Honors program

The honors program at Bluffton is a four-year program designed to challenge intellectually ambitious, highly motivated students in all disciplines. In keeping with the mission of Bluffton University, the honors program has a special emphasis on integrating academics, spiritual growth, individual growth and service. Finally, in addition to coursework, the program sponsors special cultural events and social events for honors students and individualized help with advising and applications to graduate and professional schools.

Honors program students receive an education full of challenge, opportunity, service-learning, relationships with faculty and peers and serious consideration of cross-boundary living in a complex world. In turn they render important service, leadership and academic standards that are consonant with Bluffton University's mission.
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While pursuing their major field of study, students enroll in the following courses: 

HON 110: Honors Seminar in Composition and Literature (3)
HON 120: Honors Seminar in Biblical Worldview and Hermeneutic(3)
HON 200 Honors Seminar in Rhetoric and Argumentation (3)
HON 210 Honors Seminar in the Humanities (3)
HON 310 Honors Seminar: In Search of Purpose (3)
HON 400 Honors Seminar on Christian Values in a Global Community (3)

Students may enter this program having met these criteria: 1) acceptance into Bluffton University, 2) submission of a separate honors program application and two letters of recommendation from teachers, 3) a minimum 3.5 GPA; and 4) minimum ACT and SAT scores, respectively, of 26 and 1140. Students may also enter the program during their first year of study at Bluffton University. These students must 1) submit a separate honors program application demonstrating commitment to all aspects of the program, 2) submit two letters of recommendation from Bluffton professors, and 3) have a minimum 3.3 GPA.

Continuation in the program requires a 3.3 GPA and collecting 5 Civic Engagement Units per year. Civic Engagement Units can be collected by participating in a combination of social, service and academic events.

More on academic honors.


HON 110 Honors Seminar in Composition and Literature (3)
This seminar engages students with strong writing abilities in a collective experience of text-analysis and in an individually tailored writing experience in a seminar setting.  Students will engage with literature, focusing on what they might learn as writers and students about themselves, the topic, and the author.  The course will also have a skills-development function, working to help students mature as writers and readers. Prerequisites: admission into the Honors Program.

HON 120 Honors Seminar in Biblical Worldview and Hermeneutics (3)
This seminar engages students in Bluffton’s Honors Program with essential questions about how the Bible shapes a Christian Worldview (including biblical studies, ethics, theology and spirituality) and how various worldviews shape the reading, interpretation, and application of biblical texts.  Students will engage with the Bible and the larger world to consider how the two interact in their own experiences and how they might shape their education at Bluffton, the vocation, and their broader life. Prerequisites: HON 110.

HON 200 Honors Seminar in Rhetoric and Argumentation (3)
This seminar engages students in Bluffton’s Honors Program with essential questions regarding how meaning is made from texts (including spoken and written texts), the nature of rhetorical influence, and the development of critical and analytical skills. This course will introduce students to the evaluation of rhetorical arguments for their validity, logical soundness and persuasive appeal. The course will also include the examination of current rhetorical discourse in political and local arenas and techniques for developing and deploying effective arguments through a variety of communication mediums. Within the seminar format students will engage with rhetorical theory, lead conversations, and practice a variety of types of communication practices intended to influence others. Prerequisites: HON 110 and HON 120.

HON 210 Honors Seminar in the Humanities (3)
This seminar engages students in Bluffton’s Honors Program in a historic and literary consideration of a major theme that is significant to the humanities.  Students will consider the shifting social, political, and philosophical order in light of the changing meanings and portrayals of the theme in literature and in historic figures and events. Prerequisites: HON 110 and HON 120.

HON 310 Junior Honors: in search of purpose (3)
This course is an applied philosophy class for the students in the Honors Program.  By applying different theoretical frameworks that we have learned (in school and in life) the course will explore how our insights fit into the many “-isms” of history and what that might mean as we try to find our way in living the good life.  Each week, we will read a conventional theory about the nature of the good life and hear from one or two students who have some connection to that theory.  Students will share their insights, stories, pieces of artwork, and food in an effort to help us understand a bit more about what it means to live well. Prerequisites:  HON 110 and HON 120.

HON 400 Honors Seminar on Christian Values in a Global Community (3)
Based on the course description of LAS 400 Christian Values in a Global Community, this course “provides a forum for interdisciplinary examinations of ethics, community and the environment. Using a seminar format, it aims to help develop a framework for practicing global citizenship as informed by the peace church tradition.” While it is intended to work toward the integration of the general education curriculum, the course is also intended to help students reflect on their experience as members of various communities – both what the contributed to those communities and what they took from them.  This process will be central to this seminar and is intended to serve as the orienting material as students process their time at Bluffton and their hopes for the future.

June 2016