North Central College’s prestigious College Scholars Honors Program brings together high-achieving undergraduates pursuing any major and connects them through a network of peers, faculty and alumni.


Honors Program


Undergraduate Admission

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Being a College Scholar at North Central means much more than just taking honors courses. You’ll join a community of excellence -- a network of peers, faculty and alumni.

Learn more about the College Scholars Honors Program.

The Honors Program is designed for high-achieving undergraduates pursuing any major. It will engage you in a different kind of learning centered on working with others, global literacy, examining contemporary topics using the perspectives of multiple disciplines, and rigorous undergraduate research.

As a College Scholar, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Learn from other Scholars in small, discussion-based honors courses.
  • Live in centrally-located Ward Hall, a residence hall only available to students in the honors program.
  • Conduct and present independent research.
  • Receive one-on-one advising when applying for prestigious national scholarships like Rhodes, Fulbright, Truman and Goldwater awards.
  • Study abroad and complete research internationally or in other parts of the United States.
  • Develop close relationships with other high-achieving students through a shared residence hall and a variety of social, cultural and intellectual events.

You will graduate from the program with an enhanced academic profile and be well prepared for the next step in your career—whether that be joining the workforce, graduate school, or a competitive service program like Teach for America.

College Scholars Honors Program

The College Scholars Honors Program provides high-achieving students from all academic disciplines the opportunity to expand and demonstrate their knowledge beyond the classroom. The program complements a student's major studies and progressively layers camaraderie, academics, leadership and exploration to form a community of excellence. College Scholars graduate with an enhanced academic profile and are well-prepared for the next step in their careers.

Each student in the program who completes the curriculum and maintains both a cumulative GPA and an honors GPA of 3.00 or higher is recognized as a "College Scholar" at commencement and on all official transcripts distributed by the Office of the Registrar.

For additional information on this program, see Honors.

Program Requirements

A minimum of 16 credit hours, including:

  • CARD 101 - First-Year Seminar - Writing (students must enroll in honors section)

    CARD 101 - First-Year Seminar - Writing

    4.00 credit hours

    Introduces students to the composition process that helps them succeed in college. While particular attention is given to the written mode of composition, students develop the ability to read and think as researchers in multiple modes. Course content focuses on "sense of place." Assignments explore place in relation to regional, national and/or global settings. Using this theme, students develop their ability to compose persuasive arguments and adapt messages to different audiences in various contexts. Attention is also given to the college transition as well as connecting to the campus and local communities.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • HONR 300 - Thesis Practicum

    HONR 300 - Thesis Practicum

    2.00 credit hours

    Students design honors thesis projects. Through readings, class discussions and short assignments, students develop their own thesis topic and complete a substantial "Thesis Proposal" in fulfillment of an honors program requirement.


    College Scholar and Sophomore standing.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • HONR 400 - Honors Thesis (a total of four credit hours required)

    HONR 400 - Honors Thesis

    1.00-4.00 credit hours

    Culminating project for the College Scholars Honors Program. The honors thesis reflects "peer reviewed" work in a particular discipline or "peer reviewed" interdisciplinary scholarship. College Scholars select a thesis director and second reader to guide and assess the thesis project. Students are required to participate in thesis workshops coordinated by the honors program.


    College Scholar and Junior standing.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • HONR 450 - Honors Culminating Experience: Excellence Through Community

    HONR 450 - Honors Culminating Experience: Excellence Through Community

    2.00 credit hours

    Through this culminating experience, College Scholars consider what it means to be a public intellectual by reading and discussing the work of academics outside of the academy across various disciplines. Students are exposed to best practices in community-­engaged scholarship, working in teams to address community-­based and internal institutional questions. Students also reflect on how their general education experience, honors experience and liberal arts education complement their disciplinary education.


    College Scholar; Junior or Senior standing.

    Schedule Of Classes


Four credit hours from the following:

  • HONR 290 - Topics (may be taken more than once)

    HONR 290 - Topics

    2.00 credit hours

    Intensive study of a disciplinary topic, designed to engage students' intellectual curiosity and to provide a highly enhanced liberal arts experience. Content varies by semester.


    College Scholar.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • IDEA 390 - Advanced Seminar

    IDEA 390 - Advanced Seminar

    4.00 credit hours

    An advanced level seminar that provides the opportunity for students to engage in the in-depth study of texts or other creative works associated with a major thinker, tradition or theme in intellectual history.

    Schedule Of Classes

Study Away

One of the following:

    • Study Abroad (full semester or May Term)
    • Chicago Term semester
    • National Collegiate Honors Council exchange semester
    • Washington DC semester
  • Additional

  • HONR 290 - Topics course

    HONR 290 - Topics

    2.00 credit hours

    Intensive study of a disciplinary topic, designed to engage students' intellectual curiosity and to provide a highly enhanced liberal arts experience. Content varies by semester.


    College Scholar.

    Schedule Of Classes

Prospective North Central Students 

If you are interested in applying to the College Scholars Honors Program, please contact your admission counselor. If you have already submitted your College Scholars application, complete the following step to finalize your application.

Letter of Recommendation

Please submit at least one letter of recommendation from a current or former high school teacher who can describe your critical thinking, communication, and leadership abilities, and give reasons for endorsing your application to College Scholars. This letter of recommendation should be sent to


Current North Central Students

If you are interested in applying to the College Scholars Honors Program during your first or second year at North Central, or if you recently transferred from another institution and are interested in applying, please contact Professor Kristin Geraty, Director of College Honors Programs at or check out our information on CardinalNet.

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