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Orientation

Welcome to VT Honors College

Congratulations on your acceptance to Virginia Tech and VT Honors College! Our online programming will provide opportunities for you to get to know all about the Honors College. Start the online experience by exploring all our sections below. 

On Wednesday, August 12, 2020, we're hosting a live Orientation Town Hall from 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. to answer any lingering questions that come up about the Honors College after the last Zoom Drop-In. 

We are a Center for Educational Innovation

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Honors is distinctive for providing opportunities that are not only aligned with the university's culture and mission but also tailored to individual students’ needs and interests.

As both workers and citizens, 21st century university graduates will need to combine the rigors of disciplinary knowledge with a capacity for diverse collaborations. They will need to value and employ diverse ways of seeing and understanding, be able to synthesize knowledge across seemingly disparate contexts, and create new knowledge in transdisciplinary teams.

Honors Diplomas

Most Virginia Tech Honors College students work toward an Honors Laureate Diploma. An Honors Laureate Diploma is composed of what we call the Four Elements: Honors College Curriculum, Disciplinary Depth, Transdisciplinary Capabilities, and Research/Experiential Learning. Students also have the option to select a focus area for their Honors Laureate Diploma. Learn more below. 

Send your questions about earning an Honors Laureate Diploma to Paul Heilker (pheilker@vt.edu). 

The Honors Collaborative Innovation Diploma is earned through the Honors College Calhoun Discovery Program. This program is by invitation only and you will have already been informed of your acceptance. Read below for more information. 

Send your questions about the Calhoun Discovery Program and the Honors Collaborative Innovation Diploma to Michelle Kovac (mkovac@vt.edu). 

Can't wait to earn Honors Credit?

If you really can't wait to earn Honors credit, you may want to consider an Honors Reading Seminar or a departmental Honors course
this coming Fall or Spring. All Honors students are welcome!

We are a Magnet for Exceptional Students

Honors College Students

The Honors College is composed of carefully selected faculty and students who form a close yet multi-disciplinary community. This community is dedicated to maximizing students’ personal, professional, and civic development opportunities to work in diverse, cross-disciplinary groups to address complex, intractable problems, often in collaboration with partners from industry, public-sector, or non-profit organizations.

The educational benefits of problem-based learning, design thinking, communities of practice, and studio courses in higher education are now well documented. The Honors College SuperStudio initiative seeks to build upon these practices to help students engage in the kinds of transdisciplinary and massively-collaborative work they will need to employ as professionals and citizens to address critical 21st century issues. The SuperStudio brings together - in one space - multiple advanced courses, each of which will focus on a different critical aspect of a complex global challenge, and all of which will work together toward possible solutions.

Send your questions about SuperStudio to Nikki Lewis (lewissn@vt.edu) or Anne-Lise Velez (aknox@vt.edu). 

Studio+ is a collaboration of the Calhoun Discovery Program and the Honors College with the College of Engineering, the Pamplin College of Business, the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, the Center for Humanities, ICAT, LINK, and the office of the Vice Provost of Learning Systems Innovation and Effectiveness. Studio+ focuses on two interrelated areas of trans-sector technological and societal innovation that are also emerging as distinguishing strengths of Virginia Tech: advanced manufacturing for Industry 4.0 and Collective Autonomy. 

Send your questions about Studio+ to Michelle Kovac (mkovac@vt.edu). 

We are a Hub for Transformative Experiential Learning

Presidential Global Scholars


The Honors College values engagement in opportunities that can positively influence your professional development. Honors also values training you, wherever possible, to best participate in and learn from those experiences. Engagement in research is a skill set that can translate to any profession. You have the opportunity to learn how to practice the research process through our research methods courses. In these classes, students learn a general overview of the research process and what is defined as “Research” (UH-1604), how to identify and take part in transdisciplinary research (UH-2604), how to structure a research project to answer specific research questions (UH-3604), and how to collect and analyze data in order to contribute to a body of knowledge (UH-3614).

Send your questions about Honors Research Courses to Nikki Lewis (lewissn@vt.edu) or Anne-Lise Velez (aknox@vt.edu). 

There are two ways in which you can connect with faculty through exploration of complex, real-world problems over a single semester. Individual Topics courses are an opportunity to work in a small group with faculty on understanding, defining, and proposing solutions to transdisciplinary issues in defined areas, such as disaster response management and computational drug discovery. SuperStudio courses allow you to work with students across multiple Topics sections on global issues with a central theme. SuperStudio students benefit from enrollment in both a Topics section and an added SuperStudio seminar as an opportunity to spend additional time discussing the shared course theme and global perspectives.

Send your questions about UH 4504 to Nikki Lewis (lewissn@vt.edu) or Anne-Lise Velez (aknox@vt.edu).

The Presidential Global Scholars program (PGS) is a collaborative living-learning and research community in which ambitious Honors students work together, with award-winning faculty, and with the resources and opportunities in Europe and beyond to better understand the world and what they might accomplish in it. The purpose of PGS is to help students discover, commit to, and act upon a compelling personal interest in a pressing transcultural issue.

Send your questions about PGS to Paul Heilker  (pheilker@vt.edu). 

We are a Home for Ambitious Scholars

Dana Mulligan, 2020 Outstanding Honors Senior

The highest priority for the college is the recruitment of diverse students of exceptional motivation and ability. The key to success here is the provision of scholarships, fellowships, and experiential learning grants.


Our merit scholarships, such as the Honors College Enrichment Grant and Odyssey Fellowships,  reward strong academic performance regardless of need.

Send your questions about Enrichment Grants and Merit Scholarships to Russell Shrader (rbshrade@vt.edu). 

National scholarships recognize students whose leadership and academic achievements are nationally or internationally extraordinary. The Honors College can advise students through the application process, which can be significant yet developmental.

Send your questions about National and International Scholarships to Christina McIntyre (cmcintyre@vt.edu). 

We are a Force for Professional Development

Students at Hillcrest Hall

The Honors College provides students with distinctive professional development programming to set them apart in securing competitive scholarships, graduate school applications, and job opportunities. 

Being a part of the VT Honors College gives students access to distinctive professional development programming, which helps set them apart in competitive scholarships, graduate school applications, and job opportunities after graduation. You'll receive an invitation to join the Canvas course that hosts detailed information about Professional Development in August.

Send your questions about Professional Development to Christina McIntyre (cmcintyre@vt.edu). 

Resources and Support

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The Honors Peer Advising Center (HPAC) enables honors students to meet individually with trained Honors Peer Advisors to talk through processes and resources to answer Honors-related questions. The Honors Peer Advising Center also offers small-group workshops on topics of broad interest to honors students. HPAC is for students pursuing or considering the Honors Laureate Diploma (HLD). 
 
Send your questions about HPAC to Pamela Pack (pamelapack@vt.edu). 

This is the most important tool for Honors Laureate Diploma students. The Credit Tracker serves as not only the platform through which you will report all of your honors credit, but as a result, it is also where you can consistently keep track of how many and what type of honors credits you have. You'll receive the invitation to join the Canvas course that hosts the Credit Tracker this August. Every Honors Laureate Diploma program student is expected to utilize the Credit Tracker.

Get Involved

Honors Peer Educators for UH 2124: Honors Reading Seminars select the course materials, create the reading schedule, facilitate weekly class discussions and activities, and recommend course grades to the Reading Seminar Director. Additionally, peer educators get training and support while teaching a reading seminar. 
 
Keep up to date with our Honors College bi-weekly newsletters and/or our social media to learn about when and how to apply to become an Honors Peer Educator.  
 
Send your questions about Honors Peer Educators to Paul Heilker (pheilker@vt.edu). 

The Honors Student Council serves as an advisory group to the Dean of the Honors College and is representative of the greater Honors College student body. The Council seeks to foster productive relationships between the Honors College, academic colleges, and the greater university to optimize students’ opportunities to pursue their passions and enhance their educations. 
 
Send your questions about Honors Student Council to Paul Heilker (pheilker@vt.edu).  

The Honors College offers two unique residential communities: the Hillcrest Honors Community and the Honors Residential Commons (HRC). While there are no requirements that Honors students live in Honors-specific housing, our communities can supplement your Honors experience through purposeful engagement in active and robust intellectual communities. Both communities occasionally offer programming open to all Honors students.

Applications to the Honors Communities are managed through Housing and Residence Life. Information specific to Fall 2020 can be found on the Housing website

Send your questions about Honors Housing to Nikki Lewis (lewissn@vt.edu).

Honors College Carret Wheel

More Resources

Orientation for new students and families is online this summer in response to ongoing concerns regarding COVID-19.  All the information you need is on this page. 

  • Questions? Try our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page
  • Contact us at honors@vt.edu for any more questions about the Honors College
  • Follow us on Social Media @VTHonorsCollege (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) 
  • Visit our blog to keep up with the many opportunities offered to Honors students
  • We'll send e-mail updates as part of our orientation series in July and August. Once the semester starts, don't forget to also check your inbox our bi-weekly Honors College Newsletter!

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We know these are challenging times. Please be assured that VT Honors College is here for you. We want you to succeed and will do whatever we can to help you.