Honors/ Emerging Scholars Program

Central College’s Emerging Scholars Program presents academically high-achieving students with the opportunity to grow as intellectuals within a community of their peers. The components of the Emerging Scholars Program give students the flexibility to explore multiple disciplines as they advance their knowledge within a major discipline. Students who are accepted into the Emerging Scholars Program forge important mentoring relationships with faculty, and practice taking the initiative to pursue their own intellectual interests. In addition to the strictly academic elements of the Emerging Scholars Program, members are invited to attend special cultural and educational events programmed for them throughout the year.


The capstone of the Emerging Scholars Program is the Senior Honors Thesis, a significant research project spearheaded by the student, and supervised by two faculty members. In addition to offering unique opportunities for in-depth study, the thesis allows students to distinguish themselves when applying for graduate school, post-graduate scholarships and fellowships, and future employment.



Membership in the Emerging Scholars Program is by application only. Students who have at least a 3.500 Central College cumulative grade point average are eligible to apply.


Students may apply after completing at least one semester as a full-time student at Central College; students must be accepted into the program at least three semesters prior to graduation, or no later than the first semester of their third year. If at any time the student falls below the 3.500 minimum GPA they must raise their GPA by the following semester to at least a 3.500 cumulative GPA to remain in the program.



For a student to earn an Honors designation on their transcript the following components of the Emerging Scholars Program must be successfully completed:


  • Two Honors Seminars (HONR 191 or HONR 391)
  • Two Honors Enrichments or directed/independent study approved by the Honors Program Coordinator
  • A Senior Honors Thesis
  • A 3.500 cumulative GPA or above at the time of graduation

Honors Seminars* are one-credit courses taught by different faculty on campus in which students are grouped together from a variety of disciplines to explore topics at an advanced level.  In addition, students may opt to add Honors Enrichment Credit* to courses in which they have special interest.  In doing so, the student has the opportunity to work closely with a professor and pursue a topic in the course at an advanced level. The Senior Honors Thesis is a year-long capstone experience focused on an area of special academic interest, often relating to the total educational experience. To complete this work, students choose and work closely with a faculty mentor to formulate, research, create, and present a comprehensive and cohesive project. Completion of these components culminates with a ceremony in which each student is formally recognized and presented with a medallion to wear at commencement.


*In addition to accepted students in the Emerging Scholars Program, any students with at least a 3.500 cumulative GPA or entering first-year students with at least a 3.750 high school GPA or who finish in the top 5% of their class are eligible to take Honors Seminars and Honors Enrichment Credits.


For more information, on any of the components of the Honors program, contact the Honors Program Coordinator at honors@central.edu.