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Honors Foundations Program Details


About the Program

For first-time freshmen, this innovative two-year 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.

For in-depth and up-to date details about the Honors Foundations Program, review the Honors Foundations Program 2023-2025 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 Foundations Program Handbook


Admission to the Honors Foundation Program is just the start for Honors 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.

Apply Today

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.
  • 3.5+ GPA in Honors credits
  • 3.0+ cumulative GPA at time of program completion

Maintaining Good Standing

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

  • 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: Some standard Honors courses are special sections of standard classes with a reduced class size. These classes typically are more focused on open discussion and interaction. 

  • 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 a deep and meaningful educational experience (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: A cross-listed course can provide students with the opportunity for enriched content within the context of a larger course. Students in cross-listed Honors sections will meet at the same time as the regular course; however, the Honors section has a different syllabus with additional enrichment components. Ideally, these sections also allow Honors students to collaborate or interact in a meaningful way.

  • Independent Study/Research: Since the Honors Foundations program is primarily coursework based, students will be allowed to use a maximum of three credits of research to complete program requirements. Research courses include, but are not limited to HONR 297, HONR 397, HONR 497, HONR 498 or any discipline specific research course. Any research courses taken while enrolled in the Honors Foundations program can be used for a maximum of three credits (towards the 13 credit requirements) and will only count as one course (towards the 5-course requirement) regardless of the number of times taken. Please contact Associate Dean Clement with any questions.

  • Tutoring: Members of the Honors College can serve as tutors as part of the testWELL Learning Center. Tutors can earn Honors credit by taking HONR 201 (Peer Tutoring). 

  • Mentoring Honors 102: Members of the Honors College can serve as mentors, facilitators and teaching instructors for first-year students enrolled in HONR 102. Students earn Honors credit by taking HONR 402 (Foundations of Peer Mentoring) and HONR 490 (Teaching Practicum).

  • Honors Book Study Courses: Honors book study is a special one-hour course centered on an instructor-chosen book(s). Book study courses allow students to have a different kind of class experience that is almost entirely discussion. Past book studies have been led by university presidents, the Honors College Dean and distinguished faculty members. These courses can be full semester,  eight-weeks (starting at the beginning of the semester) or mid-semester.

  • Honors Credits for Specific Courses: Students who enroll ENGL 103 will receive Honors credit for this course.

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

Visit the Graduating Seniors page to take the exit survey and find more information about graduation.

Visit the Page