Oklahoma State Honors College: An Excellent Option

The Honors College at Oklahoma State University has many strong features, including an honors curriculum that makes the college competitive with the leading programs we have already identified in our research.

The college is one of the fifteen additional public university honors programs that we hope to include in the next edition of our Review . The programs are offered at the following universities: Colorado State, Florida State, George Mason, Kansas State, Kentucky, LSU, Miami of Ohio, Ohio University, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Temple, Tennessee, and Utah.

We have noticed that even though the average size of the honors programs we survey is about 1,800 students, some of the best, in terms of curriculum and honors features, are smaller, with approximately 1,000 students enrolled. The honors college enrolls 1,299 students, which may be close to the optimum size for coordinating honors curricula, housing, and advising.

The curriculum at the honors college requires completion of 39 honors credit hours for the Honors College Degree, “the highest academic distinction that may be earned by undergraduates at Oklahoma State University.”

The Honors College Degree includes the 21-hour requirement for the General Honors Award (one honors track) and the 12-hour Departmental or College Honors Award (the departmental honors track, which includes a thesis and oral defense). Additional hours for students earning the Honors College Degree may come from more undergraduate research, study abroad, internships, community service, or AP credits, on a 1:3 ratio. Recipients of this highest degree also give a public presentation related to their thesis.

Another strength of the Honors College is the experience of its director and staff. The director is Dr. Robert Spurrier, who is a past president of the National College Honors Council (NCHC). Assistant Director Jessica Roark is chair of the NCHC Honors Advising Committee. In fact, all six members of the honors staff are graduates of an honors college or honors program. As far as we know, no other college or program can make this claim.

Oklahoma State grads also perform well in the attainment of prestigious undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships, especially the undergrad Goldwater awards in the STEM subjects, the postgrad Truman awards in a variety of disciplines, and Udall awards, which are mostly related to environmental studies.

If Oklahoma State had been included in the current edition of our book that evaluated 50 leading university honors programs, it would have tied for seventh in Udall awards and eleventh in Truman awards.

Regarding entrance requirements, the minimum score and GPA for entering freshmen is an ACT composite score of 27 (SAT 1220 on critical reading and mathematics only) with a 3.75 high school grade point average (weighted grade point averages certified by the high school may be used) if the application is submitted by February 1. Students who fall just short of these criteria may submit an essay in response to one of several prompts provided by The Honors College.

“Transfer students and continuing OSU students) are admitted on the basis of their college grade point averages (fewer than 60 credit hours, 3.30; 60-93 credit hours, 3.40; 94 or more credit hours, 3.50).

“Honors articulation agreements are in place with a number of two-year colleges in Oklahoma, and transfer honors credit from other institutions is accepted as well.”

The college offers approximately 80 honors sections each semester, “including both honors sections of regular departmental course offerings (Calculus, Chemistry, English Literature, History, Philosophy, etc.) and special HONR-prefix honors seminars (most of which are interdisciplinary and team-taught)…”

Up to 300 honors students may choose to live in the honors dorm, Stout Hall, which features in-room sinks in combination with traditional hall baths, except for the fourth floor, which has single rooms. Stout Hall is a smoke and alcohol-free facility. Stout Coffee and Cafe is located in the basement and serves coffee, sandwiches, soups, and salads. There are also honors classrooms in Stout Hall. Stout Hall would have easily scored above the median in our metric for honors housing if the honors college had been included in our current survey.

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