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Honors College Programs & Majors Overview

Established in 2002, the Baylor University Honors College encompasses two distinct programs -- the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core and the Honors Program -- and two distinct majors -- Great Texts and University Scholars. The College brings together a community of students and faculty devoted to the love of learning, to the cultivation of wonder, and to pursuing life's most important questions. Students of the Honors College learn to see connections between different courses and disciplines, between what goes on in the classroom and the lives they pursue outside class, and between the life of the intellect and the life of faith.

Students enjoy a high level of interaction with our nationally recognized faculty. In small, writing-intensive courses, they develop the arts of verbal and written expression; they pursue creative projects and independent research; they participate in national and international conferences and in study-abroad programs across the globe. Students are thus prepared to enter both the job market and the most competitive graduate programs in law, medicine, and the humanities.

Students of the Honors College are members of one or more of our programs/majors. Entrance into the Honors College is by way of a program/major. Below is a brief description of each.

Watch our videos to learn more about each of our programs and majors!

Programs:

  • Baylor Interdisciplinary Core (BIC): The BIC is a unique, alternative way for students to explore Baylor's core curriculum. Instead of taking the University's traditional general education requirements (separate classes in English, history, religion, philosophy, and political science, for example), BIC students learn about these subjects through integrated coursework and active learning components, studying how these subjects intersect and influence the development of the world's cultures. Thus, students fulfill Baylor's general degree requirements by taking a challenging and integrated curriculum in which the interrelation of humanities, social sciences, and the physical sciences is demonstrated to provide context with which to better understand our world today. Fulfillment of the general education requirements is met through completion of World Cultures, Examined Life, World of Rhetoric, Social World, and Natural World sequences. BIC students advance through this coursework in a learning community focused on small group discussion and the reading of primary texts. For example, instead of reading about Plato, BIC students actually read Plato's works. And, because BIC courses are team-taught, students engage in class discussions with: (1) a professor from history about the historical context of Plato's work; (2) a professor from philosophy about the philosophical points Plato makes; and (3) a professor from English about the literary components of the work. Thus, The BIC curriculum substitutes for the core curriculum and gives students exposure to excellent professors passionate about their fields of study. The BIC curriculum is completed largely during the freshman and sophomore years at Baylor. BIC students represent many of the various majors offered at Baylor, and this diversity greatly enhances the BIC's small group discussions.
  • Honors Program: The Honors Program aims to extend and enrich the academic experiences of Baylor students pursuing both traditional and non-traditional (e.g., University Scholars or BIC) degrees. It does so by arranging special Honors classes -- including Honors sections of courses required for students' degrees -- in the first and second years of study; and then, during the junior and senior years, by facilitating student research. The curriculum of the Honors Program is flexible enough to accommodate students from a wide variety of the university's schools and departments; it combines some specifically required Honors courses with a required number of Honors courses chosen by each student, based on his/her interests and degree plan. Toward the end of the second year at Baylor, each Honors Program student begins moving toward the upper-division portion of the program's curriculum. This sequence is focused upon work on the hallmark of the program - the senior thesis. (Students who are enrolled in the Honors Program and who also are University Scholars majors submit only one senior thesis, not two.)

    The Honors Program and the BIC are complementary, allowing students to enroll in both (which many of our students do). View "How the Honors Program & BIC Work Together."

Majors:

  • Great Texts: Great Texts is offered as a major and minor. Students pursuing this path read foundational works of literature, theology, and philosophy -- from Antiquity to the present -- in small, dynamic, seminar-style classes. The curriculum aims to broaden each student's background in the liberal arts, teaching them how to think critically, ask questions, and sharpen their verbal and written communication skills...traits necessary for any future profession or graduate field of study. Many students choose a double-major in Great Texts as a complement to another more traditional course of study (e.g., the B.A. in Political Science, Biology, Classics or English). And, the Great Texts minor offers B.S. candidates the perfect opportunity to round out their education by receiving a solid grounding in the liberal arts.
  • University Scholars: This is the most selective undergraduate academic program at Baylor that generally accepts 50 students per incoming class, less than 2 percent of the University's entering students. Many University Scholars qualify as National Merit Finalists, and all consistently rank in the top 10 percent of their high school class, with an average SAT score near 1400. This major is for students who have a diverse range of interests. University Scholars take a variety of upper-level courses in areas such as history, classics, biology, art, film, music, biochemistry, English, languages, mathematics, etc. It is an opportunity to pursue an individualized course of study with the advice of a program director, in addition to taking a three-course sequence in Great Texts, creating an independent reading list, and submitting a senior thesis. (Students who are University Scholars majors and who also are enrolled in the Honors Program submit only one senior thesis, not two.)

No matter where you are or where you plan on going, the Baylor University Honors College is the place where you can grow and learn how to get there. If you're ready to take up the journey, submit your Baylor application, and then use your application ID to begin your Honors College application.