Paul Knox, Dean
Amy Arnold, Research Associate
Joan Banks-Hunt, Instructor
Lefter Daku, Assistant Dean of Finance
Kayla Dean, Fiscal Technician
Michelle Fleury, Communications Specialist
Paul Heilker, Director of the Honors Laureate Program
Neal Henshaw, Technical Director
Jared Keyel, Research Associate
Michelle Kovac, Calhoun Discovery Program Manager
Michael Kretser, Collegiate Assistant Professor
Stephanie Lewis, Collegiate Assistant Professor
Christina McIntyre, Director of Professional Development, National and International Scholarships
Heather Nolen, Business Manager
Pamela Pack, Program Support Specialist
Thanassis Rikakis, Founding Director of the Calhoun Discovery Program
Shahabedin Sagheb, Collegiate Assistant Professor
Russell Shrader, Director of Admissions and Scholarships
Alkan Soysal, Collegiate Associate Professor
Sara Vandyke, Chief of Staff
Anne-Lise Velez, Collegiate Assistant Professor, College of Architecture and Urban Studies
The Honors College seeks to inspire and facilitate an extraordinary undergraduate education for a diverse student body of exceptional motivation. Utilizing a flexible curricular framework with a strategic array of experiences, opportunities, and facilities, the College pioneers progressive, innovative approaches to undergraduate education that can be scaled up across the university.
First-year and transfer applicants indicate their interest in the Honors College on their Coalition application, which prompts further review by the Honors College. Rather than establishing a numerical minimum for GPA and test scores, the Honors College looks holistically at a first-year applicant's overall academic record and experiences. We value quality of engagement (rather than sheer quantity), self-awareness, reflection on involvement, and authenticity.
Transfer students are similarly considered, but they must have a cumulative GPA of 3.60 or better at their previous institution to be eligible for review.
Currently enrolled Virginia Tech students may apply to the Honors College at the end of each fall or spring semester provided they have achieved a 3.60 or better cumulative GPA and have at least four (4) semesters remaining at Virginia Tech before they graduate.
Most Virginia Tech Honors College students work toward an Honors Laureate Diploma. The Four Elements make up the foundation of an Honors Laureate Diploma. The Elements are 1) Honors College Curriculum, 2) Disciplinary Depth, 3) Transdisciplinary Capabilities, and 4) Undergraduate Research & Guided Experiential Learning. Students are required to earn at least six honors credits in elements two, three, and four. Students have the option to select a focus area for their Honors Laureate diploma as inspired by the Virginia Tech Destination Areas. This is an additional opportunity to individualize and enhance an Honors Laureate diploma and is not a requirement. These areas focus on particular themes with checksheets established in advance by the Honors College in collaboration with disciplinary departments. Students may select only one focus area.
Students working toward an Honors Laureate Diploma (HLD) must complete at least thirty (30) honors credits and earn honors credit at least once every twelve months. Courses taken for honors credit must be graded on the A–F scale unless P/F is the only option. Other requirements are as follows:
Get Your Plan Approved
Students are strongly encouraged to have their plan to earn an Honors Laureate Diploma approved by the Honors Peer Advising Center by the end of their first semester in the Honors College. A plan template (The Course of Study Planner) and guidelines are available through the Honors Credit Tracker in Canvas, which students gain access to upon their acceptance to the Honors College. Plan approval is the key to accessing Honors College opportunities, including some scholarships.
Meet the GPA Requirement
Students are required to achieve a 3.60 or better cumulative GPA after two traditional, consecutive semesters in Honors. A 3.60 or better cumulative GPA from the semester at Virginia Tech immediately previous to entering the Honors College may count toward this requirement.
The GPA Flex Period
Once students receive approval on their Honors Laureate Diploma plan and meet the initial GPA requirement, they automatically enter the GPA Flex Period. The GPA Flex Period is a time in which the Honors College no longer monitors cumulative GPA. This gives students the freedom to take academic risks that can become some of the most educational experiences.
Graduate with an Honors Laureate Diploma
Upon graduation, students in the GPA Flex Period must achieve a 3.30 or better cumulative GPA and complete honors diploma requirements.
Important note: students who never receive Honors Laureate Diploma plan approval and, therefore, never enter the GPA Flex Period are required to continue to maintain a 3.60 or better cumulative GPA after every semester until the planner is approved or upon graduation.
An honors diploma appears on the Virginia Tech diploma as a special designation and is not a separate document. Visit our website at https://honorscollege.vt.edu/Current/laureatediploma.html for more information.
Some prospective first-year students may be invited to interview for the Honors College Calhoun Discovery Program and work toward an Honors Collaborative Innovation Diploma. The Discovery Program combines a structured disciplinary education with an open-ended, collaborative, and transdisciplinary discovery process. There are several participating academic departments in the Discovery Program spanning engineering, science, business, design, arts, humanities, and policy. Students will collaborate with one another across disciplines, as well as work alongside our faculty, industry, and non-profit partners.
Students who complete the Discovery Program will graduate with a Bachelor's degree in one of the participating departments and an Honors Collaborative Innovation Diploma. All participating degrees incorporate the activities of the Discovery Program into their program of study without any added requirements.
To earn the Honors Collaborative Innovation Diploma, students need to complete 36 credits (18 credits in transdisciplinary studios and 18 credits in modules) throughout their four years in the Calhoun Discovery Program.
Transdisciplinary studios: students engage real-world problems through a collaborative process with the goal of innovating technology for societal impact. Faculty and students from all participating disciplines, as well as experts from our industry and non-profit partners, work together in the studios. Students take one semester-long collaborative studio in their first two years and one studio per semester in the third and fourth years of study.
Modules: over 40 one-credit Honors course modules cover key concepts in the participating disciplines related to collaborative technology innovation for societal impact. Students choose a minimum of 18 modules that best fit their interdisciplinary collaboration interests. All modules employ a flipped classroom format, combining rich faculty-student interactions both in person and online, which facilitates flexible scheduling. All modules count toward Pathways general education requirements. Visit the website for more information: https://honorscollege.vt.edu/cdp.html.
The Honors Peer Advising Center enables honors students to meet individually with trained Honors Peer Advisors to talk through processes and resources to answer Honors-related questions. The Honors Peer Advising Center also offers small-group workshops on topics of broad interest to honors students.
The honors staff also welcomes student appointments and walk-in visits. Each staff member has a distinct specialization with which they can assist students.
Furthermore, advising for major national and international scholarships is available through the Honors College for all Virginia Tech students.
Honors College students have two Honors community options: the Hillcrest Honors living–learning community houses about 100 students in Hillcrest Hall and the Honors Residential Commons houses about 320 students in East Ambler Johnston Hall. Both communities are multigenerational and multidisciplinary, housing first-year students to fifth-year seniors from all seven colleges at Virginia Tech.
Honors students are not required to live in an Honors living–learning program. Many students live off-campus or in other living-learning programs.
1504: PGS PSTUDY ABROAD PRE-DEPARTURE SEMINAR Orientation for Presidential Global Scholars (PGS) participants. Introduction to theories of culture and cross-cultural competence. Survey of Swiss culture, history, and politics. Introduction to PGS faculty and research interests. Development of individual research questions; transdisciplinary research on critical issues in U.S. contexts. Critical travel and safety information. (2H,2C)
1604: INTRODUCTION TO HONORS QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE RESEARCH PRACTICES Introduction to critical practices in undergraduate quantitative and qualitative research for Honors College students, including generating focused research questions, finding scholarly literature, organizing data, conducting ethical research, collaborative research practices, and identifying venues to present research findings. (3H,3C)
1984: SPECIAL STUDY Variable credit course.
2124: HONORS READING SEMINAR Reading based sections in which small groups of students practice discussion, debate, and argumentation grounded in a topic or genre of reading of their group’s choosing. Honors standing. Variable course content. Repeatable for up to six credits. Pass/Fail only. (1H,1C)
2504: TOPICS IN DISCOURSE AND GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP Discovery, analysis, creation, and evaluation of written, spoken, and visual presentation of ideas in cross-cultural contexts. Special attention to the relationship of rhetoric to effective participation in academic, professional, and public/civic problem-solving. Course cannot be repeated for credit. Co: 2524, 2534, 4994, 2554, 2544. (3H,3C)
2524: TOPICS IN NATURAL SCIENCES AND GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP Study of a specific branch of the natural sciences, especially as it intersects with public/civic controversies and problem-solving. Cross-cultural perspectives on the nature, purposes, and processes of scientific inquiry and knowledge. Course cannot be repeated for credit. Co: 2504, 2534, 4994, 2554, 2544. (3H,3C)
2534: TOPICS IN DESIGN, ARTS, AND GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP Study and practice in the process, meaning, and value of creative design and the fine and performing arts. Examination of historical context and methods of representation in artifacts and performances. Visual literacy and design thinking as means of exploring, engaging with, and representing cross-cultural experiences and perspectives. Functions of design thinking in everyday life. Course cannot be repeated for credit. Co: 2504, 2524, 4994, 2554, 2544. (3H,3C)
2544: TOPICS IN SOCIAL SCIENCE AND GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP Study of the behavior and actions of individuals, groups, and institutions within larger social, economic, political, and geographic contexts, especially in cross-cultural settings. Special attention to social beliefs and actions as they influence public/civic controversies and problem- solving. Examination of the influence of value and beliefs on human behavior and social relationships. Course cannot be repeated for credit. Co: 2504, 2524, 4994, 2554, 2534. (3H,3C)
2554: TOPICS IN HUMANITIES AND GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP Analysis and interpretation of texts and other artifacts to understand ideas, values, and identities in cross-cultural contexts. Special attention to the functions of narrative and rhetoric in public/civic controversies and problem- solving. Situating local/regional texts and artifacts in global frameworks. Course cannot be repeated for credit. Co: 2504, 2524, 4994, 2544, 2534. (3H,3C)
2604: INTERMEDIATE HONORS QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE RESEARCH PRACTICES Intermediate study of critical practices in quantitative and qualitative research for Honors College students, including identifying funding opportunities for research, collaborating across disciplines, designing introductory research protocols, managing research projects, and using posters to present research findings. Pre: 1604. (3H,3C)
2744: FOUNDATIONAL TOPICS IN COMPUTING IN TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION FOR SOCIETAL IMPA Foundational study of applications of computational thinking in technology innovation for societal impact. Key components of computing and their interrelation. Uses of computational thinking to frame questions and devise solutions. Implementation of simple computational processes and tools. Construction of computational models to analyze and draw inferences about complex and uncertain phenomena. Evaluation of knowledge based on quantitative data. Impacts of computing and information technology on society. Ethical dimensions of computing for technological and societal innovation. May be repeated 5 times with different content for a maximum of 6 credits. Pre: MATH 1014. (1H,1C)
2754: ADVANCED TOPICS IN COMPUTING IN TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION FOR SOCIETAL IMPACT Advanced study of applications of computational thinking in technology innovation for societal impact. Uses of computational thinking to frame questions and devise solutions. Application of computational processes and tools. Application and evaluation of computational models to analyze and draw inferences about dynamic and uncertain phenomena. Impacts of computing and information technology on society. Ethical dimensions of computing for technological and societal innovation. May be repeated 2 times with different content for a maximum of 3 credits. Pre: MATH 1225 or MATH 1524 or MATH 1535. (1H,1C)
2764: ADVANCED TOPICS IN ENGINEERING IN TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION FOR SOCIETAL IMPACT Study of applications of computer and systems engineering in technology innovation for societal impact. Application of computer and systems engineering processes and tools to analyze complex or large-scale phenomena. Application and evaluation of computer and systems engineering approaches to analyze and draw inferences about the feasibility and effectiveness of technological innovations. Impacts of computer and systems engineering on society and the environment. Ethical dimensions of computer and systems engineering for technological and societal innovation. May be repeated 2 times with different content for a maximum of 3 credits. Pre: 2744. (1H,1C)
2814: TOPICS IN SOCIAL SCIENCES FOR TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION FOR SOCIETAL IMPACT Threshold concepts in social sciences related to collaborative, transdisciplinary technology innovation for societal impact. Study of key ideas about the behavior of individuals, groups, and institutions related to technology innovation within larger social, economic, political, and geographic contexts. Use of key concepts in the social sciences to examine the ethical dimensions of technological and societal innovation. May be repeated 5 times with different content for a maximum of 6 credits. (1H,1C)
2824: TOPICS IN THE ARTS FOR TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION FOR SOCIETAL IMPACT Application of threshold concepts in the fine arts to collaborative, transdisciplinary technology innovation for societal impact. Study of key ideas for non-specialists about the formal elements, process, meaning, and value of the fine arts in technology innovation. Use of key concepts in the fine arts to examine the ethical dimensions of technological and societal innovation. May be repeated 2 times with different content for a maximum of 3 credits. (1H,1C)
2834: TOPICS IN HUMANITIES FOR TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION FOR SOCIETAL IMPACT Threshold concepts in the humanities related to collaborative, transdisciplinary technology innovation for societal impact. Study of key ideas and values related to technology innovation in various spatial, cultural, and temporal contexts. Use of key concepts in the humanities such as historical/cultural context and the nature of the good to examine the ethics of technological and societal innovation. May be repeated 5 times with different content for a maximum of 6 credits. (1H,1C)
2855-2856: CALHOUN TRANSDISCIPLINARY FUSION STUDIO Introduction to transdisciplinary, collaborative design processes to address real-world problems in technology innovation provided by clients from business, government, and nonprofit organizations. 2855: Collaborative problem-setting. Evaluative criteria for technology innovation: feasibility (can it be made?), viability (is it financially sensible?), desirability (do people want it?), and sustainability (can it work long-term?). Introduction to design thinking. Ethical dimensions of collaborative technology innovation for societal impact. 2856: Collaborative problem-solving. Introduction to quantitative and qualitative research methods. Optimization and integration. Design thinking and component prototyping. Ethical dimensions of collaborative technology innovation for societal impact. Design Lab/Studio. (2H,2L,3C)
2974: INDEPENDENT STUDY Variable credit course.
2984: SPECIAL STUDY Variable credit course.
3204: HONORS SERVICE LEARNING A two-part course. Part one: three hours a week working directly with community partners. Part two: a one-hour class to reflect on the service experience and discuss readings and other course materials that place the experiential learning into a theoretical context. Open to all Honors students. Variable course content. Repeatable for up to six credits. (1H,6L,3C)
3604: DESIGNING PROTOCOLS FOR HONORS QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE RESEARCH Advanced study of critical practices in quantitative and qualitative research for Honors College students, including transdisciplinary project management, refining research protocols based on feasibility of data collection, maintaining research ethics and integrity, planning for data collection, and planning for dissemination of research findings. Pre: 2604. (3H,3C)
3614: DATA COLLECTION & ANALYSIS FOR HONORS QUANTITATIVE & QUALITATIVE RESEARCH Continuing advanced study of critical practices in quantitative and qualitative research for Honors College students, including working with multiple types of data, collecting, cleaning and managing data, reporting of primary and secondary data, evaluating the work of others, and communicating conclusions to general audiences. Pre: 2604. (3H,3C)
3855-3856: CALHOUN TRANSDISCIPLINARY DESIGN STUDIO Intermediate study of transdisciplinary, collaborative design processes to address real-world problems in technology innovation provided by clients from business, government, and nonprofit organizations. 3855: Systems thinking and systems definition; identification and analysis of stakeholders; skills discovery and transdisciplinary team building; rapid prototyping. 3856: Collaborative innovation; customer discovery; evidence-based decision-making; iterative design; troubleshooting. Design Lab/Studio. Pre: 2856 for 3855; 3855 for 3856. (2H,2L,3C)
3954: STUDY ABROAD Honors Section. Variable credit course.
3984: SPECIAL STUDY Variable credit course.
4004: HONORS TUTORIAL Small, seminar-style course of one or a few students. Students explore a specific topic that is new to them with a faculty member who provides individual attention and is an expert in that established field. Open to all Honors students. Junior Honors standing. Variable course content. Repeatable for up to six credits. (1H,6L,3C)
4104: HONORS STUDENT TEACH PRACTICUM For Honors students facilitating Honors courses that encourage and require student facilitation or mentorship responsibilities. Student Teaching Assistants and their sections are overseen by honors faculty or staff. Student Teaching Assistants meet weekly with a member of the honors staff in a class designed to prepare them for the facilitation experience and to monitor their progress. Open to all Honors students, subject to Program approval. Sophomore Honors standing required. Variable course content. Repeatable for up to eight credits. P/F only. Pass/Fail only. (1H,2L,2C)
4504: TOPICS IN HONORS DISCOVERY AND INNOVATION STUDIOS Discovery and definition of critical, real-world problems. Transdisciplinary collaboration, design thinking, and experimentation. Reflective evaluation of individual and collective problem-solving efforts. Communication of solutions to diverse stakeholders. Pre: Junior Honors. Variable course content. Repeatable for up to 12 credits. (3H,3C)
4855-4856: CALHOUN TRANSDISCIPLINARY CAPSTONE STUDIO Advanced study of transdisciplinary, collaborative design processes to address real-world problems in technology innovation provided by clients from business, government, and nonprofit organizations. 4855: Systems building; project leadership and management, including resource allocation and scheduling; team management; value propositions; project pitches. 4856: User experience; user testing; systems assessment, including feasibility, viability, desirability, sustainability, optimization, and integration; systems reflection and documentation. Design Lab/Studio. Pre: 3856 for 4855; 4855 for 4856. (2H,2L,3C)
4974: INDEPENDENT STUDY Variable credit course.
4984: SPECIAL STUDY Variable credit course.
4994: UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH Variable credit course.