Oct 26, 2021  
2007-2009 Undergraduate Catalog 
2007-2009 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Honors Program

Click on the following links for information:

Doug Peterson, Director
Susan Hackemer, Associate Director
120 Old Main
677-5223 (Director)
677-8802 (Associate Director)
677-5223 (Secretary/Student Lounge)


The idea of the Honors Program is as old as the tried-and-true curriculum of the liberal arts and as new as the latest research in the various disciplines. In fact, it is designed to be a combination of both, to provide talented students with a solid academic foundation, then to set their minds free in special seminars and individual projects. The Honors Program welcomes students and faculty who respect and welcome debate and who seek alternative approaches to new and old problems. The result is the best kind of education that a university has to offer: challenging, interdisciplinary, and liberating.

Students in the Honors Program benefit from a special curriculum of smaller, more writing-intensive classes that complements work done in their chosen major fields. The Program has its own core curriculum that fits within the Framework for an Extraordinary Education. The first two years of the curriculum are built around an interdisciplinary theme such as, “Justice, Morality and Law” or “Knowledge and Belief.” The last two years of Honors courses present a wide variety of academic experiences. Upper-division students take three seminars that involve faculty members from several disciplines and offer Honors students an opportunity to do work beyond what is usually available to undergraduates. As seniors, they complete an Honors Thesis.

Honors students also enjoy individualized academic advising from the Director, Associate Director, and faculty members, and they participate in a wide spectrum of special events and opportunities sponsored by the Honors Program. Many students choose to live on the Honors floor for its unique, energetic community environment.

The Honors Program is open to students in all majors. Honors students apply for and are admitted to the program before entering as first-year students, although a limited number may be admitted later as Thesis Scholars. Generally, they will have displayed potential for Honors work in high school through good grades, college preparatory curriculum, high ACT scores, and participation in school and community activities. Students who complete the Honors core and earn a cumulative 3.25 USD grade point average will be graduated with the special distinction of University Scholar. A select number of students who enter the program during their sophomore or junior year, earn a 3.25 cumulative grade point average, complete two Honors seminars, and write a thesis will be graduated with the distinction of Thesis Scholar.

University Scholars Requirements


All candidates for University Scholar distinction must complete the following:

  1. Honors English (UHON 110)
  2. Honors Speech Communication (SPCM 101)
  3. Honors Ideas in History (UHON 111)
  4. Honors Interdisciplinary Civilization I & II (UHON 210 & 211)
  5. Three Honors Seminars (UHON 390)
  6. Honors Thesis (UHON 498)
  7. One course in Fine Arts
  8. One year of one laboratory science
  9. Calculus or pre-calculus and Honors Logic
  10. One year of any language other than English

Thesis Scholars Requirements

Students may apply for the Thesis Scholar Program after completing a full year of college courses. Applications for the Thesis Scholars Program are accepted from students matriculating at and transferring to USD. All candidates for Thesis Scholar must complete the following:

  1. Two Honors Seminars (UHON 390) - as substitute for the IdEA Program
  2. Honors Thesis (UHON 498)

The Alumni Student Scholars Program (ASSP) is a cooperative program among the USD School of Medicine Alumni Foundation, the USD School of Medicine, and the USD Honors Program that provides conditional acceptance to the USD School of Medicine for up to six South Dakota graduating high school seniors each year. Admitted students enroll in the Honors Program and pursue a baccalaureate degree in their chosen major(s), complete pre-medicine requirements and participate in one six-week long summer clinical preceptorship. ASSP students complete three 1-credit seminars in Issues in Contemporary Medicine (UHON 290) that collectively substitute for one Honors Seminar (UHON 390). For more information, contact Dr. Gerald Yutrzenka at 677-5156 or the Honors Program.

The Law Honors Scholars Program is supported by the USD School of Law, School of Business, and Honors Program and provides provisional admission to the USD School of Law. USD Law Honors Scholars must graduate in four years with a 3.5 or higher GPA, enroll in an Honors Seminar taught by a USD School of Law faculty member, complete the Honors Program, and meet other requirements. Law Honors Scholars who major in Business are eligible for Law Honors Scholarships. For more information, contact Tom Sorensen at the School of Law at 677-5393 or the Honors Program or consult page 5 of Admissions Guidebook, available at the following website: