Curriculum Policies

Curriculum Policies

The honors curriculum is composed of a mix of honors sections and honors options. To fulfill their curricular requirements, honors students must take an average of one course (section or option) per semester for a total of 6 honors credits per year. Students who are admitted as incoming first year students are required to take English 30T in their first semester, unless they have taken a course equivalent to this Penn State Altoona GWS requirement. The Schreyer Scholars served by the Penn State Altoona Honors Program must take 9 honors credits per year. All honors students are encouraged to take as many honors sections as interest them and fit into their schedules. Honors sections are designed for you; take advantage of them!

The Honors Program offers special honors sections of courses. We hope that these serve two purposes: satisfy the honors student's requirement of taking one honors class per semester (on average) and also satisfy the student's general education requirements. 

If the program is not offering a course that a student needs or can schedule, then the student can turn one of his/her regular courses into an honors option.  In this case, the student should fill out an Honors Option Form (PDF or Word Doc). Please hand this form in to Laura Rotunno in 210 Hawthorn before the end of the third week in the semester.

Policies regarding administration of Honors Sections

  1. Proposing and running an honors section: In order for a class to run as an honors section at Penn State Altoona, the Honors Coordinator must approve it. 
  2. Controlled registration:  To sign up for an honors section, the student must bring a (filled out) drop/add form to the Honors Coordinator's office, or place the form in the coordinator's mailbox. Although we would like a reasonable number of students in each section (say, ten students), there is no minimum number for the classes to “make.”
  3. 50:50 rule: The Honors Program wishes to serve Penn State Altoona honors students and Schreyer Scholars, and also the various programs at Penn State Altoona. However, care must be taken. First, a minimum of 50% honors students must be maintained in each section. Second, honors sections should include only motivated and prepared students.
  4. Honors oversight: All professors offering honors sections should submit their syllabi to the Honors Coordinator at the start of each semester.
  5. Honors sections that are under-enrolled with honors students: If a course has well below the 50:50 limit, then it will be converted to a normal section. To make it possible for the honors students to get honors credits, a "cohort honors option" will be done. Each honors student in the class will fill out an Honors Option Form (PDF or Word Doc). To reduce the work for the professor giving the class, this project should be shared and agreed upon by all parties.
  6. Special procedures for independent study and research with faculty: ss of January 2008, Penn State Altoona will not use the Honors Option form for independent study (as it has in the past). Instead, we will use a separate Honors Independent Study Form (PDF or Word Doc) for this purpose. This form allows for clearer accounting and looks better on the student's resume.