PLNU Greek Amphitheatre

PLNU's historic Greek Amphitheatre

Honors Programs

Humanities Honors Program 

PLNU's Humanities Honors Program exists to promote a greater understanding of diverse human traditions of self-awareness and creativity. Examining these traditions in light of the Christian faith and liberal methods of learning, students excel in their abilities to interpret and discuss written, visual, and sonic texts within theological and interdisciplinary frameworks. Students take their education beyond the classroom in extracurricular activities, as well as in works of service and mercy as informed by the Wesleyan tradition.  

Who is this for? (Program Prerequisites)

  • Must be admitted to PLNU
  • Must be an incoming first-year student
    • This program is open to all PLNU first-year students regardless of their major, except for nursing and engineering students (see FAQ below for more information)
  • Must be academically qualified to receive a PLNU Merit Scholarship (visit for additional information)

Apply to the Humanities Honors Program

To apply to the Humanities Honors Program, you must first submit your general PLNU application.

Apply Now

What is the purpose of a humanities-centered education? 

The Humanities Honors Program offers a rigorous curriculum in literature, philosophy, religion, history, art, politics, music, and more. Through it, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation of the human experience and a better understanding of your place in it. You’ll develop your character by wrestling with age-old questions that encourage humility, patience, hard work, and listening to diverse perspectives. Your curriculum will also sharpen your reading, writing, thinking, and speaking skills that apply to your major field of study, future vocation, church life, and the world around you. 

How does it relate to my major?

While this specialized program will expedite your fulfillment of PLNU’s humanities foundational exploration credits, the stimulating course content will present a cross-disciplinary approach that draws new insights and explores the rich connections between overlapping fields of study. The benefits of this approach — growth in wisdom, skill development, and development of personal character — will prepare you to thrive in your chosen major field of study and upper-level courses, and to continue making prudent vocational and life choices beyond graduation.

What is distinctive about the Humanities Honors Program PLNU?

Grounded in Christian thought and the Wesleyan tradition, PLNU’s Humanities Honors Program is interdisciplinary and uniquely designed for experiential learning, preparing you to live out your faith and curiosity as a better engaged neighbor, citizen, and servant in your community and beyond. With access to exclusive events, service opportunities, and a short-term trip to a foreign country, you’ll put your knowledge into practice to not only graduate with distinction but to better understand your role and impact in the world.

“Studying the humanities invites us to experience the depths of human despair and the pinnacles of human joy. By investigating the timeless questions of humanity, we participate in a journey of constant discovery and adaptation. Additionally, the humanities shape what we choose to see. In my field of political science, the topics I choose for analysis are determined by my understanding of the human experience. Studying the humanities puts me in proximity to people who are often unseen and enriches my understanding of the Gospel.”

Hannah Kurowski, Class of 2016

Program Model

  • Study with a cohort of similarly dedicated students.

  • Replace 36 units of GE courses during your first and second years of undergrad.

  • Take the Honors Integrative Seminar at the completion of your program.

  • Participate in unique extracurricular activities like cultural outings to plays and museums, community service and outreach opportunities, and special guest lectures.

Program Requirements

  • Must maintain a minimum session and cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Must maintain a high standard of personal conduct

For more information about these courses, including sequencing, course numbers, and credit hours per course, please consult the Undergraduate Catalog.

Core Humanities Courses Unique to the Humanities Honors Program

Introduction to Christian Scholarship

This program serves as the introduction to the Humanities Honors Program. In it, you will be challenged to think of yourself as a Christian scholar — someone gifted and called to love God with your entire heart, your entire mind, and your entire life. You will also learn about the chief purpose and aims of a Christian liberal arts education, and how your education at PLNU can serve to prepare you for lifelong service to Christ.

Foundations of the Humanities I, II & II

This is a series of three courses that will introduce you to key questions regarding the ultimate nature of reality, truth, and what it means to be human through the lens of historic Christian faith. In a fully integrated, multi-disciplinary way, these courses grapple with a variety of great theological, political, philosophical, and literary works, along with important movements and works of music and art, around three historical epochs: Ancient and Medieval, Renaissance and Enlightenment, and the Modern Era.

Humanities Honors Integrative Seminar

As the culminating course of the Humanities Honors Program, this seminar ties together the various experiences and coursework you have had during your first two years of study, as you explore the key themes from these courses in relation to your personal, spiritual, and intellectual growth as a Christian scholar. You will be challenged to identify and explore possible areas of research interest for development in the Honors Scholars Program or within your chosen major.

Traditional Foundational Exploration Courses Adapted for Honors Students

Rhetoric: Critical Communication

Taught during the first semester of study, this course aims to help you hone your written and oral communications skills, while giving you the tools to better understand and critically assess various written, oral, and visual media.

Introduction to Philosophy

In this course, you will study many of the key themes and topics of the Western tradition, ranging from the Ancient Greeks up to the Modern Era. You will be challenged to grapple with core questions regarding the nature of truth, reality, and the human condition; ethics and morality; wisdom and knowledge; language and meaning; and much more.

Old Testament History and Religion & New Testament History and Religion

This sequence of courses will introduce you to the history of ancient Israel and the early development of Christianity as a context for understanding the nature of God’s revelation in the Old and New Testaments. By taking these courses, you will come to a better understanding of both the literary diversity and theological unity of the two-testament Christian Bible as the primary source of authority for Christian faith and practice.

Christianity in Global Perspective

In this course, you will study the rich depths and history of the Christian faith even as you are challenged to see Christianity as a truly global movement with a wide variety and diversity of cultural expressions. You will also be confronted with some of your own cultural biases while being encouraged to find practical ways to deepen your commitment to and participation in Christ’s church.

Politics of Race, Class, and Gender

Partnering with the course, Christianity in Global Perspective, this course introduces and gives you tools to analyze the construction of the social categories of race, class, and gender through the lens of Christian faith. You will learn to assess how these structures have shaped the experiences of people in the United States and globally, and you will be challenged to consider how you, as a Christian, can better serve Christ in light of these realities.


Is the Humanities Honors Program open to all majors?

The Humanities Honors Program is open to most majors. With its emphasis on human traditions of self-awareness and creativity — and due to the curricular requirements of biology, chemistry, and math — it lends itself particularly well to humanities, social sciences, professional, and interdisciplinary degrees.

Nursing and Engineering majors are not currently eligible for the Humanities Honors Program due to the prerequisites required in their course of study.

Does the Humanities Honors Program provide scholarship opportunities?

Yes, the Humanities Honors Program offers scholarships to every student. It also funds the costs of Honors textbooks and co-curricular events.

Will participating in the Humanities Honors Program delay my progress towards graduation?

Participating in the Humanities Honors Program is an expedient way of progressing towards graduation. The cross-disciplinary nature of classes means students can complete the humanities portion of the university's foundational exploration requirements — and begin their major fields of study — ahead of most other students. With the time and units saved, honors students have the opportunity to take additional electives or pursue a minor field of study.

Can I be a student-athlete and participate in the Humanities Honors Program?

Student-athletes are welcomed in the Humanities Honors Program! Honors courses and events are generally scheduled outside of team practices and competitions. In case of a conflict, however, the honors director can approve an absence.

What's the difference between the Humanities Honors Program and the Honors Scholar Program?

The Humanities Honors Program is a two-year foundational exploration program for first- and second-year students that specializes in humanistic traditions of history, literature, fine art, music, philosophy, and religion. The program prepares students for major fields of study while sharpening their abilities in critical thinking, reading, writing, and speech.

The Honors Scholar Program is a two-year research and thesis-writing program for third- and fourth-year students of any major. Guided by a thesis committee composed of faculty of the students’ choosing and the program director, the Honors Scholar Program is an ideal preparation for graduate study or professional education.