The Alpha and Omega panels of Sator Hall glow in the afternoon sun.

Honors Programs

Humanities Honors Program

Humanities Honors Program 

Grounded in Christian thought and the Wesleyan tradition, this program is designed to equip you with knowledge and experience for living out your faith in the world today. Woven throughout the rigorous intellectual content of the Humanities Honors Program are real-world opportunities for service and cultural enrichment.

We’re looking for young scholars who are interested in the connection between their learning and life; who wish to pursue their vocations as opportunities to serve God; and who want to make a difference in the university, their homes, their churches, and the larger world.

“I believe two of the most important tasks we are called to undertake are to love our neighbor and to seek after truth. Studying the humanities allows us to get at both of these. By studying the arts, history, and philosophy, we better understand the human condition which better enables us to understand and care for one another.”

Kaitlin Kizzar, Class of 2016

Explore Yourself, Your World, and Your Faith

Your classes will challenge you in the areas of critical reading, thinking, writing, and speech. You will be able to apply the knowledge you gain to your life, your community, and the world around you as you grow intellectually and spiritually.

Become a Global Christian

You will become equipped to live in an increasingly multicultural world. This program is not for future scholars and leaders who happen to be Christians, but for Christians whose calling is to go out and serve Christ in the world as scholars and leaders. You will have the opportunity to put this into practice through tangible acts of service and immersing yourself in other cultures as you study abroad.

Be Equipped to Answer Life’s Big Questions

You will have the chance to explore your calling within the context of a vibrant Christian community, and you will be equipped to address life’s big questions from a uniquely Christian perspective.

Program Model

  • You will work with a cohort of similarly dedicated students.
  • Honors courses will replace some general education courses during the first and second years.
  • You will have the opportunity to study abroad and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, food, and history of a foreign culture.
  • You will take the Honors Integrative Seminar at the completion of the program.

Program Prerequisites

  • Must be an incoming first-year student
  • Must be admitted to PLNU
  • Must be a merit scholar
  • Intended major must be in the humanities, social sciences, or undecided

What will I study?

Students in the Humanities Honors Program will be given the opportunity to explore their world, themselves, and their faith through an innovative curriculum that integrates the core disciplines of the arts and humanities while providing special opportunities to grow and be challenged by in-class and outside-of-class opportunities.

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 Abroad

You will be given the opportunity to experience firsthand much of what you have studied in a travel course to Europe, the Americas, or Asia. The trip will be led by PLNU faculty and include visits to historically and culturally significant sites, including Paris, Mexico City, or Tokyo. Developing strong multicultural skills, while bearing witness to Christ in an increasingly global world, will be the chief concerns of this course.

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 General Education 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.

Apply to the Humanities Honors Program

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

Apply Now

Honors Scholars Program

Honors Scholars Program 

To prepare for the completion of your project and your participation in the conference, you will be coached through the various stages of conducting a research project and transforming your work into a scholarly presentation. Throughout the fall, you will practice presenting before a group and participate in a peer evaluation process.

In April, all Honors Scholars will present their findings at the Honors Conference — to which all faculty, parents, and prospective honors students are invited. In addition, student scholars will be recognized at graduation. Their transcripts will indicate the honors project course, and on their diplomas, it will be written, “Graduation with Honors.”                 

"The Honors Scholars Program at PLNU helped launch me into my post-graduation Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology by giving me the opportunity to carry out original research and to present at both a national conference and a regional conference."

Daniel Flint, Class of 2017 

Reasons to Consider Being a PLNU Honors Scholar

  • Explore a topic of interest more deeply than is possible in a regular course
  • Get to know and work more closely with a faculty member of your choosing
  • Get to know and work with the very best of your fellow students at PLNU
  • Be ahead of the game when you start graduate school and/or professional work
  • Build a resume that stands out for grad school and/or post graduate work
  • Learn to present a polished presentation at a professional conference
  • Make professional connections
  • Learn to communicate your interests and work to people from completely different backgrounds
  • Present on your work and be honored at a conference and banquet
  • Receive special recognition at graduation

"Participating in the Honors Scholars Program was one of the most significant accomplishments of my undergraduate career. With the help of my mentor and research partner, my academic research project was accepted for presentation at three different professional conference. The program gave me the experience I needed to become a competitive applicant for graduate school. I strongly recommend it!"

Liana Chou, Class of 2017

Contact Us

If you are interested in applying or if you have additional questions about the Honors Scholars Program, please contact Dr. Mark Mann, director of the Honors Scholars Program and Associate Professor of Theology.

Honors Thesis Award

The Samuel and Susanna Wesley Honors Thesis Award was established for a student or students who successfully complete an honors thesis with highest marks in the Honors Scholars Program.

In the 18th century, the Wesley children were raised in an atmosphere of scholarship, wide reading, theological conviction, and pious conversation. In this spirit, the honors thesis award celebrates a selected topic in an academic discipline that is linked to a Wesleyan understanding of encountering a graced world.

Criteria for the Award:

  • Any senior from any major enrolled in the Honors Scholars Program
  • Successful completion of the honors thesis
  • Selection of thesis by the faculty coordinator and participating faculty and students in the PLNU Honors Scholars Program. This selection is coordinated with the director of the Wesleyan Center.
  • The honors thesis will follow the general guidelines determined by the university, by the academic department in consultation with the faculty, and with the committee directing the Honors Scholars Program
  • More than one award may be granted in an academic year