2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog 
    Jun 21, 2024  
2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Honors College Distinction

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Program Coordinator/Contact
Rebecca Bott, Interim Dean
Honors Hall 119, SHON Box 2705A
E-mail: rebecca.bott@sdstate.edu
Click here for additional information.  

Program Information
The Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College at South Dakota State University provides talented motivated students in any major with an enriched, personalized curricular pathway and experiential learning opportunities which allow them to maximize their learning at South Dakota State University.

Program Admission and Requirements
Students who earn a 27 or higher ACT score and/or are in the top ten percent of their high school graduating class are eligible to take Honors College courses.  Students not meeting these requirements but who wish to take Honors College courses should contact the Honors College. Continuing students need a 3.0 cumulative grade point average to enroll in Honors College courses.

When a student decides that they intend to pursue graduation with Honors College distinction, they submit an Honors College Continuing Enrollment Form and sign the Honors College Student Ethic (http://www.sdstate.edu/honors/forms.cfm). At this point, students are officially enrolled as Honors College students, Dean Nichols is added as an advisor to their program, and their progress is audited each semester to ensure progress toward requirements for graduation with Honors College distinction, and eligibility for Priority Registration.  Students complete 24 Honors credits integrated into their academic requirements for their majors and a 3.5 grade point average, an Honors colloquium, upper level contract, and an independent study project.

Priority registration is provided to allow students to meet the academic requirements of their major while also fulfilling unique scheduling demands associated with graduating with Honors College distinction.  It is intended only for students who are committed to pursuing the complete Honors College curriculum.

Each semester, the Honors College Dean’s office conducts an audit of students to determine their eligibility for early registration.  Eligibility will be based on the following progression standards:

  1. Students must have an up to date continuing enrollment form on file in order to be eligible for early registration.  These should be filed with the Honors College Dean’s office upon students’ initial indication of their intent to graduate with Honors College distinction, and should be updated if/when students change majors, add minors, or make other significant revisions to their academic plans.
  2. Credit, grade point average and other progression standards for Honors early registration are as follows:

Credits completed

Honors credit requirement

Standard of excellence


Enrolled in at least 3 Honors credits

27 or higher ACT or top ten percent of their graduating class.


Completed at least 3 Honors credits

Minimum GPA 3.2


Completed at least 9 Honors credits

Minimum GPA 3.3


Completed at least 12 Honors credits

Minimum GPA 3.4


Completed at least 15 Honors credits

Minimum GPA 3.4


Completed at least 18 Honors credits
Note:  Honors contracts should be filed by spring semester of students’ Junior year

Minimum GPA 3.4


Completed at least 21 Honors credits
Note:  Honors independent study forms should be filed first semester of students’ Senior year

Minimum GPA 3.5


Completed at least 24 Honors credits
Note:  Application for graduation filed with Honors College Dean’s Office.

Minimum GPA 3.5

Students intending to graduate with Honors College distinction who do not meet these standards will not be granted priority registration.  However, they are encouraged to work toward these standards earn their eligibility in future semesters. 

Student Learning Outcomes
Graduates from the Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College demonstrate academic excellence, well-rounded, multi-disciplinary, global perspectives, critical thinking, creativity and problem solving skills, and oral and written communication abilities. Moreover, they are exemplars of the qualities of character elucidated in the Honors College Student Ethic.

The Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College is a member of the Upper Midwest Honors Council and the National Collegiate Honors Council.

Course Delivery Format
Honors courses are characterized by high levels of student engagement, faculty/student interaction, communications, critical thinking and multi-disciplinary perspectives.  Most courses are taught face-to-face on the Brookings campus in lecture/discussion/seminar formats.  Many Honors College courses also include hands-on laboratory, service, travel and experiential components.  A few Honors College courses are delivered each year through on-line and hybrid delivery formats.

Requirements for Honors College Distinction: 24 Credits

  • Honors General Education Credits: 12
  • *HON 383 - Honors Colloquium **  Credits: 3-6
  • *Honors Contracted coursework (300-400 level, in students major/minor field of study) Credits: 3-6
    Students work with faculty to identify appropriate supplemental learning opportunities to earn Honors credit for their courses. The Honors Contract form is filed with the college. Upon successful completion of the contract specifications, the course is transcripted as Honors.
  •     Credits: 3
  • 24 credits in Honors
  • 3.5 cumulative grade point average

*Students must complete at least 3 credits of both Honors Colloquium (HON 383) and Upper Division (300-400 level) Honors Contracts. The additional 3 credits may be earned through contract, colloquium, or the Honors Seminar series (290, 390, 490).


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