Honors Program


Welcome to the Bethel University Honors Program’s Home Page!  Thanks for taking the time to check out our page!  Our best introduction is our Mission Statement reproduced below:  

The Honors Program at Bethel University endeavors to challenge academically gifted students to develop their capacities for analysis, composition, research, and critical thinking in order to increase their preparation for the duties incumbent upon education and achievement. The course of study embraced by the Honors Program both deepens the appreciation of all things human and promotes an interdisciplinary understanding of the contemporary world. As such, the Honors Program is a perfect complement to the Bethel University mission of helping students reach their full potential.

At BU Honors, we admit a limited number of highly qualified applicants each academic year to take part in our Program.  Honors students move through the Program as a cohort in courses that are taught by highly qualified faculty specifically designed for the Program.  Honors courses seek to challenge students to develop both written and oral skills on a daily basis through classroom discussions, source analysis, debate, and a significant writing component.  At Bethel, and especially in Honors, students will develop strong bonds with professors and Honors peers as they move through the Program.  Your professors will strive to get to know you, your goals, and help you develop plans for bringing them into focus.  Bethel Honors graduates have gone on to professional school, law school, and a host of successful careers.  Please feel free to explore out site to learn more about the Bethel Honors Experience!


Our curriculum is designed to facilitate the development of critical thinking, verbal expression, and writing skills.  Each course helps to fulfill a Liberal Arts Core Requirement so that students can participate in Honors while simultaneously completing core requirements.  Course material is regularly updated and faculty members are encouraged to challenge students and be creative about the ways in which they engage students in an Honors setting.  


Students will take the following course:

Fall Semester, Freshman Year
Honors 101: Colloquium I – This course is a historically based topical course which rotates its non-U.S. centered course material regularly.  In the past students in this course have investigated the interplay between biology and history, the development of piracy in the Atlantic World, and the rise and fall of the colonial model in the New World.  

Students Choose 2 of the following 3:

Spring Semester, Freshman Year
Honors 102: Colloquium II – This is a historically based investigation of U.S. History which has often examined themes in 20th Century American History through use of film, television shows, and other popular culture media.  

Fall Semester, Sophomore Year
Honors 201: Colloquium III - Though the course’s focus varies from year to year, the readings in HON 201 typically range from the ancient (The IliadBeowulf) to the contemporary (Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Lovely Bones). An essay by Thoreau finds a place beside a Shakespeare comedy; poems by Emily Dickinson inform a science fiction parable. It all makes for a semester of stimulating ideas, lively discussion, and original student work. Recent course themes include “Conformity and Rebellion,” “Heroes and Monsters,” and “Frankenstein at 200.”

Spring Semester, Sophomore Year
Honors 202: Coloquium IV - Students in this course respond in writing to various works of visual, cinematic, and literary art that rotate regularly. In previous semesters students have written about fine art, representations of native peoples in media, works on the phenomenon of belief in our culture, and works on information technology and Big Data.

Students will take the following course:

Taken During Junior or Senior Year
Honors 399 – 
Honors 399 is taught on a rotating basis by faculty members from all disciplines offered on campus.  This course is intended to allow students to diversify their honors experience beyond the disciplines of history and English.  Note that students will be able to choose  between taking this during their junior or senior year based upon their preferences in terms of discipline and their scheduling needs.


Students will complete a senior project of their own design over two courses:

Taken During Senior Year
Honors 395: Senior Project Prep – During the Project Prep students will work closely with a faculty mentor of their choice to design and original research project within the major.  The goal for this course is to plan the  project and investigate feasibility.  At the conclusion of this course, students meet with their faculty mentor and the Honors Director to discuss plans and with the approval of both move ahead with their project the following semester.

Honors 495: Honors Senior Project – Senior projects are completed independently under the guidance of faculty mentors.  Students are encouraged to think critically and creatively in the design and execution of senior projects.  The ideal senior project will be a capstone piece of work that will be suitable for students as talking points in job interviews, writing samples for graduate or professional schools, or a meaningful exploration of a career track the student is considering.  All senior honors projects are presented to the Honors Program in a celebratory evening of their achievements and work they have put in both at Bethel and in Honors.


Continued Participation in the Program:

Honors students are asked to maintain a 3.0 (B) grade point average in both Honors courses and overall to continue in the Program.  Students who fall slightly short of the mark will be placed on a semester of probation to raise their GPA while those who fall well short of the mark (below 2.5) will be asked to leave the program following the Freshman year.   


Honors students at Bethel receive a host of benefits for continued participation in the Program.  

  • Scholarship

Each Student in the Honors Program is eligible to receive a scholarship of $10,000 for their continued participation and good standing in the Program.  Honors students must maintain a 3.0 GPA in both Honors courses and overall to continue in the Program.

  • Early Registration

Honors students are always able to register on the first available day and do not have to wait until their designated week.  They will always have their first choice in courses and therefore will be more easily able to make schedules that cater to their preferences throughout their college career.

  • Honors Advising

Honors students are all assigned to the Honors Director for one on one advising which continues throughout the Program.  Your Honors advisor will work with you along with your major advisor to guide you through the program, help make decisions about courses, and help present you with challenging and meaningful professional development opportunities along the way. 

  • Study Lounge

Honors students have access to an Honors study lounge where they can study, write papers, or work on group projects.  The room is equipped with a printer, microwave, comfortable seating, and a dry erase board.  

  • Professional Development

Honors students work closely with both Honors professors and those in their major throughout the program.  These personal relationships help faculty members provide meaningful feedback about students when they are asked to provide references or write letters for admission to graduate, law, or medical schools.  When students graduate from Bethel Honors, they will have very strong and detailed feedback and recommendations from the faculty who know them best. 

  • Leadership Opportunities

Each year, the Program elects an Executive Board which helps to drive and plan the Program’s activities for the following academic year.  Members of the board are tasked with making decisions about the Program’s future, spending our budget, and keeping our alumni in the loop.  

  • Honors Activities

Honors students are invited to participate in activities within the program both educational and recreational!  Over the past 5 years we have gone bowling, hosted many trivia nights, competed in a Homecoming Tailgate competition, and visited the Jackson Escape Rooms!  

  • Meet Motivated Peers

"I have been Honors Director for 6 years now and probably the most notable benefit I have seen is that Honors students often develop strong friendships that last well beyond their time here at Bethel.  Being a member of Bethel Honors can certainly help you in a host of academic pursuits but perhaps more importantly motivated students can find likeminded peers here in the program." -Dan Dalrymple


**Link Apply Now**

Requirements and Application:

Students entering the Bethel University Honors Program must have a minimum 3.5 High School GPA and an ACT of at least 23.  Because our Program is reading and writing intensive, we pay special attention to English and Reading Scores and many Honors students will far exceed these minimum benchmarks.  

Students who do not meet the minimum standard are encouraged to reach out to the Honors Director, Dr. Daniel Dalrymple (dalrympled@bethelu.edu) regarding their potential candidacy for the Program.  If you wish ti apply for Honors, please fill out the form listed below and we will be in contact with you shortly regarding your candidacy.  Please note that Honors is compatible with athletics or Renaissance.  Participation in Honors will not prevent students from taking advantage of other opportunities available at Bethel!