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Honors College



Note: If you are a current USM student or transfer student, and you have a 3.4 GPA and have completed at least 45 hours of coursework and three semesters at college or university, you may be eligible to apply for our Honors Keystone program.  Please visit our Keystone page for more information on the program and how to apply. 

Honors College Foundations

Through course offerings and extra-curricular programming, the Honors College Foundations curriculum nurtures the habits of mind, spirit of curiosity, and sense of civic engagement that are at the heart of the Honors College mission.

The curriculum is developmental, cultivating in students the intellectual skills and resources they will need as they advance to the mature achievement of the Honors thesis.

Who can apply to the Honors College?

The Honors College offers an enriched and challenging educational experience for students who exemplify such ideals as intellectual curiosity, creativity, openness to new ideas, passion for learning, and drive.  If this describes you, we encourage you to apply!  The application is available to any student with a 24+ ACT (1160 SAT) and 3.5+ GPA*; students who do not meet these benchmarks but who believe that the Honors College is right for them should reach out to our Coordinator of Recruitment  for more information.  Your test scores and GPA are not seen by the admissions committee; rather, applications are reviewed holistically, with special emphasis on the quality of the essays and supplemental materials.  Therefore, submitting a strong and compelling application is essential.  For more information about the Honors College and to learn how to create a strong application, please schedule a meeting with our Coordinator of Recruitment by clicking here

Note: The Honors College curriculum is not available to fully online students. 

* Standardized test scores earned through December will be considered. SAT scores are converted to the equivalent ACT score based on the testing concordance in place at the time of the testing date. For core GPA calculation, grades earned in college preparatory curriculum (CPC) coursework are computed on a four-point scale; thus, weighted grades earned in AP, advanced or honors classes are not calculated into core GPA. 

What is the application process and what are the deadlines?

First, you must apply to the University of Southern Mississippi

Once you have been admitted to Southern Miss and have a student ID and password, you may apply to the Honors College. The Honors College application is housed in the Golden Opportunities Scholarships and Competitive Programs system.

This means that your application to the Honors College will also serve as a general application for hundreds of donor-funded scholarships for which you may be eligible.   

Deadlines are as follows:

  • December 1: University Admission
  • January 15: Honors College Application 

Apply to Southern Miss 

What will I need to submit as part of my application?

  • General application
  • Housing Policy agreement
  • One report from a high school guidance counselor
  • Two letters of recommendation from teachers
  • Two essays (minimum 400 words each)
  • Supplemental item of your choosing

What are the essay questions?

REQUIRED ESSAYS: You must submit TWO essays (a minimum of 400 words each) in response to the prompts below. Both essays should be thoughtfully and carefully executed. There is no “right answer.”

Essay #1:

Watch a brief video* introduction to the Honors College experience here. The “word cloud” presents a number of characteristics that have led our students to success at the Honors College and that we look for in our Honors applicants. Pick one of these essential qualities and tell us about a specific life experience you’ve had which you believe illustrates this trait.

Essay #2: Choose one.

1. Write anything you like inspired by the following word: Green

2. If you had the opportunity to spend a week in a place you’ve never visited, where would you visit and why?

What is the required supplemental item?

We believe that every applicant has interests, talents, or passions that may not be captured in other portions of our application. Please submit a supplemental item that tells us something about you that other parts of this application have not demonstrated. This might be a short video, a song or other piece of music (written or performed), a work of art, a presentation, a piece of writing (whether academic or creative), or something else. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box! 

Are there special Honors College scholarships available?

Yes! Every student who is admitted to the Honors College as a freshman will automatically receive our stackable Honors Scholar Award, which recognizes the special commitment made by HC students.  This award provides $2,000 per year, renewable for eight semesters, for a total of $8,000. 

Additionally, all Honors College applicants will be considered for our two achievement awards: the Presidential Scholarship and the Discovery Scholarship. These highly-competitive scholarships are awarded to a small number of students who exemplify our core ideals: intellectual curiosity, creativity, openness to new ideas, passion for learning, and drive.  Consideration for these scholarships is based solely on the Honors College application; no additional materials are required.

For more information about these awards, visit Scholarships

Next Steps

Please refer to the checklist above for all required items to complete your application for the Honors College Admission. You are responsible for monitoring the following steps to make sure they are complete by the deadline of January 15.

FAFSA – As stated on the General Application, applicants must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for this opportunity. You are responsible for ensuring your FAFSA has been completed. (Not required for international students.)

Admissions and awards decisions will be posted in the portal by March 15. Be sure to log back into the GO System to get the results of your application.


If you have questions about your Honors application, contact honorsFREEMississippi, or call 601.266.4533.



Contact Us

Honors College
Honor House
118 College Drive #5162
Hattiesburg, MS 39406

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