Why take Honors classes?

Contrary to what many people might assume, honors classes are not harder, but they are different. In an honors class, you will find:

  • Smaller class size
  • A seminar setting
  • Motivated classmates
  • More individual time with the professor
  • Fewer exams, more engaging projects
  • Experiential learning
  • NOT the same old thing

A more exciting class isn’t temptation enough for you? Did you know that honors students have some great perks on campus and beyond?

  • Honors designation on your transcript
  • Scholarships at this and other institutions
  • An Honors Lounge complete with fridge and microwave
  • Opportunities to attend local and national conferences
  • Adventurous retreats


There are two ways for students to participate in the Honors program:

1. Students who have earned a GPA of 3.0 or higher (high school or college) are eligible to register for Honors courses. Generally, 2-4 dedicated Honors courses are offered each semester. Honors credits are also available by contract. To earn Honors credit for almost any course, students must meet with their instructor during the first week of class to create an Honors contract. Honors courses

2. In order to graduate with Honors from Chesapeake College, students must be accepted into the Honors Program and complete a minimum of 5 Honors classes covering at least three different academic disciplines. Application to the Honors program is simple and requires three steps. Students must: (1.) complete an application and submit it to the Honors director; (2.) provide a current transcript that demonstrates a GPA of 3.0 or higher; and (3.) compose a successful application essay. This essay should be no less than three full (double-spaced) pages and should demonstrate clear, purposeful, grammatically –correct writing. Potential topics include:

  • There are many things you could do with your life. Why do you want to spend two years or so attending classes at Chesapeake?
  • Describe an individual who has had a significant impact on your life. Why has this person impacted you so? How have you changed as a result of your relationship with him or her?
  • What is the biggest challenge of your life? How did you overcome or how do you hope to overcome this challenge?
  • Education helps us to answer questions, and it also helps to recognize what questions we should be asking. Please name one or two significant questions that you have now, which you would like to be able to answer within the next five years. How will learning the answers to these questions affect your life?

3. Students who would like to participate in the program but who do not meet the above requirements may register for an Honors Course with special written permission from the faculty member who teaches the course.

What scholarships are available?

  • The Presidential Scholarship: A full scholarship for two years, the Presidential scholarship is offered to high school students with high grade point averages. In exchange, the student agrees to take five honors courses and participate in the honors program.
  • Additional scholarships are often available for Honors students who are transferring to four-year schools. Please contact the Honors Director for more information.

What kind of honors projects?

Have you seen the bins for recycling plastic bottles around campus? Those green tubs were born from a Biology honors seminar. Students collected data to support the need for and feasibility of establishing such a program, and presented their findings to a committee that included the president of the college, the director of maintenance, and the college’s chief financial officer.

During the 2004 election, honors students in English and sociology classes investigated international news coverage of events including the American election, and presented a symposium describing the reaction of the world community to the re-election of George Bush.

Communication honors students produced a film to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Chesapeake College, and were also key participants in organizing the first Intercultural Fair sponsored by communication classes.

Last year, English 102 students, in cooperation with the Writing Across the Curriculum Committee, designed and produced, The Beacon, the college’s first literary journal.

Honors Retreats

Our overnight weekend adventures take both faculty and honors students off campus for an opportunity to relax and learn in a fun environment. In the past three years, our retreats have included kayaking at Wye Island, Rock-Wall climbing at a nearby challenge course, and Camping and Whitewater Rafting in Harper’s Ferry. Our 2009 “City Retreat” included a trip to Washington DC to enjoy the many resources of our nation’s capital.


There are currently three ways to take honors course at Chesapeake:

  • Dedicated honors sections are offered each year, mostly in general studies courses like ENG 101 and 102, SOC 161, PSC 150, and HUM 101.
  • Tandem honors courses are offered in courses where a dedicated section may not fill. Students enroll in a regular section of a course, but participate in an additional seminar session. BIO 101 often runs in this format, with students from several different lab and lecture sessions meeting together on a regular basis.
  • Contract courses allow students to approach a professor in any class to contract for a special project that will earn honors designation. With instructor permission, interested students should download the contract form from this website and finalize project plans before the end of the first week of classes. Contracts must be submitted to the Honors Director by the second week of the semester.

Spring 2013

  • ENG 102: Introduction to Literature
  • PSC 150: General Psychology
  • HON 101: Honors Vision Seminar

Fall 2013

  • ENG 101: Composition
  • SOC 161: Sociology
  • HIS 101: American History
  • HUM 101: Introduction to Humanities

Spring 2014

  • ENG 102: Introduction to Literature
  • PSC 150: General Psychology
  • HON 101: Honors Vision Seminar

Click here to search for sections


** Other Honors Courses (Computer Science, for example) are available by contract! Please talk with your advisor or the Honors Coordinator: Dave Harper
Phone: 410-822-5400 x326

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Questions? Please contact the Honors Director for help. Email Dave Harper or call: 410-822-5400 x2326 C202B

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