Honors Scholar Program

Elevate Your Education and Graduate from Truman with High Distinction

The Honors Scholar Program recognizes high-performing and motivated students who wish to distinguish themselves beyond Truman’s already high standards by pursuing an even more academically challenging path.

Instead of the introductory-level courses in liberal arts and sciences disciplines, Honors Scholar students can select from a list of courses that explore in-depth topics that encourage a more sophisticated viewpoint.

  • ALL Truman students are eligible to participate in the Honors Scholar Program
  • Honors Scholar courses come from outside a student’s own major/s
  • Honors Scholars receive recognition on their diplomas and transcript along with an Honors Scholar medal

Honors Scholars MedallionHonors Scholar Medallion

Virtus stands for moral excellence and courage; it requires active expression of a sound intellectual basis. Rather than a one-time act of bravery, it stands for the product of the habit of disciplined, honest, and just living.

Dignitas is the worthiness that a person earns and continually maintains. It is a public recognition of the qualities that set certain people apart from others and relates to an active life of civic service.

Program Requirements

Professor and graduate shaking handsAs an Honors Scholar, you will be required to:

  • complete five approved Honors Scholar courses in the areas of mathematics, science, humanities, and social science (with at least one course from each area)
  • earn at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA overall and in these five courses. Only grades of “A” and “B” may count toward the 3.5 minimum grade point average requirement in the five approved Honors Scholar courses.

A fundamental caveat for the Honors Scholar Program is that students go beyond the minimum major requirements for graduation.

Students who complete a single undergraduate major may not satisfy Honors Scholar requirements with any course in their major. (For example, a student whose only major is mathematics may not use any course carrying the MATH prefix to satisfy Honors  Scholar requirements.)

Students who complete two or more majors may use any approved course to satisfy Honors Scholar requirements except for the course(s) required by both majors and their required support areas.

No credit toward becoming an Honors Scholar shall be given for high school courses or transfer courses (including AP, CLEP, Study Abroad credit or substitutions) unless approved by the Honors Scholar Committee. Also, only courses with three or more credits may count toward becoming an Honors Scholar.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most common questions we receive about the Honors Scholar Program at Truman:


AP and CLEP courses have not been accepted as substitutions for Honors courses.  Note, however, that some Honors courses have prerequisites which the AP or CLEP may meet.  In other words, you may have a choice of courses that students without the prerequisite do not have.

Transfer Credit

Transfer credit from other universities has only very rarely been accepted.  This is not because these transfer courses may not be good courses in their own right (and may transfer as a Truman course designated as approved for the Honors Scholar Program), but instead because those courses do not typically offer the opportunities for interactions between students and faculty with the variety of liberal arts interests that we commonly see in Truman’s honors courses.  Again, you may be able to take a more advanced course for the Honors Scholar Program by meeting a prerequisite.

Study Abroad

The Honors Scholar Program supports Study Abroad and substitution credit has been granted for some Study Abroad coursework, especially in Humanities or Social Science.  The maximum credit allowed is towards fulfilling one Honors course (3 hours).  The substitution may not have to be for the equivalent of a specific Honors course.

To request a substitution, contact a member of the Honors Scholar committee.  If the committee determines that the request deserves further examination, you will be asked to submit a course syllabus/syllabi, a transcript, and a cover letter explaining how you believe your experience fulfills an Honors Scholar requirement.  Sometimes students also submit major papers or work done for their courses.

Students may (double) count approved Honors courses (unless they are in their major discipline) that also are designated as fulfilling Dialogues or minor requirements.

Students may NOT count courses in their major discipline towards the Honors Scholar Program unless they are a double major. That is, students may not count any course with their major discipline prefix (e.g. ENG) or that counts towards the actual (30 + hours) major.

STAT 290 can count for all majors (including math).

Courses outside of the major prefix used as Required Support and BS Requirements, etc., can count in most cases.  Certain disciplines have restrictions on counting the following courses: MATH 263, 264, CHEM 130, (CHEM 421 for biology majors if used for their major) and PHYS 185, 186, 195, and 196.  For example, PHYS 185-186 cannot count for other majors that require it; these majors may usually count PHYS 195-196 for Honors designation.  If you have a question, consult the Honors Scholar Program committee member in that area.

By major:

  • Ag science: can NOT count CHEM 130; CAN count PHYS 185, 186
  • Biology: can NOT count CHEM 130, PHYS 185, PHYS 186; CHEM 421 if used as an elective for the biology major BS students CAN count any BS requirement honors courses (including CHEM 131, PHYS 195, 196)
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: can NOT count PHYS 185, PHYS 186, or any CHEM or BIOL course used to fulfill major requirements or required support; CAN count PHYS 195 and PHYS 196
  • Business: ECON courses can only count if they are not used to fill major or required support areas. Once those requirements are met, additional ECON courses may be counted.
  • Chemistry: can NOT count MATH 263, 264, PHYS 185, 186; CAN count STAT 290, PHYS 195, 196 and any honors Biology courses
  • Computer Science: can NOT count MATH 263, CHEM 130, PHYS 185, or PHYS 195 if counted toward the major CAN count CHEM 130, PHYS 185, or PHYS 195 if not used to fill a major requirement; CAN count MATH 200, 264, 285, BIOL 200, 300, CHEM 131, PHYS 196, and STAT 290
  • Exercise Science: can NOT count CHEM 130 or PHYS 185 if they are required, as for pre-med; CAN count CHEM 131, PHYS 186, 195, 196
  • Math: can NOT count CHEM 130 or PHYS 195 if counted toward the major; CAN count CHEM 130 or PHYS 195 if not used to fill a major requirement; CAN count STAT 290, CHEM 131, PHYS 195, 196
  • Physics: can NOT count MATH 263 or 264; CAN count MATH 365 and honors Biology and Chemistry courses EXCEPT: CHEM 130

By course:

Note: No major can count a course in its own discipline. (e.g. Chemistry majors cannot count any CHEM course).

  • MATH 263 can NOT count for Chemistry, Computer Science, or Physics majors
  • MATH 264 can NOT count for Chemistry or Physics majors
  • CHEM 130 can NOT count for Ag Science, Biology, Computer Science, or Physics majors
  • CHEM 131 CAN count for all majors (except Chemistry)
  • CHEM 421 can NOT count for Biology (if used as elective for the Biology major)
  • PHYS 185-186 can NOT count for Biology, Chemistry, or Exercise Science (if required) majors CAN count for Ag science
  • STAT 290 CAN count for all majors

You can search the Open Course List in TruView.

  1. Go to Course List.
  2. Choose the Term and click on Submit button.
  3. Select Subject (to search ALL subjects, click on the subject at top of list and drag down to the bottom of the list to highlight all subject areas)
  4. For Attribute Type, select Honors Scholar.
  5. Click on Class Search button.

NASC 400 is every fall
NASC 401 is every spring
MATH 455 is every other fall
MATH 456 is every other spring only

Check the catalog for prerequisites for particular courses. Some general notes:

  • Mathematics:  All the MATH courses require at least MATH 198 except MATH 455 and 456: History of Mathematics.
  • Science: Most of the science courses have prerequisites (some in MATH) except NASC 400 and 401.
  • Humanities:  French, German, Greek, Japanese, Latin, and Spanish courses have prerequisites. The Russian courses, ART (except ART 329), and the Philosophy and Religion courses do not have prerequisites.  English courses require ENG 190 and recommend ENG 209; theater courses require THEA 275.  COMM 390 requires COMM 357 or classics major status.  Most of the MUSI courses have prerequisites.
  • Social Science: Geography and Political Science courses do not have prerequisites. ECON 205 does not have a prerequisite; the other ECON courses do. Most of the history courses do not have a prerequisite; a few require sophomore standing or other prerequisites. The SOAN courses require at least 191.

  1. Let us know that you are interested in participating in the program by filling out our Interest Form.
  2. Explore the list of Honors Scholar courses available. Choose the courses that are most interesting to you in each area (many Honors Scholar courses have prerequisites or co-requisites; refer to individual course descriptions for specific details).
  3. Working with your advisor, develop a plan to include five approved courses in the areas of mathematics, science, humanities, and social science. Choose at least one course from each area.
  4. Excel with A’s and B’s in the Honors Scholar courses you have selected and earn at least a 3.5 GPA in those five courses.
  5. The semester before you graduate, download and print the graduation worksheet, fill in the courses you will be using to qualify as an Honors Scholar. If you are currently taking a course but have not yet completed the course, fill in the course name and semester and leave the grade blank.  Have the form signed by your adviser and a member of the Honors Scholar Committee.  Turn it into the Registrar with your “Intent to Graduate” Form after you have enrolled for your last semester.
  6. Participate in the Honors Scholar medal ceremony and graduate with Honors Scholar recognition on your diploma and transcript.

Your cumulative GPA is used for the 3.5 requirement for the Honors Scholar Program. It is the same one that is used for determining cum laude, etc.

Note: If your cumulative GPA is less than 3.5 as of your next to last semester, you will not be eligible to participate in the Honors Scholar medal ceremony. If after final grades, you do have a cumulative GPA meeting the required minimum 3.5, you will receive the Honors Scholar designation; you will be mailed the medal with the certificate, and you will be eligible to participate in the next medal ceremony, if you so desire.

Have questions about the Honors Scholar Program?

We’re here to help!

Please reach out to one of the Honors Scholar Committee members

Interest Form
Graduation Worksheet

Related Links
Honor Societies at Truman
Nationally Competitive Fellowships