Honors This, Honors That…What’s the Difference?

Are you interested in Baylor’s Honors College but not sure how that might fit with your chemistry/biochemistry and/or prehealth classes?  If so, then this post is for you as we explain the different programs in the Honors College and how they fit with chemistry/biochemistry and prehealth!


Every Baylor degree consists of three parts: a major(s), core curriculum, and supplementary opportunities (including certificates, minors, etc.).  The Honors College offers four distinct programs: University Scholars, Great Texts, the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core (BIC), and the Honors Program, which each fit into different areas of your Baylor education, depending on your interest.


The University Scholars program is a distinct major, offering a highly customizable B.A. degree.  As a University Scholar, students can create an individualized curriculum of concentrations, secondary majors, and minors, including chemistry and biochemistry.  Although the general core requirements do not apply, University Scholars have different requirements, including several Great Texts courses, an Honors thesis, an independent reading list, and an exit interview.  Although highly flexible and compatible with prehealth programs, this major is rigorous and ideal for students with interest in two or more distinct academic disciplines and independent study.  I know many premed University Scholars, and their combinations include: biochemistry/medical humanities/public health, biochemistry/molecular biology/French, and chemistry/English/creative writing.


Great Texts offers both a major and a minor.  It is an interdisciplinary department studying foundational works of theology, philosophy, and literature in small seminar-style classes.  By engaging these cornerstone texts, students are confronted with questions about what we know, how we live, and who we aspire to be, which are important regardless of current major and career goal.  In addition, all University Scholar and Honors Program students will take at least two introductory Great Texts classes.  I fell in love with Great Texts after my first course and easily added it as a minor, and it is also compatible with premed requirements as a major (check out their sample four-year plans).


The Baylor Interdisciplinary Core (BIC) is an integrated alternate core curriculum with an emphasis on global perspective, contemporary issues, and critical thinking.  For students in BIC, instead of taking the general education classes such as English, religion, etc., students take interdisciplinary classes exploring the interrelation of the humanities, social sciences, communication, and physical sciences.  Students are challenged to be better thinkers, communicators, and citizens in these small, seminar-style classes taught by teams of professors of various backgrounds, academic disciplines, and perspectives.  BIC is compatible with a wide variety of different majors, prehealth, and more, so look at their sample academic planners for an idea of what your class schedule might look like.


Last, but not least, is the Honors Program, which is a supplementary program designed to complement your major with smaller classes, close contact with professors, and an in-depth Honors thesis project on a topic of your choice.  Although there are a few required classes including Great Texts, Colloquium, and thesis preparation, most of your Honors units can be fulfilled with classes already required for your degree, either through smaller Honors sections or working with a professor on a special topic to more deeply engage with course material through an Honors contract.  Our department usually offers smaller Honors sections for both semesters of general chemistry and organic chemistry, and other premed classes, such as biology, genetics, and statistics, are common as well.  The hallmark of the Honors program is the senior thesis, for which you work closely with a faculty mentor to perform original research and truly challenge yourself as a scholar over two years.  The Honors Program is easily integrated with chemistry/biochemistry, prehealth, and various minors, and both Sri and I have greatly enjoyed our experience as Honors students.


We hope this helps you see how the Honors College might fit into your Baylor education, and be on the look out for later posts about why Sri and I love the Honors College, FAQs, and more.

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