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Message From The Directors
The Fairfield University Honors Program offers highly accomplished and motivated students the opportunity to participate in an engaging and enriching course of study where intensive academic classes are connected to meaningful experiential learning.
The Honors Program offers educational opportunities that are intellectually rigorous and based on foundational and advanced work in interdisciplinary thematic areas. Our courses promote social justice, creative and critical thinking, and global awareness, and our students are empowered through resources within the program, as well as the larger Fairfield community.
The Honors curriculum is taught by Fairfield's finest faculty. The program also offers dedicated housing, thoughtful advising, and peer mentorship from advanced Honors students. Honors students also have access to specially designed co-curricular programs and activities, as well as internship and research opportunities with Honors alumni and faculty. These opportunities include a special summer study abroad program in Athens, exclusive registration for honors classes, and more.
Fairfield University’s Honors Program engages talented students from each of University’s undergraduate schools in a rewarding and challenging program of study that offers an integrated series of courses and seminars. Students are encouraged to be active participants in the learning process and to develop and share emerging ideas with their classmates and professors. The program complements both the core curriculum and major fields of study, while still allowing students to pursue minor fields and elective courses.
The Honors Program teaches students to ask the larger questions that transcend any single discipline and to explore connections between disciplines. This enriched learning environment fosters stimulating class discussions and encourages a deeper level of learning that pushes the boundaries of knowledge. The program's advanced course of study culminates in a capstone experience that gives students a unique opportunity to write a thesis or design their own mini seminar.
Under the guidance of the University’s most distinguished professors, the honors curriculum helps students maximize their educational opportunities while encouraging them to pursue their passions and use their talents to make meaningful contributions to society.
Honors students have access to a variety of exclusive benefits and services including, but not limited to:
- Dedicated first-year housing in the University’s Honors Living and Learning Community
- Invitations to special events and co-curricular activities specifically designed for honors students
- A dedicated study suite with state-of-the-art equipment and kitchen
- Innovative classes instructed by Fairfield’s most distinguished faculty
- The opportunity to participate in a special summer study abroad experience in Athens, Greece
Frequently Asked Questions
Fairfield’s Honors Program is designed to engage curious, highly-motivated individuals who wish to expand on Fairfield’s strong and diverse liberal arts education through a sequence of Honors courses, which are both team-taught interdisciplinary explorations and seminars. Regardless of one’s major area of study or school affiliation, a student is tasked in each Honors students read, analyze, and reflect on much broad topics/areas of information and knowledge, with the hope of exploring a series of questions. Critical thinking, communication through speaking in class and writing are paramount for successful completion of each course. The Honors experience culminates with a capstone project that is undertaken typically through additional and extensive work in one of a student’s major or minor courses in the senior year.
There are five Honors courses:
- ENGL 1001: Introduction to Rhetoric and Composition (Honors section)
- Enduring Questions : This team-taught course explores major questions persistent throughout human history. It provides an interdisciplinary opportunity to ask about the nature of humanity and reality, the meaning and purpose of existence, and the relationship between the individual and the wider world.
- Honors Seminars: Offered in one of the traditional disciplines, these seminars cultivate critical thinking, cogent argumentation, and effective writing skills by attending to a particular subject matter. Honors students earn nine credits by completing three seminars throughout their studies.
Absolutely, and many Honors students pursue a double major as well as minors. Naturally, careful advising and planning with the help of one’s faculty advisor and/or an Honors Program director is essential.
Yes! The Honors Program is extremely useful for those studying in one of Fairfield's professional schools. Not only do the Honors courses provide opportunities for students to explore areas of study that correlate well with specific majors areas, but they also give students the ability to develop critical skill sets and explore additional areas of interest.
As is the case with every undergraduate student at Fairfield University, one has the benefit of both a faculty advisor (in one's major discipline of study) and an assistant dean in one's respective school. In addition, the co-directors of the University's Honors Program are available to advise students on the honors curriculum.
Yes. We have two dedicated summer study abroad programs that count as one of the required Honors seminars. The Honors capstone functions as a special research opportunity, allowing students to create work that is mission-driven and outward facing, making it an important feature of a job or grad school application.
All the Honors courses provide opportunities to extend learning outside the classroom including field work, museum outings, or an outside speaker. The Student Leadership Board hosts a variety of cultural, philanthropic, and social events. We also have an Honors newsletter. All first year students in Honors may choose to live in an Honors-designated residential floor that also has extracurricular activities and events.
Absolutely not. Keep in mind that the Honors courses are just five of the 40+ courses taken as an undergraduate at Fairfield University. Although Honors students do develop a deep sense of community among their peers, they are also actively engaged in courses, as well as extra-curricular, social, spiritual, and cultural opportunities with the rest of Fairfield's undergraduate population.
No. Honors students usually excel at time management, allowing them to not only do well in their courses, but also to be leaders on campus either as members of a varsity sports teams, campus ministry, community outreach, or the student government board.
All courses at Fairfield University are rigorous in their own ways. The Honors curriculum is intense with a focus on analytic reading, critical thinking, writing, and oral communication. We expect more work because you offer more ability. If one is not interested in engaging broadly on a number of topics, that is fine, but it means that the Honors Program is probably not a good fit. A student must approach each Honors course with an open mind and a motivation to push oneself beyond the bounds of traditional classroom lecture-based learning.
The purpose of the Honors Program is never to exclude a student. Like any student at Fairfield University, honors students must remain in good academic standing in order to continue their studies.
No one major is a better or worse fit for the Honors Program. Students who are open-minded to different areas of knowledge and who have a deep appreciation for liberal arts learning and humanistic inquiry are best equipped to succeed in the program.
First-year students in the Honors Program have the option to live together on specific floors of their first-year residence halls. This provides another opportunity for Honors students to bond and establish a sense of community. This living and learning opportunity is not required, and those who choose not to live in this community retain the same benefits of being in the Honors Program.
It may certainly be the case that one finds the Honors Program is not most beneficial for her/his learning goals, thus one is able to withdraw from the program at almost any point. Unfortunately, due to the seminar requirements and the demands for seats in the various seminars, once one steps out of the program, the opportunity does not exist for readmission.
Margaret M. McClure
Associate Vice Provost for Research and Scholarship
Psychological & Brain Sciences
Faculty Liaison for Innovative Research
Shelley Phelan, PhD
Psychological & Brain Sciences
Sriharsha S. Sundarram