Student Presenting at HIP Fair

Honors Programs

Enrich your educational experience and distinguish yourself from your peers by participating in an honors program or gaining academic recognition.

University Honors Program

Students from all majors may be invited to join the University Honors Program as an entering freshman. We will evaluate your candidacy for honors based on the strength of your essay, your ability to demonstrate a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or higher, and your performance in courses that are part of a heightened curriculum—such as Advanced Placement (AP), college prep, or honors.

If you are a transfer student, you can participate if you still have general education requirements to complete.

Don't despair if your scores don't quite make the cut. If you display the necessary academic initiative, you may be invited into the program after the first or second semester of your freshman year.

Coursework Requirements

A Certificate of Honors in General Education is awarded at graduation to students who:

  • Successfully complete a minimum of five Honors courses, including Freshman Honors English, an Honors section of ASC 101, an Honors Colloquium, and two other Honors courses. 

A Certificate of Advanced Honors in General Education is awarded at graduation to students who:

  • Successfully complete a minimum of five Honors courses as well as an additional Honors Colloquium or an Honors independent study in some field of general education.

Out-of-Class Events

To continue in the University Honors Program, each participant must attend a minimum of six outside-of-class academically or culturally enriching events during each academic year.

Grade Point Average

You must have an overall GPA of 3.25 by completion of your next to last semester.

  • $2000 annual scholarship
  • A University Honors Program mentor who will help you navigate the transition to college
  • Priority registration for classes
  • Housing in our Honors Living Learning Community
  • Small class sizes designed for spirited discussions
  • Opportunities to attend a variety of academic and cultural events

And most importantly, your impressive distinction and success sets you apart, putting you on the inside track with employers and graduate school admissions officers!

Discipline-Specific Honors Programs


Students are admitted to the School of Business Administration Honors Program as entering freshmen, based on high school GPA and academic credentials. If numbers permit, then additional students may be admitted at the end of freshman year (based on GPA).


  • Take 5 business honors courses during the first 6 semesters.  A co-op can substitute for one of the business honors courses.
  • Maintain a minimum 3.25 GPA.
  • Complete two of the following enrichment experiences: honors international trip, graduate course, research with a faculty member, passing a professional exam, or working in the Small Business Development Center.


  • Eligibility to take honors sections of required business courses, which typically cover the material in greater breadth and depth, and often with a focus on experiential learning.
  • Opportunity to participate in an honors international trip.
  • Special distinction at commencement wearing the honors cord. In addition, a certificate of honors awarded at commencement and on official transcript.  

The engineering honors program is an exciting opportunity for academically talented students to enrich their engineering education with advanced honors courses, an honors seminar, collaboration with faculty on research, civic engagement, and professional and leadership development opportunities.

Students can complete their program of study in 4 years graduating with a certificate of honors in engineering.


  • Qualified Engineering first-year students are invited to the Engineering Honors program upon matriculation and at the end of their first semester at Widener.
  • Transfer students who have a GPA of 3.25 or better and who earned approved transferrable credit in MATH 141 (Calculus I), CHEM 135/175(General Chemistry I), and PHYS 161 (Physics I), with a grade of “B” or better at matriculation are also eligible.
  • Students must maintain a cumulative GPA and technical GPA of 3.00 or higher while enrolled in the Engineering Honors Program.

Students must maintain a cumulative GPA and technical GPA of 3.00 or higher while enrolled in the Engineering Honors Program.

If you have questions, contact Dr. William Nagel ( in the Engineering Honors Program. 


To be eligible for the School of Nursing Honors Program, students need:

  • A 3.2 cumulative GPA at the end of sophomore year
  • A 3.5 GPA in their nursing major at the end of the fall semester of junior year (acceptance contingent on GPA)
  • To demonstrate critical thinking and communication skills, creativity, self-direction, perseverance, and integrity

To maintain status in the School of Nursing Honors Program, students must:

  • Maintain a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA
  • Successfully complete all nursing courses with a B or better
  • Actively participate in honors activities including meetings
  • Uphold professional nursing standards and the pursuit of excellence


A total of 10 credits are required for completion of the School of Nursing Honors Program through the following required courses:

  • NURS 371H: Research & Evidence-Based Nursing Practice (4 credits): This hybrid course (offered spring of junior year) introduces students to the science of evidence-based practice through a synthesis of research knowledge with an emphasis on evidence-based nursing practice, enhanced writing, and scholarly exchange.
  • NURS 480H & N481H Senior Honors Project (6 credits, under the supervision of a faculty mentor): The Senior Honors Project is a two-semester effort in senior year. Students conduct extensive readings and study in a particular clinical area of nursing interest. A paper is prepared describing the completed work, and a presentation is given during Honors Week of senior year. Students’ projects must demonstrate evidence of independent, abstract, analytic, and critical thinking.


The School of Nursing Honors Program provides opportunities for in-depth study and professional development, nurtures development as a nurse leader and educator, and prepares students for graduate school.

Students will have opportunities to:

  • Work with faculty conducting research
  • Mentor lower classmates
  • Cultivate leadership through community service and involvement
  • Interact with faculty in small group settings
  • Become involved in the university's summer research program

Students can earn honors in the following majors in the College of Arts & Sciences:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Environmental Science & Sustainability
  • French
  • History
  • Physics 
  • Psychology
  • Spanish
Students Presenting at Honors Week

Honors Week

A tradition since 1992, Honors Week celebrates the academic excellence of Widener undergraduates.

Each year, students report on a range of topics, from cutting-edge research to creative and civic engagement projects. Events include honor society induction ceremonies, faculty recitals, and student presentations.  

Additional Opportunities for Academic Recognition

Involvement in Undergraduate Research

Our honors students are often at the forefront of undergraduate research, working closely with faculty and presenting their work on campus and at national and international conferences. Students have also had their work published in scholarly journals. That's all part of the inside track - gaining experience, earning recognition, and having opportunities to network before you even graduate.

Honors Societies

In addition to our honors programs, academic recognition may also be earned through membership in national honor societies. 

Academic Honors, Prizes, and Awards

Your hard work in class will definitely pay off as you venture out into the world, but we all appreciate being acknowledged now and then. Aspire to land on the dean's list, the president's list, or graduate summa cum laude, the highest academic distinction.

If you have questions about the University Honors Program, contact the University Honors Program Office. For questions about academic-specific honors programs, contact the related academic office.