Honors Scholars Program


Carroll’s Honors scholars program is a Great Books program designed for ambitious students who wish to engage in an interdisciplinary exploration of the great ideas and images of the Western tradition. Over the course of five semesters, students will study works from Homer to Dante, and Machiavelli to Freud. A capstone seminar in the sixth semester concludes the program. Each class also considers why certain texts are accepted as part of this tradition, by addressing controversial texts or other traditions of thought. By reading and discussing the most illuminating, provocative, and imaginative texts of the last three millennia, our students explore the claims and limits of knowledge, what duties humans have to their communities, and what most truly constitutes a human education. In our consideration of these concepts, our inquiry is informed by our motto—Scientia, Caritas, Humanitas—or, knowledge, love, and human nature. Our consideration leads us to the following questions:

Scientia: The Claims of Knowledge and its Limits

  • What is proper role of the search for knowledge in human life?
  • What is most important for a human to know?
  • What is the character of the knowledge in question, and how does it pertain to our judgment of the Ultimate Truth?

Caritas: The Objects and Character of Love

  • What do we owe God?
  • What do we owe our fellow human beings?
  • What can love accomplish?

Humanitas: Human Nature and its Constructions

  • What is most necessary to improve the human condition?
  • What would a good and just society look like?
  • What are the greatest dangers to human societies?

The Curriculum

All of our courses are discussion-based seminars: this means that we expect students to lead the course of discussion. Honors Scholars faculty serve as tutors in your education: we are there to prod you, guide you, and lend our expertise when necessary. These courses are interdisciplinary, and so participants acquire an integrated view of fundamental human endeavors. Through the seminar setting, participants strengthen and refine habits of critical inquiry and discussion techniques that can be applied to any field of academic or professional involvements.

The program also offers an education beyond the classroom. Honors Scholars participate in a wide variety of cultural programs, projects, and activities, including a speaker series, discussions, educational trips, dinners at faculty homes, and attendance at performing arts events.

In order to graduate as an Honors Scholar, students must complete a capstone. This project provides the student with the opportunity to synthesize what has been learned during his or her tenure in the program. Students who complete all of the Honors seminars and the capstone are recognized at graduation.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, Honors Scholars will possess the following skills:

  • The ability to explore the pivotal ideas presented in seminal works from the Western intellectual tradition and in select non-Western texts in an effort to understand and question what constitutes the contemporary Western perspective.
  • The ability to recognize the interrelationships of ideas within a given historical era and the effect of these inter-related ideas through the ages.
  • Preparation for more advanced studies in the liberal arts.
  • Acquisition of an integrated view of fundamental human concerns.
  • Development of rigorous habits of critical inquiry that can be applied throughout life experiences.

Program Requirements

Honors Scholars Program Seminars

Semester Honors Scholars Course Core Curriculum 2020 Requirement Satisfied
Freshman, fall HNR 150 Greek and Roman Thought CORE-110 First Year Writing Seminar (3 cr)
Freshman, spring HNR 250 Christian and Medieval Thought Faith & Reason - Theology (3 cr)
Sophomore, fall HNR 251 Renaissance Thought Arts & Letters - Literature; and Intermediate Writing (3 cr)
Sophomore, spring HNR 350 Restoration and Enlightenment Thought Philosophical Reasoning (3 cr)
Junior, fall HNR 450 Modern Thought Faith & Reason - Philosophy; Ethical Reasoning (3 cr)
Junior, spring HNR 495 Honors Capstone (2 cr)

Other Program Requirements

Intermediate competency in foreign language (200-level or above)

The program director has discretion to waive this requirement, e.g. for students for whom English is a second language, or for those unable to take appropriate Carroll classes that build on their earlier studies.

Honors Scholars students must maintain a high level of achievement to remain in the program. Each June 1, Honors Scholars students are evaluated to learn whether they have met the GPA requirements to remain in the program. The minimum required cumulative GPA is 3.25; however, the program director has discretion to allow students who maintain a GPA of at least 3.00 to complete the program if the student's GPA dips despite good overall progress. The minimum in-program GPA is 3.50.

Interested students can find more information at http://www.carroll.edu/ academics/honors.