Earning an Honors Laureate Diploma

Honors Academic Guidelines

Students working toward an Honors Laureate Diploma (HLD) must complete at least thirty (30) honors credits and earn honors credit at least once every twelve months. Courses taken for honors credit must be graded on the A–F scale unless P/F is the only option.

 

Step #1

Get Your Plan Approved

 

Step #2

Meet the GPA Requirement

 

Step #3

Graduate with an HLD

Get Your Plan Approved

Students are strongly encouraged to have their plan to earn an Honors Laureate Diploma approved by the Honors Peer Advising Center by the end of their first semester in the Honors College. A plan template (The Course of Study Planner) and guidelines are available through the Honors Credit Tracker in Canvas, which you gain access to upon your acceptance to the Honors College.

Plan approval is the key to accessing Honors College opportunities, including some scholarships.

Meet the GPA Requirement

Students are required to achieve a 3.60 or better cumulative GPA after two traditional, consecutive semesters in Honors. A 3.60 or better cumulative GPA from the semester at Virginia Tech immediately previous to entering the Honors College may count toward this requirement.

The GPA Flex Period

Once students receive approval on their Honors Laureate Diploma plan and meet the initial GPA requirement, they automatically enter the GPA Flex Period. The GPA Flex Period is a time in which the Honors College no longer monitors cumulative GPA. This gives students the freedom to take academic risks that can become some of the most educational experiences.

Graduate with an Honors Laureate Diploma

Upon graduation, students in the GPA Flex Period must achieve a 3.30 or better cumulative GPA and complete honors diploma requirements.

Important note: students who never receive Honors Laureate Diploma plan approval and, therefore, never enter the GPA Flex Period are required to continue to maintain a 3.60 or better cumulative GPA after every semester until the planner is approved or upon graduation.

If you were removed from the Honors College and wish to be considered for reinstatement, please review the Reinstatement Form.

Honors Laureate Diploma

An Honors Laureate Diploma is composed of what we call the Four Elements. Each Element is connected to specific ways to earn honors credit within that Element. Of the 30 required honors credits, at least six  honors credits must come from each Elements Two, Three, and Four.

 

Four elements of an Honors Laureate Diploma
 

01.

HONORS COLLEGE
CURRICULUM

02.

DISCIPLINARY
DEPTH

03.

TRANSDISCIPLINARY
CAPABILITIES

04.

RESEARCH & 
EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING

Explore the Ways to Earn Honors Credit

UH 1604 Honors Undergraduate Research Practices

This course is an introduction to best practices in undergraduate research for Honors College students, including generating introductory research questions, finding scholarly literature, organizing data, research ethics, collaborative research practices, reflective project management and problem-solving, and oral written and visual presentation of research findings. (3H, 3C).

UH 2124 Honors Reading Seminar

These small, student-facilitated groups of Honors students meet once a week to discuss books of their choice, usually within a single topic or genre, supplemented by additional materials. Reading Seminar leaders earn two P/F honors credits. Students may participate in up to two Reading Seminars per semester. (1H, 1C). P/F only.

Enjoy Honors Reading Seminar and have a topic of your own that you’d like to explore with other Honors students? Lead a seminar! We request proposals for fall term reading seminars every spring semester and spring term seminars every fall semester. For more information, see the description of UH 4104 below.

UH 4104 Honors Peer Education

This course supports Honors Peer Educators and is mandatory while they teach UH 2124 Honors Reading Seminar and/or work as Honors Peer Advisors. This course emphasizes discussion-based teaching; active, collaborative learning; and building student communities through development of personal teaching strengths and understanding of honors students’ characteristics and needs.  Repeatable for up to six credits. (2H, 2C). P/F only.

UH 4504 Honors Discovery and Innovation Studios

This course will involve discovery and definition of critical, real-world problems within Virginia Tech’s Destination Areas and Strategic Growth Areas. The focus is on transdisciplinary collaboration, design thinking, and experimentation. The course encourages reflective evaluation of individual and collective problem-solving efforts as well as learning to communicate solutions to diverse stakeholders. Students must have junior academic standing (sixty academic credit hours or above) to register. Repeatable for up to twelve credits. (3H, 3C).

This element requires at least six honors credits from the ways listed below. Eligible courses are within your primary major: specifically listed on your primary major checksheet or are approved to satisfy primary major requirements. Courses that meet Pathways requirements count in this element only if they are offered within your primary college.

Login to Hokie Spa to run a Degree Audit Report (DARS) to learn how all of your courses count toward your Virginia Tech degree.

Departmental Honors Course

The Honors College does not offer these courses, disciplinary departments do. These courses end with an “H” and are found in the course registration system within specific subjects. A departmental honors course is generally much smaller than non-honors sections of the same course and may be taught in unique ways.

Faculty–Student Agreement

(Faculty–Student Agreement Form required)
This agreement is a contract developed between a student and the instructor of a non-honors course stating that if the student goes beyond the established requirements of that course’s syllabus in mutually agreed upon ways, the instructor will award the student honors credit. The Faculty–Student Agreement Form is required for your honors file and includes more information.

Independent Study

A student designs a syllabus to explore a single topic with guidance from a professor. An independent study may include a regular meeting time and a reading list defined by the professor. Most students sign up for independent study through their college. The Honors College will match independent study credit that appears on your transcript. In accordance with University policy, the Honors College will recognize up to twelve combined honors credits of undergraduate research and independent study.

Graduate-Level Course

These courses may count toward both an honors diploma and an accelerated undergraduate/graduate Master’s degree.

This element requires at least six honors credits from the ways listed below. Eligible courses are outside of your primary major: they must not be listed on your primary major checksheet or approved to satisfy primary major requirements. Courses that count as free electives for your primary major are permissible here.

Login to Hokie Spa to run a Degree Audit Report (DARS) to learn how all of your courses count toward your Virginia Tech degree.

SuperStudio

SuperStudio courses align with our focus on developing students’ transdisicplinary capabilities. Therefore, SuperStudio participation double-counts toward an Honors Laureate Diploma: four (4) academic course credits in Element One + four (4) additional honors credits in this element.

Departmental Honors Course

The Honors College does not offer these courses, disciplinary departments do. These courses end with an “H” and are found in the course registration system within specific subjects. A departmental honors course is generally much smaller than non-honors sections of the same course and may be taught in unique ways.

Faculty–Student Agreement 

(Faculty–Student Agreement Form required)
This agreement is a contract developed between a student and the instructor of a non-honors course stating that if the student goes beyond the established requirements of that course’s syllabus in mutually agreed upon ways, the instructor will award the student honors credit. The Faculty–Student Agreement Form is required for your honors file and includes more information.

Independent Study

A student designs a syllabus to explore a single topic with guidance from a professor. An independent study may include a regular meeting time and a reading list defined by the professor. Most students sign up for independent study through their college. The Honors College will match independent study credit that appears on your transcript. In accordance with University policy, the Honors College will recognize up to twelve combined honors credits of undergraduate research and independent study.

Graduate-Level Course

These courses may count toward both an honors diploma and an accelerated undergraduate/graduate Master’s degree.

This element requires at least six honors credits from the ways listed below. 

Undergraduate Research

The Honors College will match undergraduate research credit that appears on your transcript in honors credit. In accordance with University policy, the Honors College will recognize up to twelve combined honors credits of undergraduate research and independent study unless your transcript says otherwise. If you perform undergraduate research that does not appear on your VT transcript, you may request that the experience be considered for up to three honors credits per experience using the Research form on Canvas.

Need help getting started in undergraduate research? Visit the Office of Undergraduate Research website.

UH 3204 Honors Service Learning

This is a two-part course. Part one entails three hours a week working directly with community partners. Part two is a one-hour class used to reflect on the service experience and discuss readings and other course materials that place the experiential learning into a theoretical context. This course is open to all honors students. Repeatable for up to six credits. (1H, 6L, 3C). A–F only.

Internship, Externship, or Co-Op

(Guided Experiential Learning Form required)
Students may earn up to three honors credits per experience unless the VT transcript says otherwise and up to six honors credits via this way. See the Guided Experiential Learning Form for more information. 

Looking for employment opportunities? Let Virginia Tech’s Career and Professional Development and Handshake help!

Study Abroad

The study abroad experience must appear as academic credit on your Virginia Tech transcript. The Honors College will award three honors credits per experience abroad. Otherwise, a full traditional semester = 6 honors credits and one full academic year = 12 honors credits.

Partners in the Parks

(Guided Experiential Learning form required)
Partners in the Parks is an outdoor experiential learning program that takes students from across the country into national parks for weeklong academic adventures. There are seven–ten projects every year that span the country from coast to coast with dates to fit students’ summer schedules, and parks and activities to fit a wide variety of participants. See the required Guided Experiential Learning form for more information.

+ View Partners in the Parks Website

Corps of Cadets Leadership Experiences

(VTCC Leadership Experiences Form required)
Cadets earn honors credit for Corps-specific leadership experiences. Students may count up to three credits per experience and up to six total credits via this way. The VTCC Leadership Experiences Form is required for your honors file and includes more information.

Honors Laureate Focus Areas

Students

Students have the option to select a focus area for their Honors Laureate diploma as inspired by the Virginia Tech Destination Areas. This is an additional opportunity to individualize and enhance an Honors Laureate diploma and is not a requirement.

These areas focus on particular themes with checksheets established in advance by the Honors College in collaboration with disciplinary departments. Students may select only one focus area.

Look at our current Focus Area Checksheets below.