Mount Vernon Nazarene University

2011-2012 Catalog

Honors Program

Program Director, B. Barnett Cochran

Required Courses

HON1003 Core Conversations: Texts in Context I


HON1013 Core Conversations: Texts in Context II


HON2003 Core Conversations: Texts in Context III


(Core Conversations hours satisfy general education requirements in history and English literature)

HON1021/2021 Honors Seminar*


HON3091 Honors Project Preparation


HON3099 Honors Project



17-21 Hours

*(sophomores, juniors, or seniors may substitute Honors Special Topics for two Honors Seminars.)

The Honors Program at Mount Vernon Nazarene University is designed to meet the unique needs and enlarge the opportunities for the development of academically accelerated students. Honors courses frequently feature smaller class sizes, seminar/discussion formats, and move at a pace appropriate to gifted students. Honors scholars begin from the first semester with an interdisciplinary sequence of courses, Core Conversations (I, II, III). As the title suggests, this sequence of courses invites students to dialogue with each other, with their professors, and above all with some of the seminal thinkers in the western tradition. The conversation focuses on perennial human concerns, the nature and purpose of humanity, the interplay of faith and reason, the quest for justice and the need for mercy, the balance between individual liberty and the wellbeing of society, and so forth. Core Conversations reminds students that our most basic questions have a history and invites them to explore answers already posed. At the same time, the course fine tunes their skills in reading, writing & analysis, while bypassing the traditional general education requirements in history and English literature.

Honors seminar is an ideal complement to Core Conversations. A one-hour, interdisciplinary special topics-oriented course, each semester’s seminar explores one contemporary problem from multiple perspectives. The seminar entertains guest lecturers from MVNU and other area universities. The seminar also frequently employs field trips. Students are organized into small groups for discussions led by some of MVNU’s leading faculty members. So, while Core Conversations introduces students to a rich, textured background, Honors Seminar examines contemporary problems as they confront us in the particularity of our current situation. Honors Scholars take the Seminar six of the eight semesters they are typically at MVNU.

As honors students mature, the program shifts its focus toward disciplinary research. In their junior year students design a research project and form a committee among their major faculty to guide them. One member of the faculty serves as a mentor, teaching the student how to conduct research and directing them through the project. Once completed and approved, honors scholars present their findings to students and faculty within their department. The honors project often serves as a critical link between undergraduate and graduate education. It is an ideal preparation for "the next step" honors scholars frequently aspire to take.

Students graduate with University Honors when these requirements are met:

9 hours of Core Conversations

6 hours of Honors Seminar

1 hour of Honors Project Preparation

1-4 hours of Honors Research

A successfully completed Honors Project

The admission criteria for freshmen include:

  • ACT composite score of 27 or above or SAT combined score of 1210 or above;
  • high school cumulative grade point average of 3.40 or above (on a 4.00 scale);
  • two references in writing from persons familiar with the student’s academic abilities; and

Admission criteria for sophomores include:

  • completion of 26 semester hours of college work with at least a 3.50 cumulative grade point average;
  • two letters of recommendation from MVNU faculty familiar with the student’s academic abilities; and

Admission criteria for transfer students include:

  • at least a 3.50 cumulative grade point average on all previous college work;
  • ACT composite score of 27 or above or SAT combined score of 1210 or above;
  • two letters of recommendation of the faculty from the previous college attended familiar with the student’s academic abilities; and

To continue as an Honors Scholar, the student must:

  • maintain least at a 3.50 cumulative grade point average on all college work;

Honors Scholars may also qualify for the following academic honors. Additional questions about the honors program should be directed to the Admissions Office or the Director of the Honors Program.

Students not in the honors program may graduate with Departmental Honors by taking a maximum of four hours of honors project and successfully completing a research project according to departmental specifications.