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Undergraduate Honors Program FAQs


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What is the Scholar in the World?

The Honors Program Scholar in the World at Dominican University of California is a distinctive and enriched General Education curriculum.  Honors students enroll in Honors seminars spread out over four years that fulfill specific General Education requirements and culminate in an Honors senior thesis in the discipline of the major.  The program promotes holistic development of scholars with global perspectives.  It emphasizes interdisciplinary seminars, colloquia, and independent study.  Through these courses and co-curricular activities students are educated to be creative learners, critical thinkers, writers, and responsible citizens of the world.  The program’s foundations rest on the four ideals of Dominican education: study, service, community, and reflection.  Honors seminars involve students in active learning, challenging them to make the Four Ideals of Dominican’s Scholar in the World their own. 

How do students enter the Honors Program?

First year entering students are invited into the Honors Program on the basis of a high level of past academic performance (minimum 3.50 cumulative) and a combined SAT entrance exam scores of 1150 or ACT score of 26.  Applicants write an essay demonstrating clarity of thought and potential as a scholar.  Helpful but not required are Honors or AP courses taken in high school.  Students may be also be accepted into the Honors Program as sophomores or at the beginning of their junior year.   Any student who feels she/he can succeed at and benefit from the Honors work is welcome to speak to the Honors Program Director about participating.

My major is very demanding, can I still be involved in the Honors Program?

All majors at Dominican University of California have been and are represented in the Honors Program.  The required Honors courses fulfill university general education requirements in the thematic areas of : first year foundations (World and Scholar seminars), social science (international or multicultural experience), religion (World Religions), moral philosophy/ethics (Ethics in Service: Self and Community), and cultural heritage (Social Justice and Global Community).

What are the requirements for becoming an Honors Program Scholar in the World?

To become an Honors Program Scholar in the World, a student must have

  • Maintained a 3.50 cumulative index 
  • Complete the required honors seminars 
  • Complete an acceptable Honors senior thesis
  • Complete a total of 16 units in the Honors Curriculum, this includes courses that were completed with an Honors Contracts 
  • Attend Honors Lecture Seminars, 2-3 are provided each semester and attendance is tracked

On the official transcript, both the award (Honors Program Scholar in the World) and the title of the Honors Thesis are recorded.

May I participate in the Honors Program if I do not want to become an Honors Program Scholar?

No. Honors Students have a distinctive curriculum that fulfills the university’s general education. 

What are Honors Seminars?

Taught by faculty across the University, Honors Seminars are small, interdisciplinary, discussion-oriented courses.  The seminars’ rigor and depth stimulate, conceptually challenge, and intellectually stretch highly capable students, encouraging them to perform at the highest level of excellence.  Normally, there is one seminar per semester during the student’s fours years at Dominican. 

May non-honors students enroll in the Honors City as Text course?

Yes. Each year’s the Honors program focuses on a different geographical area and combines travel with an in-depth exploration of the history, culture, and contemporary economic and social issues related to the city/country under study. In March 2008, this course was centered in Thailand and Vietnam. In 2009 the course was for Berlin & Prague. Previous City/Country as Text explorations have been to Paris, London, Northern Italy, Southern Italy and Sicily, Greece, and India. Our most recent explorations include Ireland in 2013 and Italy in 2014.

What are Honors Contracts?

The Honors Contract documents the projects which ADC students propose and construct in lieu of an Honors course.  The student projects are guided by faculty mentors. 

What are some benefits of participating in the Honors Program?

Some of the short-term benefits include:

  • Use of the Honors Center, in Library 209 
  • Priority registration and priority housing for active honors students
  • Participating and taking leadership roles in Honors Board and other activities offered. Take a look at our positions! 
  • Participating in the Honors trip abroad and the course provided prior to the trip providing them with their Multicultural/International Experience requirement
  • Other Honors Program extracurricular activities: Relay for Life (Fast Flippers 2014), Sandwich Socials, Senior Awards Ceremony. 
  • Honors students are allowed to take more than six independent study units (the university limit) during their academic career at Dominican. This is where students would need to fill out a Tuition Adjustment and turn it into Dr. Spain's Office, Room 128 in the Science Building. 
  • As upper class students, they may take a graduate course (with permission of Honors Director and the Graduate Program). 
  • When an Honors student is registered for an Honors Seminar, registration is without additional fee if the student registers for over-hours; this over-hours privilege can be taken twice during the four years at Dominican. The privilege is available after a student has completed two semesters at Dominican and has a cumulative GPA 3.5.  

One long-term benefit can be an enhanced preference at graduate schools. Admission committees are impressed by those who choose to follow the more challenging path of an Honors Program.  Current research indicates that employers are also looking for graduates who have excelled in programs that stress independent, analytical thinking.  Many students have attended and presented their research at national meetings such as National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC), National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), and at discipline specific meetings.  Two of the greatest rewards of being involved in the Honors Program are the intellectual excitement one experiences on the way and the sense of personal satisfaction received from a job well done.  A student who successfully completes the Honors Program “Scholar in the World” has this sense of recognition.

How does the Honors Program Scholar in the World relate to the University’s other honors categories (e.g., Dean’s List and honor societies)?

The current grade-point related HONORS designations (Dean’s list, cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude) and membership in honor societies (e.g., Alpha Chi, Lambda Delta, Alpha Sigma Lambda) remain available to all students at the University. Graduation as an Honors Program Scholar in the World depends not only on grade-point average, 3.5 or above, but also on the completion of the required Honors Seminars, the Honors thesis, and the portfolio.

If you have questions:

Dr. Diara Spain       
Director Honors Program   
Office: Science Center 128    
Phone: 415.257.1343 

If you are a student currently attending Dominican and wish to apply send your Application Form to:

Alexa LoGiudice
Honors Program Administrative Assistant  

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