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Elmira College Honors Program

The Honors Program at Elmira College embodies the conviction that the traditions of inquiry and knowledge historically identified with the liberal arts and sciences make up the core of a college education and the foundation of a productive and meaningful life. While the College is committed to a strong general education for all students regardless of their major or chosen career, the Honors Program builds upon that commitment through an immersion in the “practical liberal arts” in which exploration of the liberal arts and sciences is geared toward nurturing civically engaged scholars and professionals. Students who display a high degree of motivation and wide-ranging intellectual and cultural curiosity are invited to join a community of faculty, staff and peers in an integrated program of specially designed courses and co-curricular learning experiences.

The Honors Program experience begins in the first term of the freshman year.  Students are enrolled in special sections of the First Year Seminar devoted to exploring a common theme.  Lectures, field trips, movies, and other co-curricular experiences related to the theme will accompany the regular class work.  Honors sections of the Freshman Writing courses are integrated with this experience.

After the first term students enroll in the Honors Seminar, an interdisciplinary approach to a particular issue or question.  What can psychology, biology, sociology, and literature teach us about why we experience fear?  What can anthropology, history, art, and philosophy teach us about how we experience beauty?  In this course students will engage with faculty from across the liberal arts and sciences in an exciting exploration of vitally important topics.

Additional course work includes three Honors Electives that address a range of questions from within specific liberal arts and science disciplines: Why do the arts matter?  How much chaos is there in chaos theory?  What was so golden about the Golden Age of Athens?

Other benefits of the Honors Program include a variety of co-curricular opportunities, priority status for course registration, and the opportunity to live in honors housing.

Academic Standards
In addition to remaining in good disciplinary standing with the College, honors students are expected to complete at least 30 credits of coursework each academic year and maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or higher. Those with cumulative GPAs between 3.00 and 3.49 are considered to be on a probationary status, while those earning below a 3.00 or receiving a grade below a C- in any course are automatically removed from the honors program.

Admission to the Program
Applicants will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • High School GPA (3.70 or higher)
  • The application essay
  • A recommendation letter from a high school instructor
  • Additional information available from students' admissions folders.

Process: The deadline for incoming students to apply to the program is May 15th. A committee consisting of the director of the honors program and two faculty members teaching in the program will evaluate the candidates. Emphasis will be placed on identifying students who are independent thinkers willing to take academic risks. Students with a GPA below the standard outlined above may be admitted if they demonstrate unusual promise. First-year Elmira college students who demonstrate superior academic ability may apply by December 21st for admission to the program after completing one term of study at Elmira College. Transfer students are ineligible to apply.

All interested students must be accepted for admission to the College and must submit an honors program application and a reference letter from a classroom instructor who is familiar with their academic work. Admission to the program is highly competitive.

The honors program application may be completed online by clicking the link below.

Students will be notified of their acceptance into the program on a rolling basis.

Additional information about the honors program can be obtained from:

Dr. Mark Pitner 
Assistant Professor of Asian History and Honors Program Director 

Elmira College 
One Park Place 
Elmira, New York 14901 
(607) 735-1181 

Dr. Pitner's Personal Website