2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog

The John V. Roach Honors College


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


Dedicated to enriching the intellectual life of TCU, the John V. Roach Honors College seeks to empower high-achieving students to become self-directed learners and engaged citizens in a global society.

To accomplish this, the 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
  • 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 John V. Roach Honors College requires completion of an online application in addition to the general TCU application. A faculty committee determines admission to the Honors College based on the supplemental application as well as high school GPA, strength of curriculum, SAT/ACT scores and other TCU application materials.

Admission to the Honors College is highly selective. While it is generally not required to have a specific minimum standardized-test score, applicants are helped by having SAT or ACT scores in the average range of prior years' honors first-year students. The fall 2017 cohort averaged 1480 on the SAT and 32 (composite) on the ACT.

Continuing and transfer TCU students interested in joining the Honors College may apply and be considered for admission after completing 12 graded hours at TCU with a 3.5 GPA or higher.

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, including 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 Exploration 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 (9 hours)

To earn University Honors, students must complete three Honors colloquia.

Honors colloquia are discussion-centered seminars in which professors and students explore questions of enduring significance in the context of multiple academic disciplines. The breadth of exploration enables students to forge new connections among disparate strands of their lives and their learning. Through conversations informed by intensive reading, reflective writing, and experiential learning, University Honors students gain a deeper understanding of themselves and their undergraduate education along with enhanced capacities for self-directed thought and collaborative inquiry.

Departmental Honors (usually 6 hours but varies by department)

To earn Departmental Honors, students must complete a research or creative project in their major (or minor, with approval from the department chair or program director).

Projects vary by field and discipline. Departmental Honors students spend two or more semesters with a faculty mentor, designing and carrying out a research project or creative work. Senior students present their projects publicly and submit them to the permanent archive of the Mary Couts Burnett 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 3.5 or higher.

Grade Requirements

To remain in good academic standing as a member of the Honors 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 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 pass/no-credit.