The College of Honors & Excellence

Claire Procopio, Interim Dean


The College of Honors & Excellence is focused on educating the whole student, bridging the gap between curricular and extracurricular learning, and ensuring effective student transition and success at the University to create a diverse community of undergraduate scholars. We are the launch pad for most incoming freshmen enrolling at Southeastern including students in our selective Honors Program. We have units dedicated to serving returning and transfer students and supporting student learning. 

Office for First-Year Success

The Office for First-Year Success (FYS) works in partnership with the university academic departments and campus community to assist students in becoming active, responsible, and successful learners. FYS is committed to creating an environment which fosters student development and retention.

To fulfill this mission, FYS provides sustained advising throughout each student's first year. Professional academic advisors/coaches are assigned to assist all incoming freshman (new and transfer students with less than 30 hours). First-year students meet individually with their professional advisor/coach throughout the semester to discuss academic and career goals, grades, obstacles, and other concerns. Advisors also help first-year students learn about and understand academic plans, curriculum and/or program requirements, general education requirements, prerequisites, and course selection. .

Much of this advising is conducted through the Southeastern 101: Freshman Academic Success course. SE 101, the University’s required academic success course for beginning freshmen, is a two-hour credit graded success course that provides first-year students with the tools needed to manage the emotional, social, and academic transition to the university. It is designed to help cultivate effective and adaptable behaviors, develop successful academic strategies, and to connect with professional advisors to explore career options, academic plans, and target the skills needed to be a successful college student.

The Honors Program

The Honors Program at Southeastern is designed to prepare students to know and understand the most significant ideas, deeds, and events that have shaped our world and will shape the future; to have confidence in their abilities to think independently, write clearly, and speak effectively; and to be leaders in their communities and professions. It aims to prepare responsible individuals to be perpetual learners who realize their potential for a fully human, ethical, and prosperous life. 

The Honors experience at Southeastern, as many of our alumni have testified, can make a profound difference in the value and effect of ones' undergraduate education by broadening perspectives on the world and strengthening credentials for graduate, law, and medical schools and careers in education, government, business, research, and the health fields.

The Program provides highly motivated students a strong foundation in education and career preparation. In small classes, students enjoy conditions for learning at the peak of their abilities. The Honors curriculum, characterized by comprehensive and in-depth coverage of the material in a learning community environment, facilitates discussion, debate and intellectual friendship among students and with their professors. Rounding out the benefits of Honors education at Southeastern are priority registration, travel opportunities, extracurricular events and lectures, Honors residential accommodations, membership in the Honors Student Association, Honors academic credit show on the transcript, the opportunity to earn a Sophomore Honors Distinction Award and notation on the transcript, the opportunity to earn a Senior Honors Distinction Award and notation on the transcript, and the ability to participate in the Senior Thesis process to earn the Honors Diploma. 

Admissions Requirements: A composite score of 24 or higher on the ACT and a minimum 3.0 high school GPA qualify an entering freshman to join; a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in 12 or more hours of university credit qualifies an advanced student to apply. Honors active status is not granted automatically but depends on the student applying to the Honors Program office, which serves as an advising center for students pursuing an Honors diploma. Each college may have special criteria for accepting students into its upper-division Honors curricula.

Staying in Honors: Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA to remain in the Honors Program. Freshman Honors Program students whose GPA at the end of their first semester is between 2.73 and 3.0 are allowed one probation semester in which they must establish a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA to continue in the Program. Students must also show progress toward the Honors Diploma each academic year. Membership in the Honors Program is a privilege. Violations of the Student Code of Conduct can result in removal from the Honors Program.

Recognition Requirements:

Sophomore Honors Distinction: Recognition includes a notation on the transcript and a certificate awarded after the end of the fourth regular semester in college (does not count advanced placement or dual enrollment semesters). To receive the recognition, students must formally apply with the Honors Office the semester after meeting the requirements below:

  • Completion of 15 hours of 100- and/or 200-level Honors credits chosen from at least three disciplines by the end of the fourth regular semester with no grade lower than a "B" in any Honors course used towards the distinction, and
  • A minimum of 3.0 cumulative GPA

Senior Honors Distinction: Students receiving this distinction will receive recognition at the Honors Recognition Ceremony and on their transcripts. Students working toward senior honors distinction are expected to indicate their intention to the Honors Director during the first semester of the junior year (sooner if pursuing early graduation) for additional information on requirements including the following:

  • Completion of thesis readiness program in the junior year designed to expose students to the concept of the senior thesis and lay the groundwork for senior research later, 
  • Completion of nine hours of upper-level Honors coursework including at least three (3) hours of 300- or 400-level HONR credit, and
  • A minimum 3.2 cumulative GPA.
  • Honors Diploma
  • Completion of 15 hours of 100- and/or 200-level Honors credits chosen from at least three disciplines;
  • Completion of 9 hours of upper-level Honors coursework;
  • Completion of a Senior Thesis following Senior Thesis guidelines, and
  • A minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA with ‘C’ grade or better in all Honors courses applied to the Honors Diploma. 

The Path to the Honors Diploma 

To earn the University Honors Diploma, a student must successfully complete the following requirements:

1. Required Honors Freshman and Sophomore Coursework (15 hours)

  • 15 hours of freshman and/or sophomore Honors credit chosen from at least three academic disciplines.

2. Upper-level Honors Coursework (9 hours) chosen from any combination of the following:

  • 300- or 400-level HONR course(s)
  • 300- or 400-level H course(s) in the major
  • 300- or 400-level H-option of course(s) in the major
  • Up to 3 hours of university-sponsored Study Abroad

3. Senior Thesis

  • Thesis criteria available from the Honors Office, include a significant research or creative endeavor and an oral presentation of the project
  • Students enroll in HONR 300 (1 hour) the semester they will complete and present the senior thesis 

 Honors Courses  

Required Honors Freshman and Sophomore Coursework: The foundation of the Honors experience takes place in the freshman and sophomore years when students work to complete at least 15 hours of Honors 100- and/or 200-level Honors coursework chosen from at least three academic disciplines. This shared academic experience helps to create a vital academic community among Honors students. They share their ideas beyond the classroom, whether over coffee or in the dorm, and extend their intellectual friendships from semester to semester. Students are encouraged to take Honors courses beyond the 15-hour minimum to satisfy additional General Education and Major requirements as appropriate.

Upper-level HONR Courses: These courses offer students an opportunity to study topics outside the standard curriculum. The courses are designed to deepen a student’s knowledge about particular intellectual issues and to demonstrate the interconnectedness of academic disciplines. Topics are considered from the perspectives of the pure and applied sciences, the social and behavioral sciences, the arts and humanities, and business and finance.

H-Courses in the Major: Many programs have coursework specifically designated for juniors and seniors in their majors. Students should consult the schedule of classes, the catalog, and the major department for additional information.

Honors Options: By completing an Honors Option contract (H-Option) in a course, a student may earn Honors credit in a regular class. The student must contract with the professor to complete additional and/or more-in-depth assignments. Upon completion, the student earns Honors credit that can be used to partially satisfy the requirements for the Honors Diploma. Typically, no more than 6-hours of 100-/200-level credit earned through the H option process may be used toward the Honors Diploma.  Contact the Honors Office for more information on the H-Option process. 

Senior Thesis 

The Honors diploma requires a senior thesis be done in the college in which a student majors. Under the direction of a faculty member from their major, each Honors student pursuing the Honors diploma selects a topic in the major, plans and completes a research project or creative endeavor, and presents the results in the form of a senior thesis. Credit for a senior thesis is approved by the Director of the Honors Program and overseen by enrollment in HONR 300 (1 hour). If a college or department does not designate a particular numbered course in which to do the senior thesis project, its students may select an appropriate 300-400 level course in the student’s major. 

Honors Research Scholars and Honors Creative Scholars 

Honors Research Scholars or Honors Creative Scholars will complete a research/creative experience of at least two-semesters under the supervision of a faculty mentor in their discipline. The research/creative experience should culminate in a written thesis, publication, or other scholarly/creative product. The objective of the program is to involve highly motivated undergraduate students in an in-depth research/creative project that simulates the “graduate student” experience, to expose the student to the discipline appropriate academic research and publication environment or creative process, and to introduce the student to the scholarly/creative community.


  • Students must have completed at least 30 hours of undergraduate work.
  • Have at least two semesters remaining before graduation.
  • Have at least a 3.0 GPA.
  • Have identified a faculty member who is willing to mentor the student in their research/creative experience.
  • Submit an application for the Honors Research or Creative Scholars program to the Honors Office.

Once accepted into the program, students must:

  • Actively participate in an independent research/creative project under the guidance of their faculty mentor. The research/creative experience should last at least two semesters and must consist of work not required for the undergraduate degree.
  • Produce an undergraduate thesis, refereed publication, exhibit, performance, or other scholarly product approved by the faculty mentor with the Honors Office. Students are strongly encouraged to submit written work for publication in an appropriate academic journal.
  • Publicly present their results to the campus community at a department forum or public symposium such as the annual College Honors Convocations.

Interested students should contact the Honors Office for more details. 

Academic & Career Exploration Office 

Academic and Career Exploration (ACE) Coaches provide academic and career coaching for students in transition that are no longer served by first-year advisors. Students needing support reaching their academic goals can work with ACE coaches who help students in developing study strategies, study structure, and study habits. The ACE Coach works in collaboration with department heads, faculty advisors, and undergraduate coordinators to identify and support students that are not progressing in their degree program, unsure about their major, and/or need assistance researching other majors and related occupations.

The Transfer Student Coordinator provides transition assistance to incoming transfer students with over 30 credit hours working to create a transfer-friendly campus that prioritizes transfer enrollment and identifies specific strategies aligned with student needs and the university’s goals. The Coordinator understands that transfer students are unique and works to eliminate “transfer shock” by providing information for transfer students pertaining to Southeastern policies, procedures, advising structures, terminology, learning platform, academic expectations, student engagement opportunities, etc. The Coordinator serves as an initial point-of-contact for transfer students referring students to appropriate departmental offices, academic departments, faculty, and support services. The Coordinator collaborates with admissions and academic departments to determine course equivalency determinations and appropriate major. The Coordinator also works with academic departments to establish clear paths for transfer students to pursue their major while maximizing their transfer credit.

For students that experience academic challenges, the ACE office offers an Academic Recovery Program where students can participate in staff-led groups and/or individual meetings with an advisor/coach. The Academic Recovery Program is designed to help students identify and develop the tools, skills, and support necessary to recover their grade point average and to regain "good" academic standing with the University as quickly as possible. As an added resource, students are also eligible to enroll in the SE 102: Freshman Academic Coaching Seminar, which is a one-credit hour course that provides student-focused academic coaching by engaging and encouraging students to identify the personal and academic strategies necessary to succeed as college students. This class is offered to all classifications. 

Tinsley Learning Center

The Tinsley Learning Center (TLC) is a nationally accredited learning center that assists Southeastern students through various academic resources. The TLC has attained the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA) Level III Certification - the highest certification available. With this certification, our tutors must meet strict hiring guidelines and undergo rigorous tutor training. Our core values are: We Care, We Respect, We Strive for Excellence, and We See Learning as a Process Not a Product.

The TLC offers a variety of educational resources where students are engaged and empowered to cultivate the skills needed for academic success and life-long learning. Our tutors are trained in research-based learning strategies. These learning strategies are incorporated into the academic resource sessions that the TLC offers.

Some of the academic resources we offer include but are not limited to in-person and small group tutoring sessions; free access to NetTutor, an on-line tutoring service company; peer assisted study sessions; embedded tutoring for select courses; and a variety of study skill workshops.

Our academic sessions primarily focus on first- and second-year classes across many academic disciplines. All TLC resources are free to Southeastern students.