Honors Program

The Roosevelt University Honors Program is an undergraduate academic program for students who want to dig deep and broaden and enrich their intellectual inquiry in and out of the classroom. We offer small, unique seminars across a diversity of disciplines, where approaches to learning are creative, challenging, and focused on your curiosity. Members complete Honors coursework and a senior capstone project, and earn an “RU Honors Program” transcript distinction upon graduation.

In Honors, you will:

  • Inquire, analyze, and synthesize using multiple disciplinary perspectives
  • Design, conduct, and present original research and/or creative projects
  • Apply coursework to an issue of civic importance
  • Collaborate effectively with multiple constituencies

Members who complete the Honors Program receive an Honors Program transcript designation upon graduation.


Each semester, the Honors Program offers courses in a variety of subject areas. These seminar-style courses, which range from 100-level CORE to boutique 200- and 300-level, provide Honors students unique active learning experiences. A hallmark of all these courses is academic rigor; they also offer opportunities like travel, interdisciplinary projects, community-based learning, and more. Members take these courses to fulfill general education, major and/or minor, and general elective requirements. Honors courses are offered in the Fall and Spring semesters, in person at the Chicago campus.

Curricular Options

We provide focused curricula in several areas:

Honors Tracks
Honors Tracks are fixed curricula managed by departmental faculty and advisors, requiring an application for admission. Contact department(s) for application materials.

  • Finance: This two-year, 18-credit hour program provides undergraduate Finance students the resources, tools and guidance needed to reach their career goals successfully. It is a cohort-based, lock-step program. For more information, please see the program page. The program is no longer accepting new cohorts.
  • Musical Arts: The Honors Bachelor of Musical Arts degree is a flexible interdisciplinary program in which CCPA Music Conservatory students combine the study of music with another field. It is individualized according to students' interests and culminates with a senior project that melds students' work in music with the second discipline. For more information, please see the program page.

Honors Pathways
Honors Pathways are not fixed curricula; members who pursue these pathways do so in consultation with their Honors and program/faculty advisors.

  • Biological, Physical, & Health Sciences: Honors science majors complete Honors requirements through a combination of Honors courses and contracts in their major or supporting sequence courses.
  • Psychology: Honors Psychology majors may benefit from pursuing a recommended intensive Psychology Honors course sequence. 

Incoming and current students are welcome to begin the application process at the Honors Program website. Honors-ready students are curious and motivated, have strong academic records, and submit high-quality Honors application materials. Applicants must have at least three more semesters to complete at RU.

Honors courses are offered at the Chicago campus only.

Students interested in the Honors Bachelor's of Musical Arts Program in the Chicago College of Performing Arts should visit and apply here

One a student becomes a member of the Honors Program, they agree to adhere to all program requirements and policies. 

Honors Continuous Enrollment Curriculum Requirement
All members, starting the semester of their admission to the Honors Program, must successfully complete in one 3-credit Honors course, and in subsequent semesters a 3-credit course or co-curricular experience each term they’re enrolled at RU*. In their last two semesters, they complete the Honors Program Capstone, as follows:

Penultimate Semester: HON 398: Honors Research Pro-seminar**, 1 credit (+ a 3-credit Honors course)
Final Semester: Honors 399: Honors Senior Thesis, 3 credits

Any exceptions must be explored and approved as part of required Honors advising. When a member does not meet the continuous enrollment requirement, but is still making adequate progress (see section below), they must register for any missed continuous enrollment credits in subsequent semesters, in consultation with their Honors advisor.

Bachelor of Musical Arts  and Honors Finance students must also meet their programs' requirements, which can be found at their respective catalog pages. 

*Members are permitted to utilize a limited number of contracts for credit (see below) after successfully completing their first Honors seminar.
**Students in the Honors Finance Track are exempt from the HON 398 thesis requirement.

Ways to Earn Honors Credits

All curriculum requirements can be fulfilled with Honors course credits; contracts and co-curricular experiences are optional. 

Honors Courses 
Honors courses are offered across a wide variety of disciplines and count as CORE, major, minor, or general elective requirements. 
All members must successfully complete an Honors seminar their first semester following acceptance into the program, and every semester thereafter, leading to the required Honors Thesis sequence in their final two semesters:

Honors Research Pro-Seminar (HON 398, 1 credit): A research seminar required for members the semester prior to enrolling in HON 399: Honors Senior Thesis, this course develops and improves research skills. In addition, students design a research proposal.

Honors Senior Thesis (HON 399, 3 credits): The Honors Senior Thesis, a 3-credit writing and research intensive course that members register for in their final semester, is dedicated to the craft and execution of members' capstone projects. In consultation with faculty mentors, students create substantial scholarly texts consistent with the content and methods of their academic major and/or minor. These academic projects can be creative, applied, or traditional, comprised of new (not repurposed) writing. In addition to completing the written project, members participate in oral defenses for the RU community.

Some academic majors and programs have their own capstone requirements; Honors Program members in these majors should consult with their Honors and program advisors.

Curricular and Co-Curricular Contracts 
Contracts permit members the opportunity to earn Honors credit outside the standard Honors seminar structure. All contracts and their resulting work must demonstrate advanced rigor and inquiry, consistent with Honors Program outcomes. All contracts must be submitted by stated deadlines, and reviewed and approved by the Honors Program. After one invalid or incomplete contract, students cannot attempt or earn any more contract credits. Members are eligible to complete contracts after they have successfully completed at least 1 Honors course.

Curricular: Must be completed in courses in a student’s major and/or minor at the 200-level and higher.  These contracts, designed and executed by the student and approved by their professor(s) and the Honors Program, should demonstrate significant planning, inquiry, and effort in order to produce high-quality work and a deepened understanding of course material, consistent with Honors Program outcomes. Courses of record will be converted to Honors courses for degree and program credit. Contracts are valid if the course grade is a B or higher. 

Co-curricular: Allow members to earn Honors credit independent of coursework, where they engage in projects and activities that support and enhance co-curricular learning consistent with Honors Program outcomes. All co-curricular contracts should be submitted prior to beginning the activity, and must result in a culminating project submitted for review and approval by the Honors Program. These can only be attached to activities for which students are not otherwise receiving credit or compensation. Co-curricular credits count toward Honors requirements, and cannot count for course credit.

Co-curricular Experiences
The Honors Program often offers other co-curricular experiences for which members can earn credit toward Honors requirements (but not for course credit). These typically bridge two semesters of an academic year, and require strict attendance and participation commitments. Members who do not successfully complete an experience may not be allowed to attempt others. Past co-curriculars have included collaborations with Chicago organizations, other universities, field trips, and participation in an intercollegiate government simulation. Consult with an Honors advisor for details.

Adequate Progress
Members must take their first Honors course the semester following admission to the Honors Program; in order to maintain Honors membership, students must remain active in the program, defined by enrolling in and completing Honors courses (earning B or higher) and attending Honors advising each semester.

Any Honors courses in which a member earns below B (including Incompletes) will not count toward adequate Honors progress and they will need to make up these credits. Honors seminar and/or contract courses in which members earn below B may count toward graduation requirements, but cannot count toward Honors requirements. 

As part of their adequate progress, most incoming first-year members will take Honors First-Year Seminar (1 credit) and an Honors CORE requirement (3 credits) their first semester. 

The Honors Program deactivates membership of anyone who does not make adequate progress for two semesters in a row (as defined by these catalog requirement). Anyone who wishes to rejoin the program, including students who have left the university, must reapply.

Grades and Performance
Members must also, for adequate progress:

  • Earn a B or higher in all Honors coursework (any grades lower than a B may count toward other degree requirements, but cannot count as Honors credit). Honors courses cannot be audited, or taken for P/F grades.

  • Maintain 3.0 or higher institutional overall GPA.

  • Be able to achieve a 3.0 institutional overall GPA upon graduation.

Incomplete Grades in Honors
The Honors Program strictly complies with the university’s Incomplete Policy. In alignment with this policy, Honors students who request Incomplete grades in their Honors courses:

  • Must understand and meet the university’s criteria for Incomplete grades.
  • Must consult with the Honors Program, and the faculty of record, along with any other student support services offices, to create a reasonable timeline for the completion of all work.
  • Must understand that if they extend their timeline beyond 3-6 weeks, they may not receive the Honors credit required to make adequate progress in the program, and must consult with their Honors advisor. Students who are unable to adhere to the 3-6 week timeline must consult with the Honors Program and relevant student support services.
  • May not receive the Honors Program designation if they request Incomplete grades in Honors courses during their final semester.

Honors Probation Policy
Honors student probation occurs when a student’s institutional GPA falls below 3.0 (B):

  • Once on probation, a student has up to two terms to achieve an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher, or earn a term GPA of 3.0 or higher.

  • A student on probation must consult with the Honors Program about their probation status and demonstrate, with documentation, efforts to improve by using university student support services (advising, tutoring, etc.).

  • Honors probation, distinct from RU Academic Standing, does not appear on a student’s transcript.

  • Honors students who are on university probation are permitted one semester of Honors probation before deactivation from the Honors Program. Honors students on academic suspension will be deactivated from the Honors Program and must re-apply if they seek to re-join.


Honors students are required to receive Honors Program advising every semester; assigned academic, faculty, or program advisors will provide advising as it relates to all degree requirements (except for Honors).

Graduating from the Honors Program
In order to receive the Honors Program transcript designation, a student must:

  • Be admitted to the Honors Program, complete their designated number of Honors credits, and maintain adequate progress as defined above.

  • Earn B grades or higher in Honors coursework.

  • Earn an institutional overall GPA of 3.0 or higher.

  • ​​​Complete and present an Honors Senior Thesis.

The Honors Program reserves the right to implement probation and/or action plans and/or dismiss students from Honors who have been found in violation of university policies

Exceptions to all Honors Program policies are made at the discretion of Honors Program staff.