Honors Program

  • Honors students
  • honors students
  • honors students

Overview of Honors Programs

Besides the typical honors that graduating seniors earn by virtue of GPA alone (cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude), Fresno State offers a variety of honors programs for both entering freshmen and upper division students in order to motivate aspiring students to fulfill their unique potential. Honors students collaborate in a community of scholars who support and inspire each other while striving for academic excellence and making a difference in the community and wider world.

Students who participate in honors programs may be eligible for scholarships and other campus benefits, such as priority registration.  They may also have an advantage when applying to graduate schools and employment opportunities, thanks to their hands-on experience developing their own research inquiries and the one-on-one guidance and encouragement they receive from a faculty mentor.

Faculty mentors guide honors scholars in their research and creative activities as well as towards their long-term goals.  If you are a faculty member with a passion for teaching and a desire to mentor students, you should investigate becoming an instructor/mentor in one of the various honors programs across campus.

How it works

Typically, honors students are part of a small academic cohort that may last from two semesters to a full four years. These programs are often interdisciplinary and usually include an independent research or creative project in which students work closely with a faculty mentor; some programs emphasize teamwork in addressing a local need.  In these honors projects, students may design, develop, and share their own research that investigates a question of personal interest and importance to their field and that applies and expands on what they have learned in their academic fields. Faculty can incorporate a number of high impact practices into an honors program.    

Helpful Resources and Links

Four-Year Programs for First-Time Freshmen

Smittcamp Family Honors College: A 4-year program for first-time freshmen in any major

  • Admissions: high admissions requirements and separate application
  • Funding/support: 4-year President’s Honors Scholarship covering in-state tuition for eight semesters and dorm room; Honors College office in McLane 200 with individualized advising and dedicated staff
  • Learning benefits: lower and upper division honors General Education courses offered with special themes chosen by faculty, applied learning, and community engagement; emphasis on servant-leadership with community service required in first three years; study abroad is strongly encouraged (via mini-semester, semester, summer, or year-long programs); senior honors project required.

Student Stories

German Marquez AlcalaThe 2014 Fresno State President’s Medalist, German Marquez Alcala, was a President’s Scholar in the Smittcamp Family Honors College who majored in agricultural business and minoring in philosophy. He participated in the College of Arts and Humanities Honors Program, writing an honors thesis (“An Ethical Analysis of American Immigration Policy: A Kantian Approach”) with the guidance of his mentor, Dr. Mariana Anagnostopoulos. Since graduation, he has earned a master’s degree from Purdue in agricultural economics and is now pursuing a doctorate in economics at the University of Michigan.

Tranice WarnerTranicé Warner was accepted into the Husband-Boeing Honors Program in the Lyles College of Engineering, and she explored groundwater subsidence in the Central Valley to help develop an artificial aquifer recharge method unique to the area’s geotechnical conditions. Warner was named the 2016 CSU Trustee Emeritus Pete Mehas Scholar. After completing her undergraduate degree in civil engineering, Warner entered the doctoral program in environmental engineering at USC.

How to Get Involved:

Faculty who wish to teach challenging and engaging Honors General Education courses in an interdisciplinary faculty cohort that decides upon key themes to be explored during the semester should contact the Director, Dr. Saeed Attar (sattar@csufresno.edu).

Lyles College of Engineering Honors Program: A 4-year program for first-time freshmen in engineering majors but also open to transfer students

  • Admissions: high admissions requirements and separate application
  • Funding/support: Husband-Boeing Honors Scholarship covering in-state tuition for entering freshmen
  • Learning benefits: emphasis on academic excellence, professional leadership, engaged service, global perspective, entrepreneurship, and innovation; access to individualized learning options, research projects, access to industry leaders, opportunities for internships, and opportunities for hands-on learning; senior honors project required.

Upper Division College and School Honors Programs

Each program has a distinct vision, mission, curriculum, admissions criteria, and application, but all stress collaboration across disciplinary lines and require a culminating honors project. For faculty who enjoy facilitating intellectually demanding interdisciplinary work, it can be an especially rewarding experience to guide a cohort of young scholars as an honors instructor.

Links to College Honor Programs

Links to Department Honors Programs:

Faculty in certain departments can participate in departmental programs that foster a love of learning and guided research through an honors curriculum in a discipline.