Nov 7, 2014

The nation’s top public university honors programs

University of Michigan

Public University Press recently announced publication of the second edition of A Review of Fifty Public University Honors Programs.  

And if you’re considering honors programs housed within top public universities, this 342-page guide (also available in digital format) is an invaluable resource for evaluating different aspects of the “honors” experience.

The original idea for the project grew out of a series of articles comparing public university honors programs.  In fact, an earlier edition of the guide attempted to “rank” programs.  

The ranking has been dropped in favor of a “mortarboard” rating system (similar to five-star rating systems) and is based on data obtained on honors graduation rates, class sizes, course range and type, honors dorms, and other honors benefits, including merit scholarships.

Of the 50 programs under review, 44, or 86 percent returned questionnaires and/or provided the data needed to complete the research.  For the remaining six programs, an extra effort was made to research and analyze class sizes, the range of offerings across departments, the number of seminars, and many of the more important elements of the reviews.

The resulting guide, together with a very useful website, provides a very comprehensive picture of what resources and benefits may be available through the various honors programs.

In addition to the ratings, the second edition of A Review of Fifty Public University Honors Programs offers lengthy narrative profiles of all fifty honors programs.  Each profile also contains ratings of program components assigning 3 to 5 “mortarboards” in eight separate categories.

The review also has data bout SAT and ACT averages for each program as well as high school rank and GPA’s typically necessary for admission.  

Out of the fifty universities, only 7 earned an overall 5-mortarboard rating.  These are (in alphabetical order):

A number of other honors programs received 4.5 overall mortarboard ratings These are (in alphabetical order), the University of Arkansas Honors College; Clemson University, Calhoun Honors College; University of Georgia Honors Program; University of Minnesota Honors Program; University of Mississippi, Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College; University of North Carolina, Honors Carolina; Ohio University Honors Tutorial College;  University of Oklahoma Honors College; University of Oregon, Clark Honors College; Oregon State Honors College; Purdue University Honors College; Temple University Honors Program; Texas Tech University Honors College; UC Irvine Campuswide Honors Program; and the University of Washington Honors Program.

For more information on these and other honors programs, visit the Public University Honors website.

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