How We Chose the Fifty

There is no question that interest in public university honors programs is intense.  As fewer highly-qualified students can afford elite educations at Ivy League institutions or at Stanford, Chicago, and other prestigious private universities, public universities have tried and, in many cases, succeeded in providing a strong alternative.

Much of the discussion about honors programs, not surprisingly, concerns universities that are well-known nationally, especially as a result of the popular U.S. News Best American Colleges report.  Therefore, the 2014 updated edition of the guidebook includes honors programs at 50 of the top 100 public universities ranked in the 2014 U.S. News survey, including most public “elites.”  Some outstanding public universities are not included, most notably UC Berkeley and the College of William & Mary.  (For a discussion of UC Berkeley and William & Mary, please use the Search function and go to the “What About Berkeley and William & Mary?” post.  A few other well-known public universities either declined to participate in our review project or have honors curricula that are so flexible that we could not quantify honors completion requirements or identify honors class sections.

For a list of the 50 programs covered in the 2014 edition, please see Fifty Honors Programs.

For a list of programs who have committed to the next edition, please see Now We’ll Be Tracking 75 Honors Programs–and Here They Are! This list was updated on November 13, 2015. The new list goes beyond universities ranked in the top 100 in order to provide more programmatic and geographic range to our reviews.

In the book we will not claim that the fifty programs we have evaluated are the “top 50” in the country, but we do rate the fifty that met our basic criteria.

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