The Honors Program at Bridgewater encourages gifted and highly motivated students to reach their highest potential through critical thinking, scholarship and research. Small classes and close student-faculty relations provide for the vigorous and thorough exchange of ideas, while the program as a whole attempts to create an atmosphere fostering intellectual, artistic and academic achievement.
The program does not require students to complete additional course work beyond the 120 credit hours necessary for graduation; instead, students earn honors credits, as described below, by taking honors sections of regular courses and/or honors colloquia during their freshman and sophomore years, by completing honors work in certain of their 300 and 400 level courses during their junior and senior years, and by researching and writing an honors thesis during their senior year.
Honors students are required to meet with either of the directors once a semester to discuss their work in the program. For all honors work completed with a grade of B (3.0) or higher, students receive honors credit on their transcripts, and those who complete the program receive an honors degree - a goal worth serious effort both for the intrinsic satisfaction it brings and the advantages it provides at a time of strong competition for graduate and career opportunities.
Students can participate in the Honors Program in two ways: by undertaking all of the requirements listed below for Commonwealth Honors or by undertaking the requirements listed only under Junior and Senior Years for Departmental Honors. Commonwealth Honors thus runs throughout a student's undergraduate career, whereas Departmental Honors takes place only in the student's last two years. Commonwealth Honors includes the requirements for Departmental Honors; a student might undertake only Departmental Honors if he or she transferred to Bridgewater or developed an interest in pursuing honors work after the freshman year.
Students seeking Commonwealth Honors must accumulate a total of 12 credits of honors level work at the 100-200 level preferably, but not necessarily, during their first two years. Honors credit at this level can be earned in two ways: by taking four three-credit honors courses or by taking a mix of three-credit honors courses and one-credit honors colloquia totaling 12 credits. Both honors courses and colloquia are described in the Course Schedule issued shortly before registration.
Honors courses: Honors courses are specially-designed sections of regular 100-200 level courses. Most fulfill CORE credit and thereby impose no additional requirements for graduation. These courses offer small class size (usually capped at 15 students), more active discussion, greater student and faculty interaction, more challenging material, and often an emphasis on writing and oral presentation. Honors courses have recently been offered in art, biology, chemistry, English, history, mathematics, philosophy, political science and psychology.
Honors Colloquia: Honors colloquia carry one academic credit, meet once a week for 50 minutes, and culminate in a paper or scientific project which provides the major part of the grade. Minimum enrollment in each colloquium is two and the maximum is 12. Although most colloquia stand on their own, some are attached to regularly offered courses which form part of the student's normal program. Colloquia do not carry CORE credit, but offer intense study in a wide range of topics not usually found at this level.
Whether in honors classes or honors colloquia, students are expected to maintain a cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.3. Students whose GPA falls between 3.3 and 2.7 may remain in the program for a further semester after which they will be dropped if the deficiency is not corrected; students whose GPA falls below 2.7 will be dropped from the program at that time. In either case, whenever the GPA returns to 3.3 students may re-enter the program. Although the honors directors have discretion to retain students in the program who do not meet these requirements, by the time of graduation students must have attained a cumulative GPA of 3.3.
Students who have completed the 12 credits of honors work described above and who have attained a cumulative GPA of at least 3.3 are eligible to continue either by entering a Departmental Honors program or, if the student's major does not offer Departmental Honors, by undertaking through the Honors Center an individually designed interdisciplinary honors program (both of which require application, either to the departmental honors committee or to the Honors Center).
The following departments offer Departmental Honors:
Honors work at this level emphasizes independent study and research in the major, or combination of majors if interdisciplinary. Students are required to take nine credits of Honors work at the 300-400 level and can do so by combining honors contracts and the honors thesis. A student can earn honors credit in an upper-division course by submitting an honors contract, in which the student and instructor devise an advanced project within the course that emphasizes independent research on a particular subject. The student then completes a special advanced project, under the instructor's direction, in conjunction with the course.
As a senior, the student researches and writes an honors thesis (earning three credits for "... 485 Honors Thesis") under the direction of a faculty member on a one-on-one basis; this can be done for either one or two semesters (we encourage two semesters, but student should discuss this with their departmental honors committee and thesis adviser). Whether the thesis qualifies the student to graduate with honors will be determined by the departmental honors committee or, where appropriate, by the student's interdisciplinary honors committee. For many students the honors thesis is the intellectual high point of the undergraduate experience - fascinating and exciting in its own right, and valuable as a preparation for graduate school or professional employment.
Students wishing to undertake only upper-division honors work can apply to their major department to do Departmental Honors around the end of the sophomore or beginning of the junior year, and should complete those requirements listed above under "Junior and Senior Years." For specific requirements and expectations, please consult your departmental honors committee or request a copy of the Departmental Honors Programs brochure from the Honors Center.
Students in the program have access throughout the year to the Honors Center in the Academic Achievement Center on the ground floor of Maxwell Library. Designed as a study area and meeting place for students in the Honors Program, the center has large work tables, comfortable chairs, computers, and a refrigerator. Students will also find copies of past honors theses written by BSU honors students, and announcements of national and regional undergraduate research conferences in which honors students are encouraged to participate. The center is open from 9 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday during the academic year.
Bridgewater State University offers a variety of academic scholarships ranging from Presidential and Tsongas Scholarships, administered by the admissions office, to the more specialized scholarships described on the college Web site at www.bridgew.edu/StudentAffairs/Scholarships.Of particular interest to students in the Honors Program is the Adrian Tinsley Program for Undergraduate Research which offers generous financial support for students' research; full details are available in the Honors Center.
Twice a year the program hosts a dinner for students and faculty featuring an informal talk by a faculty recipient of the Honors Outstanding Faculty Award. The Honors Program also hosts other events such as the Fall Book Club, the Thesis Workshop, and the Community Read Program wherein BSU Honors students and high school students gather together with faculty facilitators to discuss the same book.
For further information on the Honors Program contact Dr. Sandra Neargarder, Director, Honors Program, Academic Achievement Center (508) 531-2347, email@example.com, or Meredith Eckstrom, Secretary, (508) 531-1378, firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Modified: October 27, 2010