

ODU Student Branded Web Images

Peer Education & Leadership

(HNRS 200)

This course prepares students for work as peer mentors and tutors. Skills in information literacy and research are developed as they learn how to create and implement individualized student success/academic plans.


* Tuition scholarships are available for Honors College students interested in these courses.

Honors general education courses are designed to enrich the educational experience for students while meeting the general requirements, goals, and competencies associated with their "regular" general education counterparts. Honors general education courses typically incorporate lively discussion, undergraduate research, community engagement and study away opportunities.

You might take General Education Honors courses like...


Norfolk Tidal Flooding

Crisis Communication & Climate Change

(Honors Tech Writing)

Investigate the crisis communication that surrounds climate change and its impact on Hampton Roads.

Faculty Researcher Featured by BBC

Philosophy, Identity & Film

(Honors Philosophy)

Examine some of the most influential Western and non-Western philosophical accounts of personal identity and how these accounts come alive through film.

Entrepreneurship and Creativity

Entrepreneurship & Creativity

(Honors Literature)

Learn to connect poetry, drama, and prose with the development of social structures, cultural forms and trends, and existing business and technological needs and possibilities.

Disruptive Technologies and Healthcare

Disruptive Technologies in Health Care

(Honors Information Literacy)

Solve real-world problems and study the role of computers as a disruptive technology in medicine and health care and their direct or indirect impact in health care costs.


Based on your academic and career goals, work with faculty to develop an honors project for any 300 or 400-level courses


Contract courses give students a unique opportunity to work collaboratively with a faculty member to facilitate their learning in a manner that allows them to delve deeper into material that is not covered extensively in class. The student is fully expected to go beyond the basic requirements of the class, but honors contract courses are not meant simply to increase the student's workload. If it is appropriate to do so, some faculty offer the student the option of completing an agreed upon project in lieu of another requirement for the class.

Any student with a minimum GPA of 3.25 may petition a professor to designate an upper division course as "honors" for that student. Students must earn at least a B to receive honors designation for the course.

Past honors contract courses have provided students with several exciting opportunities, and our alumni have reported that their honors contract courses and the projects associated with them have given them an edge with future employers and graduate school admissions.

Contract Honors Course Examples


  • One of our marketing majors created an advertising campaign for a local store for one of her contract courses.
  • Another student co-facilitated a two-week leadership workshop for Navy managers, assisting with the administrative tasks of delivering the workshop as well as the development and presentation of the workshop materials.
  • Students have also worked in faculty laboratories, and others have developed and practiced marketable skills and products (such as videos, websites, or a portfolio of work to share with a possible employer).

Procedure for Designing a Contract Honors Course

The student obtains an Application for Honors Course Designation. Applications are also available from the Perry Honor College office in the Student Success Center, Room 2000A.

  1. The student, in conjunction with the professor, will develop the honors components for the course. The application form and the letter to faculty provide information regarding the development of appropriate honors activities.
  2. The student and instructor complete and sign the Application for Honors Course Designation.
  3. The students submits the completed application to the Honors College office by the end of the third week of classes.
  4. Following the course's final exam, the instructor notifies the Perry Honors College office, via perryhonorscollege@odu.edu, of the student's grade and successful completion of the honors component for the class.
  5. The Office of the Registrar will then assign the prefix of "Honors" to the title of the course on the transcript thirty days after the end of the semester.

Undergraduate students may earn the designation of departmental honors on their diplomas. Minimum University standards for departmental honors are: Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25; Minimum GPA in the major of 3.50; Completion of at least two courses designated by the department to be honors. These courses will usually be "Contract Honors Courses." Completion of at least 60 credit hours at Old Dominion University, 54 of which must be in grade-point graded courses.

Individual departments may set other eligibility standards in addition to the University standards. Interested students should contact the Perry Honors College for more information.


Departmental Honors Program in Nursing

The Old Dominion School of Nursing offers departmental honors to highly motivated and qualified students. The Honors curriculum in the School of Nursing reflects the school's commitment to scholarship, leadership, clinical practice and community service.

Learn more about the School of Nursing's Prelicensure Undergraduate Honors Program  

Departmental Honors Program in Biology

A. Honors Research in Biology

Honors Research Undergraduates with junior or senior standing and a GPA of 3.00 or better are eligible to participate in Honors Research. After consultation with the program director, Dr. Deborah A. Waller, students select a professor who agrees to oversee the research project. Students then enroll in two 4- credit courses, BIOL 487 and BIOL 488W. The courses may be taken in any sequence: fall-spring, spring-summer, summer-summer, summer-fall. Normally both semesters are required but a student may receive credit for only one semester. The research project, time commitment by the student and the basis for the grade are mutually determined by the student and professor. Because first-semester research results are often preliminary, the grade for BIOL 487 is based on a review paper and/or research proposal, which provides the student with an overview of the field. The second semester is graded on the final research paper and a seminar presented to the honors committee and interested faculty. Professors should encourage students to publish results and present papers at scientific meetings when appropriate. Students should also be urged to apply for funds from agencies that provide seed money to undergraduates. The program director can provide information on scientific societies that sponsor meetings and/or offer small grants. Successful completion of both courses with a C (2.0) or better will allow the student to use BIOL 488W as a lab course in meeting his/her requirements. 5 Biological Sciences


B. Bachelor's Degree with Honors in Biological Sciences and Honors Designation for Biology courses

Students maintaining an overall GPA of at least 3.25 and of 3.50 in biology can receive a Bachelor's Degree with Honors in Biological Sciences subject to satisfaction of the minimum University standards for the Honors degree and completion of one of the following two options:

  • Option 1: Successful completion of two semesters of biological research taken as BIOL 487 / BIOL 488W (Honors Research)
  • Option 2: Successful completion of three upper-division courses in Biological Sciences and achievement of the "Honors" designation in each.

Students petitioning for designation of an upper-division biology course as "Honors" must have a minimum overall GPA of 3.25 and a GPA of at least 3.50 in biology. To receive the "Honors" designation for a course, students must achieve a final course score of at least 95% or the equivalent of an "A" on the University grade scale. Faculty are encouraged to assign and work with students on other activities deemed appropriate for an "Honors" course designation and utilize the results of these activities in the assignment of a course grade.

Departmental Honors Program in Psychology

The Departmental Honors Program in Psychology affords the opportunity for qualified students to engage in supervised independent study in areas of their interest. The student designs and carries out an individual research project under the supervision of a faculty sponsor and the Honors Program Committee, culminating in a thesis written APA style and a defense of the thesis before the Honors Program Committee. Students attend a research seminar in which research proposals and final papers are presented orally.

Eligibility for the Honors Program in Psychology includes:

  • Completion of PSYC 317, 318W, and 497;
  • at least 23 hours earned in Psychology;
  • a 3.50 GPA in the psychology major (with no grades of "Incomplete");
  • and a 3.25 cumulative GPA.

Detailed guidelines regarding admission to the Honors Program are available in MGB 246.

Departmental Honors Program in Computer Science

Undergraduate computer science majors maintaining an overall GPA of at least 3.25 and of 3.50 in the major have the opportunity to participate in the Honors Program in Computer Science (program coordinator: Dr. Jing He). Students who complete the program and also meet the University's standards for graduation with honors (see description in this Catalog) may earn the designation of departmental honors on their diplomas. Students must complete one of three options.

A. Departmental Honors in Computer Science

Students maintaining an overall GPA of at least 3.25 and of 3.50 in computer science can receive a "Bachelor's Degree with Honors in Computer Science" subject to satisfaction of the minimum University standards for the departmental honors and completion of one of the following three options:

  1. Successful completion of two semesters of honors research taken as either CS 491 and CS 492 or CS 491 and CS 499W.
  2. Successful completion of four upper-division courses in Computer Science as "Contract Honors Courses" and achievement of the "Honors" designation in each.
  3. Successful completion of one semester of honors research taken as CS 491 and two "Contract Honors Courses" in Computer Science and achievement of the Contract Honors designation in each.

Note: Completion of at least 60 credit hours at Old Dominion University, 54 of which must be in grade-point graded courses, is also required. Candidates who have used grade forgiveness or adjusted resident credit should be aware that the enhanced grade point average determined by use of these procedures does not determine eligibility for departmental honors. To determine eligibility for departmental honors, the student's complete record, including grades and hours for courses that have been forgiven or adjusted, will be evaluated to calculate the final grade point average.

B. Honors Research Scholars

Undergraduates with junior or senior standing and a minimum of 3.0 GPA (or with approval by Honors Program Coordinator) are eligible to participate in Honors Research. After consultation with the Honors Program Coordinator, students select a faculty member who agrees to oversee the research project. The research project, time commitment, and the basis for grading are mutually determined by the student and the mentor. An outline is to be submitted and approved by the Honors Program Coordinator before registration of the course. Students are expected to perform mentored research. Faculty mentors encourage students to present/publish results at scientific conferences or journals. Students are encouraged to apply for funds to support undergraduate research. The following honors research courses are provided:

Code Title Hours
CS 491 Honors Research I in Computer Science 3
CS 492 Honors Research II in Computer Science 3
CS 499W Honors Thesis in Computer Science 3

C. Contract Honors Designation for Upper-Division Computer Science courses

Students with a grade point average of at least 3.25 may convert any upper-division computer science course into an Honors course on an individual basis. No grade below B is accepted for Honors designation. An Honors designation of a course requires successful completion of honors-level tasks to be agreed upon by the student and the instructor. Students who plan to apply for the honors designation of a course are required to communicate with the instructor before registration. Students are required to submit an outline of honors work to Honors Program Coordinator and obtain an approval before the start of the semester in which the course is taken.


Other Departments

Undergraduate students may earn the designation of departmental honors on their diplomas. Minimum University standards for departmental honors are:

  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25;
  • Minimum GPA in the major of 3.50;
  • Completion of at least two courses designated by the department to be honors. These courses will usually be "Contract Honors Courses."
  • Completion of at least 60 credit hours at Old Dominion University, 54 of which must be in grade-point graded courses.

Individual departments may set other eligibility standards in addition to the University standards. Interested students should contact the Chief Departmental Advisor for their respective major or the Perry Honors College for more information.






Interested in undergraduate research?

Register for the Undergraduate Research Honors Scholar program

Students who register for the Undergraduate Research Honors Scholar (URHS) program will recieve notifications about undergraduate research funding, information about research opportunities, and other research-related resources at ODU.

Undergraduate Research Honors Scholar