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Honors Foundations Toolkit

About the Program

For first-time freshmen, this innovative two-year Honors program is designed to enrich students’ first years on campus, particularly in their general education courses and introductory courses in their major. Students apply to this program between mid-fall and early May of their senior year of high school. There are also ways for some first-year transfer students and WVU freshmen to apply to the program.

The Honors Foundations program provides ample support to encourage you to take intellectual risks, make discoveries, explore the world around you, participate in exciting cutting-edge research projects, engage in community-based learning, and find your passion.

The Honors College is an interdisciplinary college that offers customized learning pathways for students who seek to enhance their education with academically “different” types of experiences.

Our courses are active, hands-on learning laboratories where students can enhance their skills. Students should select Honors courses that will challenge them and inspire them to ask questions, seek impossible answers, and delve into the unknown.

For in-depth and up-to date details about the Honors Foundations Program, review the Honors Foundations Program 2022-2024 handbook. Program details may vary by year and advisors should refer to the appropriate handbook for students by year of admission. Visit the page below to locate the appropriate handbook.

Honors Program Handbooks Honors Foundations Advising Reference


Admission to the Honors Foundations Program is an excellent opportunity for students.

Learn more about how first and second year students are admitted to the WVU Honors College Foundations Program and the steps they need to take once admitted to the college by reviewing the page below.

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Program Details

Program Benefits

Students in the Honors Foundations Program are granted a number of exclusive benefits.

Honors Foundations students are given access to:

  • Smaller sections of General Education Foundation (GEF) and introductory major courses

  • Access to innovative Honors courses that focus on enrichment instead of acceleration

  • Inclusion in an Honors community — including Honors housing, peer leadership opportunities and co-curricular programming—designed to make the large campus smaller

  • Organizations where you can connect with your fellow Honors students, such as the Honors Student Association, the Honors Students of Color Affinity Group, the Honors LGBTQ+ & Allies Affinity Group, and the First Gen Affinity Group.

  • Priority registration for classes before non-Honors students (in their cohort) while actively enrolled in the Honors Foundations program

  • Honors advising in their major

  • Peer tutoring and mentoring

  • Recognition at graduation and on their transcript

  • Opportunities to forge connections with other Honors students, advisors, faculty and staff members

Program Requirements

Students in the Honors Foundations Program are expected to complete specific coursework and educational criteria.

Students must meet the following requirements to complete the Honors Foundations Program:

  • 13 Honors credits, 5 Honors courses, 3.5 Honors GPA, AND 3.0 Cumulative GPA, ideally across four semesters. This must include HONR 102.

Maintaining Good Standing

  • After year one: 4 Honors credits, 2 Honors courses (incl. HONR 102), 3.0 Honors GPA, AND 3.0 Cumulative GPA

    • The 3.0 Honors GPA and 3.0 Cumulative GPA are required minimum GPA’s to stay in good standing after the first year.
    • Students are removed from the program if they don’t meet this requirement.
  • To extend after year two: 10 Honors credits, 4 Honors courses, 3.5 Honors GPA, 3.0 Cumulative GPA

    • This is based on credits and courses. No exceptions will be made for students who do not meet the GPA requirements.

Earning Credits

The Honors Foundations program is a two-year Honors program designed to enrich students’ first years on campus.

Students can earn Honors credit via the following course types:

  • Traditional Courses: Most standard Honors courses are special sections of standard classes with a reduced class size (less than 30) and a specially selected Honors faculty member. These classes typically are more focused on open discussion and interaction. These courses are also small in size and are lead by an Honors instructor.

  • Honors Foundations Courses: These special-topics Honors courses are developed to meet GEF goals. Participating faculty typically work through the Honors Faculty Fellows program and teach one section per semester of their proposed course.

  • Add-On Courses: Students may register for a non-Honors course while also registering for an Honors add-on section for that particular class. Add-on sections delve further into coursework. By completing the regular course and the Honors add-on requirements, students receive Honors credit hours equivalent to the number of hours offered for the regular course (typically 3 hours).

  • Contract Courses: Students may also receive credit for a non-Honors course by contracting it as an Honors courses. By adding some additional course requirements (usually through more intense reading requirements, a special paper, and/or a final project), students receive Honors credit for the non-Honors course. In order to do this, students should contact their professor very early in the semester to fill out a contract form online (see Contract Course Information). The form, when completed, will be reviewed on a rolling basis up until the Friday of week 7 of a given semester.

  • Cross-Listed Honors Section: For smaller courses that do not have a critical mass of Honors students to support a whole section, a cross-listed course can provide an option to add enriched content for a smaller segment of the whole course. For example, a course that usually enrolls 50 could have section 001 enroll 45 students and section H01 enroll 5 Honors students. Both sections meet together, but the Honors section has a different syllabus with an additional enrichment components. Ideally, such sections would also provide an opportunity for Honors students to collaborate or interact in some meaningful way.

  • International Study/Study Abroad: Students who do a study abroad experience (defined as outside the fifty US states) for WVU may apply to have this count as Honors credit. Since we want to encourage study abroad, these petitions are almost always approved. Students are asked to keep a journal (or online blog) and write a reflection paper about their time abroad to document the experience. Faculty-led programs can facilitate this credit by building this work into the syllabus .

  • Independent Study/Research: First and second year Honors College students enrolled in the Research Apprenticeship Program (RAP) can earn Honors credit by taking HONR 297 (1 credit) or discipline specific 497/498 courses for a maximum of 3 credits. This course is repeatable up to three times for a total of three credits. However, if repeated the course will still only count as one course out of the required five distinct courses for Honors Foundations Program completion, fulfilling between 1-3 credits depending on how many times it is repeated. Contact the Office of Undergraduate Research for more information on this program.

  • Tutoring: Members of the Honors College can serve as peer leaders/tutors. Tutors make their services available to the University. See more information on testWELL Learning Center locations and hours here.

  • Mentoring Honors 102: Members of the Honors College can serve as mentors, facilitators, and educators for first-year students enrolled in HONR 102. Learn more about the program here.

  • Summer Guided Reading: Summer guided reading courses are most frequently taken by students who are second semester admits or students who need to catch up on Honors hours for one reason or another. These courses are offered over the summer and students most often do not need to be on campus to take the class. Each summer guided reading course varies depending on the subject and the instructor.

Student Resources & Opportunities

Locate helpful resources and opportunities for Honors students including internship and research opportunities, tutoring and mentoring programs, and so much more.

Learn More

Complete the Program

The Honors Foundations program is a two-year Honors program designed to enrich students’ first years on campus.

In the semester a student will be finishing the Honors Foundations program, they will need to complete an Honors recognition application and an exit survey. To satisfactorily complete the program, students must meet appropriate final requirements:

  • Complete five Honors courses/13 Honors credits (including HNR 102: Introduction to Honors)

  • 3.5+ GPA in Honors credits

  • 3.0+ cumulative GPA at time of program completion

Direct students to the Graduating Honors Page for more information on how to receive recognition and complete their program.

Visit the Graduating Seniors Page