2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog


The John V. Roach Honors College

The Honors College Description

The Honors College holds as its central purpose and philosophy the stimulation and encouragement of academic activity at the highest level. It strives to bring together dedicated faculty and highly-motivated students who share a commitment to the finest qualities of scholarship. Through collaboration with all schools and colleges of the University, the Honors College provides opportunities for the intellectual growth and fulfillment of students and faculty members in all disciplines.

Honors College's Mission

Dedicated to enriching the intellectual life of TCU, the John V. Roach Honors College seeks to empower, inspire and motivate high-achieving students to become leaders in a global society.

To accomplish the mission, the TCU Honors College:

  • promotes self-discovery, critical thinking and a conscientious understanding of world cultures through rigorous academic endeavors and creative inquiry in the context of big questions, great ideas and relevant issues that transcend the curriculum; and
  • offers unique residential, curricular and co-curricular opportunities, fostering a community of scholars for whom vigorous engagement with local, national and global communities becomes a way of life.

Honors Student Pledge

As a member of the John V. Roach Honors College, I pledge to dedicate myself to intellectual inquiry, life-long learning, and critical thinking, to demonstrate personal and academic integrity, and to engage others in earnest and respectful discussion with an open mind.

Honors College Admission

Admission to the Honors College is by invitation only and is separate from general University admission. The Honors College normally extends an invitation to approximately the top 10 percent of students entering TCU each fall. Primary metrics include strength of the high school curriculum, SAT or ACT scores, high school rank (if applicable) and grades earned in academic courses.

A committee of TCU faculty and staff members examines each application in a threefold process: first, for admission to the University; second, for academic, merit-based scholarship support; and third, for invitation to the Honors College. The Honors College requires no additional application, and virtually all Honors students have excellent scholarship support.

Freshman, sophomore, and junior students with a minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA in at least 12 graded TCU hours are eligible and encouraged to apply for admission to the Honors College.

Honors College Curricula and Completion Levels

The Honors College offers a two-tiered curriculum, leading to three possible levels of Honors distinction.

Lower-Division Honors

Students who complete Lower-Division requirements while maintaining at least a 3.25 overall GPA earn the Kathryne McDorman Honors Scholar distinction.

To complete Lower-Division Honors, students need to fulfill five requirements; these five requirements include two Honors Cultural Visions courses (or an approved study abroad program) and three Honors Electives.

Cultural Visions (6 hours or equivalent)

To fulfill this requirement, you may take two Honors Cultural Visions Courses. You may also fulfill this requirement by completing an approved study abroad program, subject to the following stipulations:

  • a summer study abroad program fulfills one Cultural Visions requirement
  • a fall or spring semester study abroad program fulfills two Cultural Visions requirements
  • a summer Honors Abroad trip (e.g., Cultural Routes, Cultural Pathways, or Cultural Pilgrimages) fulfills one Cultural Visions requirement

Honors Electives (9 hours or equivalent)

To fulfill this requirement, you may take three Honors courses in any discipline. Other options for fulfilling this requirement include:

  • Advanced Placement (AP) exam score of 5 or an International Baccalaureate (IB) Higher Level score of 7
  • fulfillment of an Honors Course Enrichment Contract for a non-Honors class
  • successful completion of the Honors Contemporary Reading Symposium (CRS)

Upper-Division Honors

Students who complete Upper-Division requirements while maintaining at least a 3.5 overall GPA earn the Paul and Judy Andrews Honors Scholar distinction.

To complete Upper-Division Honors, students may pursue either University Honors or Departmental Honors, or both.

University Honors (12 hours)

To complete University Honors, students take four Honors Colloquia. Honors Colloquia are small, discussion-based courses in which professors challenge students to examine, think critically about, and analyze broad topics. Outside of class, students read a variety of assigned texts, which may include short stories, novels, poetry, and non-fiction. In class, they engage in thought-provoking discussions while trying to make sense of the human experience: past, present, and future. While participating in the four Honors Colloquia, students examine a range of social, cultural, philosophical, and metaphysical issues. Students pursuing University Honors sharpen their ability to think creatively and critically, analyze and solve problems, and articulate thoughts and ideas clearly. Course offerings include On Human Nature, Nature of Values, and Nature of Society, among others.

Departmental Honors (usually 6 hours but varies by department)

Students who pursue Departmental Honors complete a research or creative project in their major (or in their minor, with approval from the department chair or program director). Students who complete Departmental Honors hone their research and writing skills, work closely with faculty members who serve as mentors, think critically about the topic at hand, participate in creative inquiry, and plan, manage, and complete a large-scale academic project that culminates in the Departmental Honors Project. Senior Honors students present their projects publicly, and upon completion, the thesis is housed in the TCU Library.

Honors Laureate Distinction

Students who complete both Lower- and Upper-Division Honors earn the Honors Laureate distinction. To graduate as an Honors Laureate, students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.500 or higher.

Grade Requirements

To remain in good academic standing as a member of the college, a student must meet the following minimum GPA requirements:

  • completion of freshman year: 3.0
  • completion of sophomore year: 3.25
  • completion of junior year: 3.4
  • completion of junior year: 3.5

Students who fail to meet these requirements may reapply to the Honors College when they have attained the required GPA.

To graduate with an Honors distinction, students must earn a grade of “C-” or better in all courses applied to their Lower- and Upper-Division Honors requirements.

Pass/No-Credit Policy

Courses to fulfill Honors College requirements may not be taken on a pass/no-credit basis.