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Earning an Honors Laureate Diploma

Honors Academic Requirements

PLEASE NOTE: students who enter the Honors College beginning with the Fall 2021 semester are required to receive approval on their plan to earn an Honors Laureate Diploma as described below. Honors College students as of Spring 2021 and earlier are not expected to meet this new requirement. Provided they maintain a cumulative 3.6 GPA after each semester, plan approval for this more senior cohort is still optional.

HLD Steps Graphic

Students create a plan to earn the 30-honors-credit Honors Laureate Diploma and are required to have their plan approved by the end of their first two traditional, consecutive semesters in Honors. An optional plan template (The Course of Study Planner) is available through the Honors Credit Tracker in Canvas. Students gain access to the Credit Tracker upon acceptance to the Honors College.

To receive plan approval, students must schedule an appointment with the Honors Peer Advising Center. Peer Advisors review plans, address individual questions and concerns, and provide approval once the advisor and the student are happy with the plan.

Students who do not meet this requirement by the deadline will be removed from the Honors College.

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.

Students who do not meet this requirement by the deadline will be removed from the Honors College. 

The GPA Flex Period

Once students meet both the plan approval and GPA requirements, they enter the GPA Flex Period. The GPA Flex Period is a time when the Honors College will no longer monitor GPA until graduation. 

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

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.

The Honors Laureate Diploma is made up of four Elements: (1) Honors Core, (2) Disciplinary Depth, (3) Transdisciplinary Capabilities, and (4) Research & Experiential Learning. Elements Two, Three, and Four each have a 6-credit minimum requirement. Explore the ways to earn Honors credit within each Element below.

To graduate with an Honors Laureate Diploma, students must achieve a 3.3 or better final cumulative GPA and have completed at least 30 Honors credits.

Note: Honors Laureate Diploma Elements Two, Three, and Four each have a 6-credit minimum requirement.

Honors Laureate Diploma

The Honors Laureate Diploma is made up of four Elements: (1) Honors Core, (2) Disciplinary Depth, (3) Transdisciplinary Capabilities, and (4) Research & Experiential Learning. Elements Two, Three, and Four each have a 6-credit minimum requirement. Students must earn a total of at least 30 honors credits. Explore the ways to earn honors credit within each Element below.

 

Four elements of an Honors Laureate Diploma
 

01.

HONORS CORE

02.

DISCIPLINARY
DEPTH

03.

TRANSDISCIPLINARY
CAPABILITIES

04.

RESEARCH & 
EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING

Explore the Ways to Earn Honors Credit

No particular honors course or way to earn honors credit is required, though Honors College (UH) courses are strongly encouraged. While Elements Two, Three, and Four each have a 6-credit minimum requirement, students are free to select from among all of the ways to earn honors credit in order to complete at least 30 credits. Note the ways to earn honors credit that are already an important part of the university experience, like undergraduate research or study abroad. A Faculty–Student Agreement is the most popular way, which turns a non-honors course that students may plan to take anyway into a course for honors credit. If you are interested in the Faculty–Student Agreement way, we recommend no more than two agreements per semester.

UH 1604 Introduction to Honors Quantitative and Qualitative Research Practices

Introduction to critical practices in undergraduate quantitative and qualitative research for Honors College students, including generating focused research questions, finding scholarly literature, organizing data, conducting ethical research, collaborative research practices, and identifying venues to present research findings.

UH 2604 Intermediate Honors Quantitative and Qualitative Research Practices

Intermediate study of critical practices in quantitative and qualitative research for Honors College students, including identifying funding opportunities for research, collaborating across disciplines, designing introductory research protocols, managing research projects, and using posters to present research findings.

UH 3604 Designing Protocols for Honors Quantitative and Qualitative Research

Advanced study of critical practices in quantitative and qualitative research for Honors College students, including transdisciplinary project management, refining research protocols based on feasibility of data collection, maintaining research ethics and integrity, planning for data collection, and planning for dissemination of research findings.

UH 3614 Data Collection and Analysis for Honors Quantitative and Qualitative Research

Continuing advanced study of critical practices in quantitative and qualitative research for Honors College students, including working with multiple types of data, collecting, cleaning and managing data, reporting of primary and secondary data, evaluating the work of others, and communicating conclusions to general audiences.

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 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).

SuperStudio

SuperStudio is a semester-long project-based transdisciplinary experience that consists of a 1-credit integrative module (UH 4514) and a 3-credit specialized topics section (UH 4504 or UAP 4914). Successfully complete SuperStudio and these four honors course credits will double count as honors credit in Element Three for a grand total of 8 honors credits.

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. 

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 Google Form Required)
This is a coursework agreement between an instructor of any non-honors course and an honors student, which stipulates that a student must complete mutually agreed upon coursework that is in addition to the course syllabus in order to count the course credits as honors credits. Review the document linked below for comprehensive guidelines. The required form is available in the Canvas Credit Tracker.

Form deadlines:
Fall or Spring term: 11:59 pm on the Friday of the 3rd week of classes
Winter or Summer term: 11:59 pm on the Friday of the 1st week of classes


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. It is not required that an "H" follow the course number. 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 (5000-level and above) 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. 

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

UH 3504 Honors Transdisciplinary Seminars

This course is an exploration of transdisciplinary issues and questions. Students analyze complex topics from multiple points of view and practice collaborative discussion and critique and ethical decision-making across disciplines. Students apply knowledge and processes from other disciplines. Course content varies. Repeatable for up to six (6) credit hours (3H, 3C).

SuperStudio

(UH 4504 or UAP 4914) + UH 4514.  SuperStudio participation double-counts toward an Honors Laureate Diploma: four (4) honors course credits in Element One + four (4) additional honors credits in this element for a grand total of eight (8) honors credits.

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 Google Form Required)
This is a coursework agreement between an instructor of any non-honors course and an honors student, which stipulates that a student must complete mutually agreed upon coursework that is in addition to the course syllabus in order to count the course credits as honors credits. Review the document linked below for comprehensive guidelines. The required form is available in the Canvas Credit Tracker.

Form deadlines:
Fall or Spring term: 11:59 pm on the Friday of the 3rd week of classes
Winter or Summer term: 11:59 pm on the Friday of the 1st week of classes


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. It is not required that an "H" follow the course number. 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 (5000-level and above) 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. It is not required that an "H" follow the course number. 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. See the Guided Experiential Learning Form in the Canvas Credit Tracker for more information.

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.

UH 4104 Honors Student Teaching Practicum

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 eight credits. (2H, 2C). P/F only.

Professional Work

(Guided Experiential Learning Form required)
Examples of a professional work include—but are not limited to—an internship, externship, or co-op. The work experience does not have to appear on a transcript. 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 in the Canvas Credit Tracker for more information.

Looking for employment opportunities? Let VT's Handshake help!

Honors Professional Development Canvas Course

Work at your own pace to complete assignments that provide access to formal and informal professional development learning opportunities. Topics include but are not limited to: resume/CV support, networking, national and international scholarship guidance, career exploration and preparation, and interview skills. Assignments are worth points that add up to honors credit.

Explore other professional develoment opportunities in the Honors College.

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 to 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 Guided Experiential Learning form in the Canvas Credit Tracker for more information.

View the 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. See the VTCC Leadership Experiences Form in the Canvas Credit Tracker for 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 multiple academic programs. Students may select only one focus area.

Focus Area Checksheets