Skip to main content

Honors EXCEL Program Details

About the 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.

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.

Admission for Fall 2022 admission closed Monday, April 22, 2022. More information about Fall 2023 admission will be available this spring.

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.

Access the Honors Program Handbooks

Honors EXCEL Information Sessions

Looking for more information? We are more than happy to address your questions, to provide you with additional information about the program and the application process, and to support you as you design your project idea and application.


Applying to the Honors EXCEL program is a great decision for young professionals.

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

Program Details

Program Benefits

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

Honors EXCEL students are provided:

  • Opportunities to deeply pursue projects of academic and personal interest
  • Curricular and financial support for student projects
  • Mentorship from faculty in the discipline and from the Honors College program affiliates
  • Professional development through Personal or Professional Development Activities and seminars
  • Connections with a community of Honors students
  • Priority registration for classes before the general population of students
  • Recognition at graduation, on the transcript and on the diploma

Student Eligibility

West Virginia University students from all specialties and fields of study (social sciences, STEM, the arts, the humanities, etc.) are invited to apply.

Students must meet the following requirements to be considered for the 2022 Honors EXCEL Program:

  • will be juniors by the Fall 2022 semester
  • will have at least 3 semesters remaining until graduation
  • have earned a GPA of 3.4 or greater
    • Students with GPAs between 3.0 and 3.4 may also apply, supported by a letter of recommendation from an academic adviser, or WVU faculty or staff.

Program Requirements

Students in the Honors EXCEL Program are expected to complete specific educational criteria.

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

  • 1-credit Project Development Course (HONR450)
  • 1-credit Honors EXCEL Capstone Course (HONR451)
  • 6-credits of experiential learning (2-3 semesters) in your major discipline or in the Honors College
  • Complete 5 personal and professional development activities (PPDA)* each semester in the program
  • Complete the following final requirements:
    • Submit a portfolio of out-of-class experiences
    • Participate in an exit interview to assess your Honors College Experience

Project Expectations

A strong project proposal:

  • is long-term (three-four semesters), innovative and appears feasible
  • is mentored by a WVU faculty or staff member
  • enhances a knowledge base or skill set already being developed or pursued by the student (either through coursework or through extracurricular activity
  • builds on prior work, research or scholarship & proposes appropriate methodologies, processes or practices
  • includes aspects unique to the student
    • This is based on credits and courses. No exceptions will be made for students who do not meet the GPA requirements.
  • has an expectation of positive impact on the community (broadly defined)

Otherwise, the theme and topic of your project idea are limited only by your imagination. For ideas and examples, check out the Project Inspiration page of the Honors EXCEL program.

My EXCEL experience has granted me confidence and opportunities I would have never expected to find. Through EXCEL, I have been granted the opportunity to study my academic interests at my own pace, and explore my heritage abroad. With the opportunities bestowed through this program, I have been able to lovingly toil on a project that honors my family’s journey to this country, and to respectfully illuminate the history, construction, and devotion of the beloved country and region they left behind for new life.

Ian Dotson

History, Class of ’24

Suggested Timeline

A helpful guideline for Honors EXCEL students to stay on schedule with their projects.

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 developed in the Project Development course (HONR450), enhanced through personal and professional development activities (PPDA) and will culminate in the Honors capstone (HONR451).

Here is a proposed timeline to help students plan ahead for the process of submitting their request, allowing ample time for a dialogue between Honors EXCEL staff, the instructor and the student to occur prior to final approval for the proposed experiential learning course.

  1. Before Starting the Program

    • Identify a mentor
    • Discuss your ideas with your mentor and academic advisor
    • Apply for the program
  2. First Semester in Honors EXCEL

    • Complete HONR 450
    • Complete 5 Personal or Professional Development Activities (PPDA)
    • Throughout the semester students should meet with their project mentor, begin background research, and learn techniques necessary for their project. They should define the scope, methods and intended impact of their project. Students should also meet with their academic advisor to choose experiential learning courses.
    • At the end of the semester, submit a project strategic plan, PPDA reflection, and funding report
  3. Middle Semesters in Honors EXCEL

    • Complete 6 credits of approved experiential learning (total)

    • Complete 5 PPDA each semester

    • Throughout the semester students should meet with their project mentor, and check in with their program affiliate. Continue work on their project, reflecting and adapting as necessary. Students should also file for IRB if needed, and request Honors EXCEL funding.

    • At the end of each semester, students should submit project progress reports, a PPDA reflection, and a funding report.


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

Learn More

Honors EXCEL Projects and Credits

Learn more about how students can successfully navigate the Honors EXCEL program.

Honors EXCEL Projects

Honors EXCEL projects are as ambitious as they are diverse. These projects are at the heart of the experiential learning program. Learn more about these projects at the page below.

Read More: Honors EXCEL Projects

Honors EXCEL Experiential Learning Credits

Honors students are required to complete experiential learning credits. Learn more about what this credits consist of and how they can be earned by visiting the page below.

Read More: Honors EXCEL Experiential Learning Credits

Honors EXCEL Information Sessions

Honors EXCEL information sessions are a great opportunity for students to learn more about the Honors EXCEL program and get feedback on their projects. See times and dates for upcoming sessions by visiting the page below.

Read More: Honors EXCEL Information Sessions

Complete the Program

See the necessary steps to complete the Honors EXCEL program and receive recognition after graduation

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 all requirements
  • Submit a final project product
  • Complete the Honors EXCEL exit interview (sent to students via email by Vickie Sigley)
  • Apply for Honors recognition

Students can visit the Graduating Honors Page for more information on how to receive recognition and complete their program.

Visit the Graduating Students Page