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Honors Experiential and Community Engaged Learning (EXCEL) Program

What is the Honors EXCEL Program?

The Honors College Upper-Division Experiential Learning Program (Honors EXCEL Program) supports WVU undergraduate students in experiential and community-engaged learning. Students will develop skills in leadership, project management, communication and collaborative scholarship. Students will create scholarly products appropriate to their project, while advancing the service mission of West Virginia University.

Why Honors EXCEL?

Experiential learning allows students to apply their knowledge and skills to projects they are passionate about. Students will take ownership of a project from design and implementation to presentation. Diving deeply into a project and communicating the work broadly builds and strengthens valuable skills for students, including project management, time management, interpersonal skills and communication. The Honors College will help students succeed through its mentoring, coursework and funding opportunities.

Students that complete the program will demonstrate competence, discipline, grit and independence. In the process, students will develop a unique set of skills and meet a network of peers and professionals that will make you competitive for professional/graduate schools and leadership positions in government and industry. Finally, students can make positive change locally, regionally and globally. 

Students in the program receive priority course registration. Students that complete the program will be highlighted at graduation and on their transcripts.

Eligibility and How to Apply

All West Virginia University students with a GPA of 3.4 or greater may apply to the Honors EXCEL program  in the spring of their sophomore year . Students with lower GPAs may apply with a letter of recommendation from their project mentor . Note that eligibility is not dependent on previous enrollment in the Honors Foundations program.     

Students will propose a project idea in their application. We expect that project ideas will be in the early stages and may not yet be fully developed. Priority will be given to projects that feature the following experiential values.

The project:

  • is long-term (several semesters), feasible and innovative.
  • represents an identifiable enhancement of a knowledge base or set of skills already being developed or pursued by the student, either via coursework or extracurricular activity.
  • builds on prior work, research or scholarship and proposes appropriate methodologies, processes or practices.
  • is mentored by a WVU faculty or staff member.
  • has an expectation of positive impact to a community (defined broadly) beyond the benefits to the student alone.
  • includes at least some aspects that are unique to the applicant. Although all projects will likely be collaborations with faculty, staff, community members and/or other students, all projects must demonstrate a sense of ownership by the student.
Honors EXCEL applications for Fall 2019 admission will be accepted from February 6 to April 15, 2019. To apply, visit the Honors EXCEL program application on the Honors College application portal. See full instructions on how to apply here.

For questions about the Honors EXCEL program or to set up a time to discuss project ideas, email   

Program Requirements

Students in the Honors EXCEL program will complete coursework and other requirements in 3-4 semesters.  

The bulk of the work will be completed through  six credits of experiential learning

Your project will be develope d in the Project Development course, enhanced through out-of-class experiences (OCEs) and will culminate in the Honors capstone.  

Read more about Honors EXCEL requirements and timeline.

Project Inspiration

Honors EXCEL projects are as diverse as the students that undertake them. 

All projects will have two things in common: they will have a clear tie to the service mission of the university and they will result in a work of scholarship appropriate to the project. The outlines on our Project Inspiration page will give ideas to get you started. Or, use the project library (under development this fall) to identify projects that need ambitious and talented students.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about the program? Find our list of frequently asked questions here.

Information for Faculty Mentors

If a student has asked you to serve as their faculty mentor, find more information here.

Resources for Current Honors EXCEL Students

Need to fill out a form for the Honors EXCEL program? You can find those forms here.