2021-2022 Academic Catalog

Honors Program

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Honors Advisory Board

Arrigo-Nelson (biological and environmental sciences); Aune (English), director; Fox (philosophy), associate director; Gould (chemistry and physics); Hess (exercise science and sport studies); Hettler (business and economics); Lyles (health science); McClintock-Comeaux (women's studies); Cormas (childhood education); Hackett (psychology)


The Honors Program at California University of Pennsylvania provides an opportunity for an enhanced educational experience to our most talented students and faculty. Honors Program students desire to pursue intellectual and creative growth beyond the usual requirements of their major field of study and intend to cultivate their individual and personal aspirations to learn. Honors Program students and faculty expect to explore and participate in scholarly, professional and artistic exercises outside the classroom; they engage in community service activities, which complement their academic studies and nurture their personal sense of commitment and communal responsibility. Honors students anticipate exercising leadership while at California University of Pennsylvania; they prepare to become leaders while students in our program, and they expect to continue as leaders when they graduate.


Membership in the University Honors Program is by invitation only. However, the Honors Program promotes outstanding intellectual achievement throughout the University, and undergraduate students in any program or division of the University may participate in the Honors Program. Each year, the  applications of all incoming first-year and transfer students are reviewed, and those students with the very highest indicators of past and future academic success are invited to apply to participate in the Honors Program.


Each summer (since 1985), two Honors Program students receive scholarships to participate in the PASSHE Summer Honors Program. This program is noted for its academic quality and its opportunity, typically, to study abroad in such places as:

  • Egypt (2010)
  • Oxford, England (2012)
  • London, Salzburg, Vienna, Venice and Rome (2013)
  • Canada (2014)
  • Norway (2015)
  • Spain (2016)
  • Belize (2017
  • Vienna and Sarajevo (2018)
  • Poland (2019)

Honors students have the opportunity to live in Smith Honors Hall, which gives them easy access to educational, social and recreational programing. The Honors Program maintains a computer lab in Smith Hall for the exclusive use of honors students and faculty. All honors courses are held in the Smith Hall classroom as well. Honors students are encouraged to be active scholars and present their work at local, regional, national and international conferences as well as in international publications.


Currently, the Honors Program annually presents the following awards:

  • Senior Thesis Project Award
  • Outstanding Honors Program Graduating Senior Award
  • Outstanding Honors Program Service Award


Courses designated as honors courses are restricted to members of the Honors Program and are offered at all class levels. In such courses, enrollment is kept low to encourage and ensure close interaction between student and professor. Additionally, most regular University course offerings at all levels may have an honors component. In such courses (called addenda), honors students fulfill the same requirements as other students in the class, but honors students perform certain independent work, which is designed to enhance the regular departmental courses and which is agreed upon in writing by the student, the professor and the Honors Program. In all such courses, the successful completion of the course and its honors component is indicated on the student's transcript.

Honors Program students are expected to maintain a minimum grade-point average sufficient to achieve the dean's list and to graduate with honors. Additionally, students must complete a minimum of 24 credits, including addenda and thesis project, within the Honors Program.

Inquiries about the Honors Program may be made of the director at:
California University of Pennsylvania
250 University Avenue
Box 100
California, PA 15419
Phone: 724-938-4535/1544
Fax: 724-938-5710
Email: honors@calu.edu