Jun 18, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

The Honors College

Beth Meyer-Bernstein, Dean


The Honors College at the College of Charleston challenges bright, motivated students to make the most of the opportunities available to them and to become actively involved in their own education. In Honors classes, students take responsibility for their own learning through class discussions, through interaction with other students and professors, and through independent research. The Honors College is dedicated to providing talented students with a place where they can flourish and grow, a true learning community of teachers and students.

Honors classes are smaller, thereby allowing for more intensive student participation. They are also reading and writing intensive. They are designed to meet the needs of superior students, and many of them are team taught and interdisciplinary so that the student’s education transcends the boundaries of traditional academic disciplines. The Honors College gives unusually able students the opportunity to:

  • Take special courses designed for students of high ability.
  • Participate in more intensive intellectual discussion and debate.
  • Engage in independent projects and research.
  • Participate in a peer community of students with similar abilities and motivation.
  • Live in the Honors residential community with other Honors students.
  • Complete scholarly off-campus projects which may include study abroad, internships, or special research projects.

Admission in the Honors College

The Honors College has special procedures for admission and its own academic progress standards. Interested students must apply to and be accepted by both the College of Charleston and the Honors College. For instructions on the application process, go to http://honors.cofc.edu.

Honors Academic Progress Standards and Retention in the Honors College

To guide students toward meeting the cumulative GPA and course requirements, academic performance standards are in place. The Director of Honors Advising in consultation with the assigned Honors Advisor tracks the academic performance of each Honors College student, and notifies that student of his or her standing, as appropriate, at the end of each semester.

For a full explanation of academic progress standards, visit this link:  http://blogs.cofc.edu/honorshub/policies-requirements/.

Note: Honors College graduates will be so designated on their transcripts and will receive special recognition during the awards and graduation ceremonies. Many students in the Honors College also qualify for departmental honors.

Program Goals

Students who are members of the Honors College will participate in curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular programming focused on Mind, Self and Society. They will

  • Develop an appreciation for the complexity of knowledge, the tools to critically analyze information, and the ability to integrate diverse and distinct perspectives (Mind)
  • Develop a deepened sense of self, an ethical framework characterized by empathy and justice, and a sense of responsibility to address the needs of others (Self)
  • Develop the communication, leadership, and professional skills to effect positive change in their careers and communities (Society)

Honors College Requirements


Every student in the Honors College must complete all college-wide graduation requirements, including the requirements for a major. A student becomes an Honors College graduate by completing Honors Core and Honors Directed, and by achieving a 3.400 overall GPA.

“Honors Core” accommodates current general education, interdisciplinary study, and major requirements and “Honors Directed” is satisfied via immersion experiences, e.g., research and internships, typically in the major.

To remain in good standing, students will take at least one honors requirement per semester until requirements are complete. For students who plan to study abroad, the requirement may be waived for the semester abroad if there are no options to complete honors courses.

Honors Core

Students are required to take 22 HONS credit hours to satisfy the Honors Core.

First-Year Experience

Honors Academic Writing - An accelerated introduction to the writing, analytical and research skills necessary for composing college-level texts that address issues of academic and social importance in a number of genres.

Beyond George Street - Honors specific first-semester seminar that introduces students to the intellectual, professional, and leadership expectations and opportunities that define the Honors experience.

Honors Engaged - A year-long service learning program that immerses students in the work of a community organization. All Honors students must complete this during their first year in the Honors College.

Quantitative Literacy Requirement

Courses in quantitative literacy focus on honing the ability to reason and solve quantitative problems applicable in various contexts, to create sophisticated arguments supported by quantitative analysis, and to communicate the findings to a broad audience.

Foundations of Knowledge and Methods of Inquiry

Courses in this category are grounded in disciplinary thinking and methodology, exposing students to the essential ideas and key concepts in a given discipline, the methodologies used to address them, and the tools necessary to understand them.

Exploring Complexity and Diversity Colloquia

Interdisciplinary colloquia that focus on a central and enduring question that has perplexed and engaged scholars through the ages. These courses are defined by critical dialogue that takes place in small group settings and that encourages students to develop a rigorous approach to processing information and deepening understanding.  Through the study of foundational texts and sources that have shaped thinking on the focal question, students develop a capacity and propensity to approach new ideas and information critically and creatively throughout their lives.

Students choose courses from among the interdisciplinary thematic colloquia described below. Coursed offered within these series vary across semesters. Typically taken in the second year. Students must complete at least one Foundations course before taking a course from this category.

Colloquium courses are writing and reading intensive, discussion-based, and interdisciplinary in nature.

Foundations of Western Civilization - Courses in this colloquium series relate the arts, literature, and philosophy of the Western world to their political, social, and economic contexts.

Values and Traditions in the Non-Western World - Courses in this colloquium series explore the visions, values, and practices by which people of the non-Western world have shaped their life experiences. Students will explore the issues and themes central to the study of the non-Western world and its peoples.

Ethics - This colloquium series will engage with enduring questions and critical issues in ethics, drawing on a number of fields within the humanities and social sciences.

History and Philosophy of Science - In this colloquium series, students will explore enduring questions as to how time, place, and context all impact scientific research, and how the role of philosophy has developed over time to delineate the boundary between science and pseudo-science.

Diversity and Sustainability - Courses in this colloquium series examine pressing 21st century problems related to the intersection of social, economic, and environmental systems. Students will make sense of and offer possible creative solutions to interlinked issues such as institutional sexism and racism, climate change, biodiversity loss, the tragedy of the commons, inequitable distribution of wealth, and queerphobia.

Self, Other, and Society - Courses offered in this colloquium series address enduring questions or critical issues related to the role of the individual in society. These courses address the range of factors - genetics, physiology, neurology, personality, cognition, emotion, experience, context - that distinguish human beings and contribute to the unique beliefs, values, and behaviors that characterize any given individual.

Inquiry, Discovery, and Innovation - Courses in this colloquium series focus on the discovery of knowledge and its transformation into new insights and innovative ideas. These courses encourage students to develop an interdisciplinary perspective on enduring questions or critical issues in math and science, work towards finding answers and innovations that allow for a greater understanding of the universe.

Elements of Human Culture and Expression - Courses offered in this colloquium series consider multidisciplinary approaches to enduring questions or critical issues in language, literacy, and cultural expression. Courses in this series may involve collaborative work in peer and community contexts, and conversational, hands-on engagement with materials and techniques that help us to better understand cultural literacies and creative arts.

Advanced Studies

The Advanced Studies requirement can be fulfilled by taking either an upper level Honors Special Topics Seminar or a non-foundation course within the discipline. They are defined by deep analysis of subject matter in a particular discipline or across disciplines that build upon foundational coursework. Courses are encouraged to provide opportunities for students to advance their ability to synthesize information from divergent sources to derive novel conclusions and innovative solutions

Honors Special Topics Seminar - The advanced Special Topics Seminar courses are typically taken in the third or fourth year and are taught at an advanced level for students who have completed at least one Honors Foundation Course and one Honors Exploring Complexity and Diversity Colloquium.

Honors Disciplinary Studies - The Disciplinary Studies non-foundational courses may be taken in sophomore year for students who have completed at least one Honors Foundation Course and any designated prerequisites. Students outside of the Honors College with a 3.400 GPA and recommendation of a faculty member may be granted permission by the Honors College Dean, in collaboration with the Department Chair of the discipline offering the course, to enroll in the course.

Honors Directed

All Honors students must satisfy the Honors Immersed and Bachelor’s Essay requirements. These requirements are, in most cases, completed within the student’s major(s) and minor(s) and selected strategically in consultation with an advisor. They are designed as “high impact” experiences that deeply engage the student in the work of the discipline and prepare them to contribute to a diverse and changing world.  The product of these experiences would be a signature project that reflects a student’s integration and application of their learning to a significant project that has meaning for their own long-term goals and for society. Ideally, the signature project encourages the student to synthesize connections among experiences outside the classroom that leads to a deepening of understanding in the student’s field of study.

Honors Courses and Honors College Requirements

  • Students must complete at least 22 HONS credit hours from the Honors Core and additional coursework to complete the Honors Directed.
  • Any HONS courses used to complete Honors Directed do not count towards the 22 required hours for the Honors Core.
  • A student becomes an Honors College graduate by completing Honors Core and Honors Directed, and by achieving a 3.400 overall GPA.

Honors Core (at least 22 HONS hours)

First Year Requirement

To complete the Honors First-Year Experience, students complete HONS 100  and the one year Honors Engaged service-learning project embodied in HONS 103A  and HONS 103B . The HONS 110  requirement must be satisfied in residence at the College of Charleston. For current CofC students who have been accepted into the Honors College after their first semester, this requirement can be satisfied by a grade of “B” or better in ENGL 110  taken in residence at the College of Charleston. Transfer students should consult the Dean of the Honors College regarding this requirement.


Students are required to take courses in the following three categories:

Foundations of Knowledge and Methods of Inquiry

Complete a minimum of 3 hours from the following offerings:

Professional Enrichment Option

Students can choose to take up to 3 credits in this category to count towards the 22 required HONS credits.

Honors Directed

This set of requirements would be, in most cases, completed within the student’s major(s) and minor(s).

Honors Immersed
A pre-approved Independent study, study abroad, or internship project. Students must work with a faculty member to develop a proposal to be approved by the Honors College prior to initiation of the project. This is typically a 3 credit hour course, but may vary depending on the student’s major course of study. Students should consult with their Honors College Advisor for current approved exceptions.

Bachelor’s Essay (6 credits)

A year-long research project tailored to the student’s area of concentration. Students will work closely with a faculty member to design and implement the project. A final written thesis is a required element of the Bachelor’s Essay. Students may also use ENGR 470  and ENGR 471  to satisfy this requirement. 

If a student’s project does not align with a departmental offering, they may petition the Honors College to use one of the following HONS courses. These HONS hours do not count towards the 22 hours required in the Honors Core.


  • No more than 3 credit hours from HONS 102  may be applied towards the program requirements.
  • No more than 12 credit hours from HONS 230  may be applied towards the program requirements.
  • No more than 12 credit hours from HONS 240  may be applied towards the program requirements.
  • No more than 12 credit hours from HONS 245  may be applied towards the program requirements.
  • No more than 12 credit hours from HONS 280  may be applied towards the program requirements.
  • No more than 12 credit hours from HONS 380  may be applied towards the program requirements.
  • No more than 12 credit hours from HONS 381  may be applied towards the program requirements.
  • No more than 12 credit hours from HONS 382  may be applied towards the program requirements.
  • No more than 9 credit hours from HONS 390  may be applied towards the program requirements.
  • No more than 12 credit hours from HONS 395  may be applied towards the program requirements.
  • No more than 12 credit hours fromHONS 399  may be applied towards the program requirements.


Program Learning Outcomes