There are three different levels of awards a student may earn by participating in honors.
Most, if not all, credit hours earned for Honors will also count toward a student's general degree requirements. This allows your award(s) to be built into (rather than added on top of) the 120 credit hours required for most OSU majors.
The first, the General Honors Award, consists primarily of honors work within the student's general education courses and, in some instances, credit earned through experiential learning activities. Most students earn this award by the conclusion of the sophomore year.
As students begin to take more in-depth courses in their discipline, they start working on the College or Departmental Honors Award, which typically involves independent projects as they work one-on-one with faculty members in their field of study.
These two awards, plus three additional honors credit hours or points, complete the Honors College Degree.
Students may choose to complete only the General Honors Award, only the College or Departmental Honors Award, or all three awards. For additional information regarding award requirements, please see the following menu options.
- General Honors Award
This award is earned primarily while completing the general education requirements. The General Honors Award requires 18 honors credit hours with grades of "A" or "B" with a cumulative graduation/retention GPA of 3.50 or higher, as specified below:
Twelve Honors Hours Breadth Requirement (minimum of three honors hours per area from four of the following areas):
- Humanities (courses designated "H" or classified as humanities by the Honors College)
- STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics): Courses designated "A", "N", or classified as STEM by the Honors College
- Social Sciences (courses designated "S" or classified as social science by the Honors College)
- OPEN: Can be filled by repeating any of the above areas or through experiential learning. More information on our experiential learning program can be found by clicking here.
Two Honors Seminars or Interdisciplinary Honors Courses with a minimum total of four hours (which also may be used to satisfy a portion of the breadth requirement)--courses with HONOR prefix and other courses designated as honors seminars
Additional Honors Hours to Reach a Total of 18 Honors Hours
Transfer Honors Credit: Students may use up to 15 honors credit hours from other colleges and universities toward the requirements for the General Honors Award.
Students who earn the General Honors Award receive a certificate and the award is posted to their undergraduate transcripts.
- College or Departmental Honors Award
This award is earned in your major field of study and varies depending upon the college or department. In general, the College or Departmental Honors Award requires a minimum of 15 upper-division honors credit hours with grade of "A" or "B," including a 3-hour thesis prep and 3-hour thesis or creative component, with a cumulative graduation/retention GPA of 3.50 or higher. For honors awards in two majors, honors requirements for both majors--including a creative component in each--must be completed, with at least six upper-division honors hours beyond the first major.
Students who earn the College or Departmental Honors Award receive a certificate and the award is posted to their undergraduate transcripts.
- The Honors College Degree
The Honors College Degree is earned by completion of both the General Honors Award and the College or Departmental Honors Award with a minimum of 36 honors credit hours with grades of "A" or "B" and a cumulative graduation/retention GPA of 3.50 or higher at the time of graduation. Students earning the Honors College Degree are the only undergraduates who wear a baccalaureate hood at commencement ceremonies, they receive a special honors diploma, and the Honors College Degree is posted to their undergraduate transcripts.
Students may also earn the Honors College Degree with International Study Emphasis by completing one of several specified academic minors and an approved study-abroad experience. For further details, please consult our Policies and Procedures.