Florida State Honors Program: Fast-Track to Advanced Degrees

Talented students in a hurry to obtain medical degrees or master’s degrees might want to consider the Florida State University Honors Program, which has special options available for honors students who qualify.

The program also has a pre-law option that enables honors students to shadow law school classes and attend functions related to the law school while they are undergrads; the students are then guaranteed admission to the FSU College of Law if they meet the admission requirements.

The honors program itself is selective: the average SAT/ACT is 2070/31. The GPA requirement is difficult to report because FSU adjusts high school GPAs according to a somewhat complicated formula:

“The Office of Admissions recalculates all grade point averages — we do not use the GPAs listed on your high school transcript or report card. Only academic subjects will be used in the recalculation. Grades of C- or better in dual enrollment, AICE, AP, and IB coursework will receive 1 full bonus point in the recalculation; grades of C- or better in honors, pre-AICE, pre-AP, and pre-IB will receive 1/2 bonus point. For repeated courses, we will only forgive a low grade if the exact course has been repeated (i.e., Algebra I will not replace an Algebra I honors grade — both courses will be used in the recalculation).”

Outstanding students can also apply to one of FSU’s “2+3” programs that offer both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years. (Many master’s degrees normally require two years for completion, so five years is an abbreviated length for both degrees.)

“The combined bachelors/masters degree programs provide academically talented students an opportunity to complete a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in a shorter time span. These programs allow students to double-count graduate courses for both degrees, thus reducing the time it would normally take.”

There are 16 departments that allow the master’s fast track: computer science, history, math, philosophy, science-teaching, statistics, marketing, communication, criminology, recreation management, students with exceptionalities, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, nursing, public health, and public administration.

The honors pre-med tract in some cases allows students to obtain bachelor’s and medical degrees in seven years instead of eight. The pre-law does not appear to speed up the process of obtaining a law degree, but does, as noted above, lead to admission and provide realistic previews of the law school experience.

The honors program includes many of the best features of honors education, including an interesting curriculum, smaller classes, priority registration (honors students register with grad students), and honors residence halls.

The FSU program is one of the fifteen additional public university honors programs that we hope to include in the 2014 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, UC Riverside, and Utah.