Add depth to your academic experiences

Students who are admitted to the Honors Program will take up to 8 courses for Honors credit and complete an Honors Thesis Project or a similar project (e.g. scholarly/creative WTE, or capstone project within major). To remain in good standing, Honors students need to maintain a cumulative college GPA of 3.5 and an Honors GPA of 3.0.

In Honors courses, students engage in active discussion and hands-on learning. With Honors contracts, students can make any course an Honors course while they tailor their degree to their interests and gain more faculty time.

A student with an honors stole walks smiles at graduation.

Honors Program Levels and Graduating with Honors

Honors students can graduate with university honors at one of three levels of Honors credit by taking a specific number of Honors courses over their years at Washburn:

  • Honors Associate - 12 Hours 
  • Honors Scholar - 18 Hours
  • Honors Graduate - 24 Hours

All Honors students must complete an Honors Thesis Project or similar scholarly project (e.g., scholarly/creative WTE, or capstone project within major), regardless of tier.

Additionally, Honors students may graduate with the designation of Distinction or High Distinction based on the completion of an optional portfolio reflecting upon their intellectual development over the course of their career in Honors.

Make Any Course an Honors Course

Honors students can create contracts to make any course an honors course by working individually with a faculty mentor. Honors students work with professors in and outside of their major departments to enrich existing courses with innovative projects. Sample honors contract components:

  • Shadow a professional in the field
  • Conduct student-led research
  • Edit a collection of student work
  • Engage in additional discussion of course material

To learn more about this option, contact the Honors Program or visit the Honors Student Council section of D2L. To be considered for an Honors Contract, be sure to complete and submit the contract proposal within the first two weeks of the class.


Honors Courses include a special sections of The Washburn Experience (HN 101) and Advanced College Writing (EN 300) for Honors students, and special topics classes such as "Science and Technology for World Leaders," "Digital Story Telling" and "Kansas Legislative Experience."

HN101 A/B: Washburn Experience - Honors (Kerry Wynn/Stephen Hageman)

HN101 is a three credit hour course, designed for first-year honors students (incoming honors freshmen) providing students with a common first-semester experience. The course will substitute for WU101 thereby fulfilling this university-wide requirement. Like WU 101, course content will focus upon information literacy, technology, and the transition into the Washburn University Community of Learning in addition to exposure to co-curricular activities (a.k.a., passport activities). Common themes such as the exploration of writing, study skills, research, wellness, technology, plagiarism, and others will be covered to introduce students to a series of best practices for success. HN 101 differs from WU 101 in general in that additional topics will be explored and some shared topics with WU 101 (e.g., writing) be emphasized more. Prerequisite: Accepted into Honors program.

HN 201 A: Ethical Responsibilities of Leadership (TBD)

This class is a survey of the fundamental ethical responsibilities of leadership; requires examination of obstacles to and opportunities for ethical leadership, an understanding of the cultural contexts of leadership and an articulation of a personal ethics statement as a foundation for applied ethics in the leadership process.

HN201 B: Intro to French Cinema (Courtney Sullivan)

This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary academic discipline of community studies. Topics include the importance of understanding self and place, theories of community change, basic community- based research methods, and the importance of civic engagement.

HN 201 D: Introduction to the Study of Religion (Chris Jones)

This course serves as an introduction to the academic discipline of religious studies. We will explore the human side of religion through the careful study of contextualized religious communities. All students do a field observation component in which they apply theories of religion taught in the class to their field date. Honors students will develop and implement a field observation project within a religious community of their choosing, and they will work with the instructor to develop a robust reading list in contemporary scholarly literature on religion that they will apply to their final field work write-up.

HN301 A: Literary Criticism & Theory (Karalyn Kendall-Morwick)

This is not just applicable to English Literature majors!  The theories discussed in this class are at the core of modern study in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Knowledge of these theorists will help your study no matter the field. Practical criticism and writing, stressing the types and methods of critical approaches to literature, ancient and modern, and their application in the interpretation of literary works.

HN301 B: Media Law, Ethics & Diversity (Kristen Grimmer)

This course takes an in-depth look at the First Amendment, ethics, and diversity from a media practitioner's standpoint. Students will think critically about the freedoms of speech in the United States, privacy in a digital age, and common legal protections in the workplace. The course will also include an examination of professional ethics in mass media and how those may be applied in case studies. Furthermore, students will also examine the societal representations of gender, race, and disability in media and how those images influence and reinforce cultural stereotypes.

HN 202 A/B: Exploring Concepts of Leadership

This course provides a survey of leadership theories and introduction to the academic study of leadership using case studies and contexts of the leadership process; requires identifying personal leadership potential, articulation of a personalized leadership theory, and leadership concepts applied in a Campus Action Project.

HN 202 D: Community Studies (Jason Miller)

This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary academic discipline of community studies. Topics include the importance of understanding self and place, theories of community change, basic community- based research methods, and the importance of civic engagement.

HN 392 A: Directed Readings (Kerry Wynn)

 This section of 392 allows students to develop their own plan of study supervised by either the Dean of the Honors Program or another faculty member who has agreed to supervise a student’s independent study.

Juniors are encouraged (but not required to enroll in this course prior to enrolling in Honors Thesis.

HN392 B: Mock Trial (Danielle Hall)

By participating in Mock Trial you will:

  • Learn the basics of trial advocacy, and how to polish these basic skills so as to attain competitive success.
  • Develop and sharpen your oral communication skills.
  • Develop advanced research skills.
  • Develop and sharpen your analytical ability.
  • Learn through competition with your classmates and teams from other universities.
  • Be better prepared for law school.

HN 399 A: Honors Thesis (Kerry Wynn)

Like HN392A, this course is designed to be an independent study but with the focus being on fulfilling one of the requirements for completing the Honors Program – the thesis.

TH 202 HNA: Acting I – Honors Section (Julie Noonan)

This class develops the tools used by actors. Improvisations, or spontaneous theatrical play, presents students with acting challenges, giving them opportunities to exercise and expand their emotional and expressive range. Each challenge provides a particular focus for what are essentially experiments in human behavior. For theatre students, improvisation greatly enhances an immediate and vital connection to scene work. It provides tools for communication of text and subtext, creation of character, physical activity and nonverbal communication. Non-theater students are given the opportunity, through these activities to re-engage their senses, revitalize their bodies, voices, and intuition and explore the complex maze of human personality, interaction, and communication in a safe environment.

For questions/concerns about any of the above courses, email Dr. Wynn at or give us a call at 785.670.1342.


Henderson Room 110
1700 SW College Ave.
Topeka, KS 66621

Phone: 785.670.2062
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