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Honors College

Honors College Student Handbook

The University of Southern Mississippi Honors College Student Handbook was created as a guide for current Honors Scholars.  The Handbook serves as an informational resource for students about expectations and requirements, and as a guiding policy document for the Honors College (HC), its students, and its staff.  Changes in policy are updated in the Handbook and kept current on the HC website.

Table of Contents

I.    History and Mission  

II.    The Honors College Code

III.   The Curriculum (Requirements, Policies, Year-by-Year Guide) 

IV.   Advisement 

V.    Academic Standing

VI.   Graduation Procedures

VII.  Resources

The Honors College Leadership Council
Electronic Newsletter and Honors College Listserv
Social Media
The Honor House

   

History and Mission

Our History

The University of Southern Mississippi offered its first Honors classes in 1965.  By 1976, the program had evolved into a formalized Honors College, making it the sixth oldest public honors college in the nation and the oldest Honors College in the state of Mississippi.  Appropriate to its historic role at the University, the home of the Honors College is the Honor House, one of the original buildings on the Southern Miss campus.  Built in 1912, the Honor House was given its current name when it was a dormitory for women who were put “on their honor” to respect curfew and other campus policies.  Today’s Honors College is comprised of 500 curious, imaginative, and aspiring scholars who strive for excellence, thrive on academic challenge, and serve and lead both on campus and in the community.

 

Our Mission

The Honors College at the University of Southern Mississippi fosters a deep, communal engagement with ideas and an atmosphere of personal connection and achievement by providing students with small classes, opportunities for active learning, and research experiences.  We create a supportive and challenging intellectual community, promote attentive mentoring, and expose our students to cutting-edge scholars and artists.  Above all, we encourage our students to seize opportunities and boldly determine their own paths—both at the university and beyond.  Upon graduation, our students will have the independence and confidence to pursue their passions, the knowledge and tools with which to chart a fulfilling future course, and a lifelong commitment to using their capacities for the public good.  

 

The Honors College Code

We expect all Honors College Scholars to recognize and take seriously the many implications of “honor.”  We hold Honors Scholars to high standards not only with regard to academic performance and integrity, but also with regard to civility and tolerance.  We value the diversity of the Southern Miss campus and expect our students to respect one another and honor and learn from differing viewpoints, cultural experiences, faith systems, and interests.

Upon accepting admission into the College, all Scholars are governed not only by the Southern Miss Academic Integrity Policy but also by the Honors College Code, which reflects our mission and our fundamental commitment to rigorous standards of excellence:

As a member of the University of Southern Mississippi Honors College, I commit to serving as a leader and role model on campus and to maintaining high standards of academic integrity, personal conduct, and campus citizenship. 

I will exert a sustained effort to pursue academic and scholarly excellence and to grow both personally and intellectually. I recognize the inherent value of each member of the Honors community, and I pledge to help forge a more equitable, just, and inclusive community for all. 

I recognize that it is my responsibility to uphold this code and to encourage others in their efforts to do so.

 

Curriculum

Overview

The Southern Miss Honors curriculum is divided into two phases—Honors Foundations (for freshmen and sophomores) and Honors Keystone (for juniors and seniors).  Those who enter the College as freshmen are expected to complete the four-year curriculum; upon completion of Honors Foundations requirements, these students will transition automatically into the Keystone curriculum.  Students may also enter the Honors College as rising juniors and complete the Keystone curriculum only.  

All students who complete Honors Keystone requirements with 3.25 or higher cumulative USM GPA will graduate with Latin Distinction, as specified:

  • cum laude (3.25-3.49)
  • magna cum laude (3.5-3.79)
  • summa cum laude (3.8 or higher)

Graduating students will be given an Honors College Medallion, which they may wear with their robes during commencement proceedings. 

 

Honors Core

Through course offerings and extra-curricular programming, the Honors College nurtures the habits of mind, spirit of curiosity, and sense of civic engagement that are at the heart of our mission.  The curriculum is developmental and builds steadily toward the achievement of the Honors thesis in the senior year.  Students must maintain a 3.25 cumulative GPA to remain in good academic standing in the Honors College. 

 

Honors Foundations (Freshmen and Sophomores): 16 hours

Freshman Year: Honors Colloquium (HON 111/112): 6 hours

Taught by specially chosen Honors Faculty Fellows, this two-semester course sequence nurtures students’ curiosity and their ability to ask, and answer, rich and complex questions.  While a common theme and common assignments unite all sections, each class offers its own approach.  Class sizes are typically 15-18 students. 

Sophomore Year: Honors Seminars (HON 303): 6 hours

Taught by the university’s most innovative professors, these special topics classes will focus on the questions that are currently energizing scholarly and creative research across the disciplines.  With a focus on interdisciplinary and cutting-edge exploration, these classes are designed to spark excitement and investigation.  Multiple sections will be taught each semester, on varying topics; class sizes are typically 15-18 students.

Freshman and Sophomore Year: Honors Forum (HON 321), 4 hours 

For over 40 years, the University Forum Lecture Series has been bringing some of the most respected and innovative cultural, scientific, and artistic voices in the world to Southern Miss.  A one-credit hour class taught in association with this series, Honors Forum promotes engagement with the intellectual and cultural life of The University of Southern Mississippi.

 

Honors Keystone (Juniors and Seniors): 5 hours

Junior Year: Developing the Honors Thesis I and II (HON 300 and HON 301): 2 hours

Taught in sequence, these one-credit hour classes will provide students with the tools they need to lay the foundation of their Honors thesis and  shepherd them through the process of topic and project plan development.  HON 300 is a prerequisite to HON 301 and cannot be waived. 

Senior Year: Thesis Research/Comprehensive Exam

In the senior year, students must

  • Complete a minimum of 3 research hours (e.g. ENG 492H, MAT 492H) under the guidance of their chosen thesis adviser.
  • Pass a comprehensive examination in their major field of study.
  • Submit an approved Honors Thesis.

 

General Requirements and Policies

  • Students are expected to complete all 4 hours of HON 321 (“Honors Forum”) in their freshman and sophomore years.  In rare cases, students are granted permission to complete the HON 321 requirement in their junior year.  Such exceptions must be approved by the Honors adviser and the Dean of the Honors College.  Students may enroll in HON 321 up to eight (8) hours.
  • Students are expected to complete all 4 hours of HON 321 (Honors Forum) in their freshman and sophomore years.  In rare cases, students are granted permission to complete the HON 321 requirement in their junior year.  Such exceptions must be approved by the Honors advisor and the Dean of the Honors College in advance.  Students may enroll in HON 321 up to eight (8) hours.
  • Advisement in Honors is required each semester and supplements advising in the student’s major program.  Such “doubled” advising is a benefit of Honors College membership and facilitates students’ academic progress and success at Southern Miss.  For more about advisement, see below.
  • Honors Scholars who elect to study abroad during a regular academic semester and who thus are unable to complete required Honors classes must discuss waivers/substitutions with their Honors advisor.  Such waivers and substitutions must be approved by the Honors advisor and the Dean of the Honors College in advance of the semester in question.
  • A grade lower than a B in HON 300, HON 301 or 492H (or equivalent) may trigger Honors College review to ensure that the student is on track to successfully complete the Honors Thesis.
  • Upon completion of HON 301, students must be continuously enrolled in 492H (or equivalent) hours until the thesis is submitted and approved.
  • The Honors Thesis is generally completed in the student’s major program; exceptions must be approved by the appropriate program representatives and the Honors College Dean in advance.

 

Year-by-Year Guide for Southern Miss Honors Scholars

The following is based on a student earning a bachelor’s degree in four years (8 semesters) and is a general guide only.  The program of study will be different for students who study abroad, complete internships off-campus, take summer coursework, etc.  Advisement throughout each student’s academic career will ensure that s/he is making appropriate progress in the curriculum. 

By the end of each year, students should have completed the following:

 

Honors Foundations, Year One (Freshmen) 

  • HON 111 (fall)
  • HON 112 (spring)
  • HON 321 (both fall and spring term)
  • A minimum 3.25 cumulative GPA each term
  • Academic advisement with Honors Foundations Adviser in both fall and spring semesters 

Honors Foundations, Year Two (Sophomores)

  • HON 303 (fall)
  • HON 303 (spring)
  • HON 321 (both fall and spring term)
  • A minimum 3.25 cumulative GPA each term
  • Academic advisement with Honors Foundations Adviser in both fall and spring semesters

Honors Keystone, Year One (Juniors)

  • HON 300 (fall)
  • HON 301 (spring)
  • A minimum 3.25 cumulative GPA each term
  • Academic advisement with Honors Keystone Adviser in both fall and spring semesters

Honors Keystone, Year Two (Seniors)

  • 492H (Honors Research), or course equivalent, in thesis adviser’s department (e.g., ENG 492H or BSC 492H); 3 hours divided over two semesters
  • A minimum 3.25 cumulative GPA each term
  • Academic advisement with Honors Keystone Adviser in both fall and spring semesters
  • Meet all required deadlines for thesis development and submission
  • Successfully complete the comprehensive exam
  • Submit graduation application one semester prior to anticipated graduation; for more information, see Section VII: Graduation Procedures.
  • Complete Honors College Aquila Research Taxonomy
  • Complete Honors College Exit Survey

 

Honors College Advisement

What is Advisement?

Honors Scholars benefit from careful attention and guidance throughout their time in the Honors College.  Honors advisors assist students with:

  • Honors curriculum and requirements
  • General academic planning
  • AP, IB, dual enrollment and transfer credits
  • Major and career plans (e.g., graduate, law, medical, and other professional schools)
  • Leadership, service, and involvement opportunities
  • Study-abroad opportunities
  • On-campus student success resources

 

Advising Information/Policies

  • Honors College students are required to meet with an HC Adviser each semester during regular advising periods.  You may, however, request Honors advisement as needed at any time during the semester; call the HC office at 601-266-4533 to make an appointment.
  • Regular HC Advisement will typically take place during late September/October (for spring classes) and late February/March (for summer and fall classes).

Honors Scholars must meet with their Honors advisor each semester during regular advising periods (typically, late September/October for spring classes, and late February/March for summer and fall classes).  Students may request additional Honors advisement as needed at any time during the semester.  Honors advisement supplements but does not replace advisement within the student’s discipline.

Students can schedule an appointment with their Honors advisor through this link or by calling the Honors College office at 601-266-4533.

Academic Standing

We are invested in our students’ success and are committed to providing guidance when and where it is necessary in order to ensure that a student is making good academic progress.  To that end, we monitor student grades and progress at both midterm and at the end of each semester.  So that we can intervene early and offer assistance, those students who do not meet our GPA criteria or who appear to be experiencing academic difficulties at midterm will be contacted and may be required to meet with an Honors advisor or with the Dean to establish a plan for improvement.  At the end of each semester (fall, spring, and summer), we review the grades and progress of all Honors Scholars to assess their academic standing in the Honors College.

 

Good Standing

In order to remain in good standing in the Honors College, students must:

  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher;
  • Make successful progress toward completion of a degree and of Honors requirements;
  • Attend Honors advisement every semester.

 

Honors College Probation

The following conditions are grounds for Honors College probation: 

  • Cumulative GPA below 3.25;
  • Failure to progress in the Honors curriculum.  Failure to progress includes such matters as: not completing Honors requirements in a timely fashion; receiving an incomplete (I) grade in a required Honors course; failing to work effectively with thesis adviser and/or respond to outreach and communication from the adviser and/or the Honors College.
  • A failing grade in one or more Honors classes (including thesis hours); a “no pass” grade in HON 321.
  • Violation of the Honors College Honor Code, the USM Student Code of Conduct, and/or The University of Southern Mississippi Academic Integrity Policy/receiving a grade of XF.*

Students will be informed of their probation by electronic mail to their @usm.edu account.  Students on probation will be required to complete an Honors College Probation form and to meet with the Dean of the College to establish a Plan for Academic Improvement (PAI).  The PAI, which remains internal to the Honors College, will be used to guide further action with regard to standing in the Honors College.  A student on probation who fails to meet with the Dean and/or who fails to meet the requirements of the PAI by the end of the following term will be suspended from the Honors College.

Honors College students are allowed only one probationary semester; in rare cases, and only with approval of the Dean, a student will be granted one semester of “Probation Continued” status.  Students will not be allowed more than two semesters of probation in total.

Note on summer coursework and probationary standing: Students who are placed on probation/probation continued at the end of the spring semester and who choose to take summer coursework are required to meet with the Dean to implement a Plan for Academic Improvement (PAI) that will include appropriate benchmarks for the summer semester. Students who fail to do so may be suspended from the Honors College.

  

Honors College Suspension

The following conditions are grounds for Honors College suspension: 

  • Cumulative GPA below 3.25 for two consecutive terms;
  • Cumulative GPA below a 2.5 in any given semester;
  • Failure to progress in the Honors curriculum.*  Failure to progress includes such matters as: not completing Honors requirements in a timely fashion; receiving an incomplete (I) grade in a required Honors course; failing to work effectively with thesis adviser and/or respond to outreach and communication from the adviser and/or the Honors College.
  • A failing grade in one or more Honors classes (including thesis hours); a “no pass” grade in HON 321.*
  • Failure to meet with the Dean as required and/or failure to meet the terms of the Plan for Academic Improvement, if a student has been placed on probation;
  • Violation of the Honors College Honor Code, the USM Student Code of Conduct, and/or The University of Southern Mississippi Academic Integrity Policy/receiving a grade of XF.*

Students will be informed of their suspension by electronic mail to their @usm.edu account.  Students who wish to appeal their suspension may do so by completing a Suspension Appeal Form.  All appeals will be considered by the Honors College Appeals Committee.

*In determining whether an academic integrity violation warrants probation or suspension, the Honors College will consider the previous record along with the extent of the violation.  In cases of suspension, remediation of the XF grade does not guarantee Honors College reinstatement or the ability to graduate from the Honors College and receive Latin distinction.  Upon receipt of a suspension appeal, the Honors College Appeals Committee will review the case and determine whether remediation warrants reinstatement.

Note on Academic Standing and Honors College Scholarships: Students must maintain good standing in the Honors College and complete all requirements, including the thesis, in order to retain their scholarships.  The Honors College will carefully monitor the progress of all students; in cases where a student appears at risk of failing to complete Honors requirements, the HC may hold and/or delay disbursement of the scholarship until such time as the student has demonstrated substantial progress.  In the case of suspension, the scholarship will be cancelled immediately.  If the suspension takes place in the course of a semester, the scholarship, if already disbursed, will be revoked and the student will be asked to return the funds to the university. 

  

Withdrawing from the Honors College 

Students may indicate their intention to withdraw from the Honors College by completing the Honors College Withdrawal Form. All students seeking to withdraw will be required to meet with the Dean.  Further, we encourage any student contemplating withdrawal to meet with an Honors advisor and/or the Dean to discuss whether withdrawal is appropriate or advisable.  In the case of withdrawal, the scholarship will be cancelled immediately.  If the withdrawal takes place in the course of a semester, the scholarship, if already disbursed, will be revoked and the student will be asked to return the funds to the university.

 

Graduation Procedures

According to guidelines from the Office of the Registrar, students should print their graduation application one semester prior to graduation.  The third page of this document, the Honors College Degree Application, should be signed by the student ONLY and submitted to the Honors College.

The Honors College recognizes all students who have successfully completed HC requirements with a ceremony and an Honors College medallion.  Medallions will be distributed upon completion of all requirements, including an approved Honors Thesis.

Students who determine in the semester of their anticipated graduation that they need more time to complete their degree or Honors requirements should fill out the appropriate deferment (“rollover”) paperwork with the office of their major.  Following the deferment period, a new graduation application must be submitted to the office of their major and to the Honors College.

Students who defer graduation will attend the Honors recognition ceremony in the semester of their actual graduation, with the exception of those students who defer graduation from spring to the summer. 

 

Resources 

The Honors College Student Leadership Council

The Honors College Student Leadership Council (HCLC) is the student leadership wing of the Honors College.  The council is made of six committees: Ambassador, Academic, Community Life, First-Year Mentor, Philanthropy, and the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Team. These branches are involved in recruitment and retention as well as the development of community initiatives, service, etc., that will enhance the Honors College student experience.  Membership is selective and is limited to Honors Scholars who have completed at least one semester at USM, have a minimum GPA of 3.25, and will not graduate for at least one year. Selection is based on an application and interview process and takes place in the spring of each year. New Honors Scholars have a chance to join in September of each year for a limited number of positions in the following committees: Academic, Community Life, and Philanthropy.

 

Electronic Newsletter and Honors College Listserv

Sent to all Honors College students on the Hattiesburg and the Gulf Park campus on a weekly basis, the electronic newsletter is designed to keep students abreast of important Honors College, campus, and community information.  The newsletter will typically contain information on important topics such as: job, scholarship, internship, and study abroad opportunities, visiting lecturers, upcoming deadlines and advisement schedules, Honors College policies, events, student achievements, residence life information, and class information.

All Honors Scholars are also automatically placed on the Honors College listserv, which we use to communicate vital information.  As with the newsletter, we expect you to read our emails and be responsible for any information contained therein.

 

Social Media

Stay apprised of HC information, fun facts, alumni news, student achievements, and upcoming events by liking us on Facebook and following us on Instagram and Twitter!  

Facebook Facebook: Southern Miss Honors College
Twitter Twitter: HC_SouthernMiss (#hcusm)
Instagram Instagram: @HC_SouthernMiss (#hcusm)

   

The Honor House

As a Southern Miss Honors Scholar, you have privileges at the Honor House.  Using your student ID, you have 24-7 access to the student lounge, which houses several computers and a printer.  During the daytime, you may request up to five sheets of printer paper from the Graduate Assistant; however, please be prepared to bring your own paper at night or on the weekends.

Please be courteous of your fellow students and the Honors College staff and clean up after yourself in both rooms.  We want the Honor House to be a comfortable place for all!

Contact Us

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

Hattiesburg Campus

Campus Map

Phone
601.266.4533