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Current EXCEL Participants

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.

Learn More About Honors EXCEL

There will be many opportunities throughout the Fall 2023 semester to learn more about the Honors EXCEL program, and to receive guidance and feedback on your ideas. 

Information Sessions

Need more information about the program? Meet with program staff and learn more about the benefits and requirements of the Honors EXCEL program.


Once you have a basic project idea, attend a workshop to receive guidance developing your project proposals through thinking about the history and context of your project ideas, who will help you with your project, and how your project will benefit others. 

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 or fall of their junior 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.
Students are strongly encouraged to contact us for feedback on your project idea, and for assistance with preparing your application for Fall 2023.

To apply, visit the Honors EXCEL program application on the Honors College application portal.
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. Learn more about earning experiential learning credits here.

Your project will be developed in the Project Development course, enhanced through  personal and professional development activities (PPDA)*  and will culminate in the Honors capstone with the guidance of one of our outstanding Program Affiliates. Meet our 2022-2024 Program Affiliates here.

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

*Previously called out-of-class experiences (OCEs)