Honors College Students and Staff

Honors College

The Honors College at Commonwealth University—51Թ provides exceptional opportunities for high-achieving and high-potential students like you to expand your cultural and personal boundaries while reaching your intellectual and career goals.

illustration of Carver Hall

Enter smart. Leave brilliant.

Imagine a college experience that begins by applauding you for your high achievement and immense potential and also ...

  • Welcomes you into a select, talented, diverse, and close-knit community of students and faculty who know that smart is just the beginning of who you are
  • Challenges you with daily opportunities for truly deep and experiential learning in the fields that interest you most
  • Gives you the one-on-one support and attention you’d expect at a prestigious college while providing all the benefits, activities, and affordability of a regional public university

The Honors Experience

Honors graduate Leslie Mensah

It’s designed for academically gifted students like you who want the very best experience that an undergraduate 51Թ can offer: an innovative and inspiring interdisciplinary curriculum, a cohort of creative and passionate peers, and the professional guidance and support to explore, create, learn, and succeed brilliantly.

51Թ’s Honors College combines the affordability, resources, academics, and campus life of a comprehensive state university with the seminar-style classes, personal attention, close interaction with faculty, and supportive community you would expect at a prestigious liberal arts college. From your very first day on campus — when current Honors students and staff welcome you to the Honors Learning Community — to when you graduate with Honors, you will be immersed in an undergraduate experience that is every bit as supportiive, enriching, and personalized as any university in the country.

Honors Learning Community Housing

Lycoming Hall
Lycoming Hall is home to the Honors College.

Should you choose to live on-campus, you’ll automatically be part of the Honors Learning Community (LC) , a group of first-year Honors students who live together in dedicated Honors housing. In no time at all, you’ll get to know other Honors students and become acclimated to campus, 51Թ, and the surrounding areas. Living with a cohort of other first-year Honors students will help you find friends fast, get inside answers to all your questions, and make connections that will last long after college life is over.

As a member of the Honors LC, you’ll have access to a plethora of resources from shared study and social spaces to on-site Honors staff available to answer your questions.

At the heart of the Honors College is an interdisciplinary, experiential academic curriculum that offers you:

  • Small, discussion-based Honors classes
  • Independent, student-driven, capstone project with dedicated faculty mentors
  • Intense, one-on-one engagement with faculty and peers
  • Ongoing, individualized attention
  • Skills-based, leadership training through social, civic, academic, and professional opportunities and events
  • Personalized guidance on study-abroad and service opportunities
  • Freedom to explore ideas and opportunities across disciplines and around the globe.

Program Requirements

To graduate from the Honors College, a student must complete the following requirements:

  • 10 credits of Honors College courses
  • 16 hours of volunteer service work each academic year
  • 2 high impact, immersive experiences, such as study abroad, research with a faculty member, a professional internship, or an original creative work
  • Attendance at 2 University and/or Honors sponsored events per semester
  • Senior Capstone Project informed by one of your high impact experiences.

Honors College Admission Requirements

In order to be considered for admission to the Honors College, you'll need to submit your 51Թ Application (through the Office of Admissions) and be admitted to the University. Upon receiving your application, Admissions will determine your eligibility to join the Honors College.

First-Year Students Minimum Qualifications

  • GPA of 95 (3.8+ on a 4.0 scale) or above (no essay required). Congratulations! On the basis of your outstanding academic record in high school, you will receive an invitation in your Admissions Portal to join the Honors College. Simply accept this invitation. However, please keep in mind that space in the Honors College is limited. Accept the invitation and guarantee your spot now, while space is still available. Once the Honors College is full, we will move to a wait list for qualified applicants.
  • GPA of 90 to 94.9 (3.5-3.79 on a 4.0 scale) (essay required and optional supplementary materials). Congratulations! You have been invited to apply for admission to the Honors College. To complete this application, submit an essay using one of the two prompts in the Admissions Portal and submit any supplementary materials that showcase your suitability for Honors such as a creative project or a description of outstanding leadership.

Transfer and Current 51Թ Students: We encourage transfer and current 51Թ students to apply for admission to the Honors College. Admission is based on the following criteria:

Transfer Students:

  • Minimum 3.5 cumulative university GPA
  • Minimum 15 earned university credits
  • No more than 60 earned university credits at the time of application (some exceptions may apply)
  • A short interview with an Honors College Director or Dean. Contact us to set up an appointment.
  • A single-spaced, one-page essay outlining your reasons for joining the Honors College. To help you structure the essay, we encourage you to review the Honors College’s Mission Statement.

    The Commonwealth University Honors College seeks to cultivate a diverse, dynamic community of high-achieving scholars and ethical leaders who understand their roles as global citizens. Through interdisciplinary, creative, and challenging coursework, co-curricular experiences, and a capstone experience, the program provides opportunities for students to expand their cultural and personal boundaries while reaching their intellectual and career goals.

For incoming transfer students, the Honors College at Commonwealth University—51Թ will accept the following:

  • Six credits of previous Honors coursework from another university’s Honors program or college.
  • One completed project as part of your previous Honors experience as one of 51Թ’s High Impact Experiences (HIE) as determined by the Honors staff.

Current Students:

  • Minimum 3.5 GPA at Commonwealth University
  • Minimum 15 earned university credits
  • No more than 60 earned university credits at the time of application (some exceptions may apply)
  • A short interview with an Honors College Director or Dean.
  • A single-spaced, one-page essay outlining your reasons for joining the Honors College. To help you structure the essay, we encourage you to review the Honors College’s Mission Statement.

    The Commonwealth University Honors College seeks to cultivate a diverse, dynamic community of high-achieving scholars and ethical leaders who understand their roles as global citizens. Through interdisciplinary, creative, and challenging coursework, co-curricular experiences, and a capstone experience, the program provides opportunities for students to expand their cultural and personal boundaries while reaching their intellectual and career goals.

Honors College Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the more commonly asked questions concerning the Commonwealth University-51Թ Honors College.

While some majors at 51Թ University have honor societies, these organizations are typically reserved for juniors and seniors in that major who make specific GPA and service minimums. Honor societies are membership organizations and may charge fees. The Commonwealth Honors College distinguishes itself from these major-specific organizations by fostering a community of high-achieving students in an engaging curricular and co-curricular program that spans your entire four-years at 51Թ. The benefits of the Honors College are distinct from, and complementary to, what you will find in a major-specific honor society.

Yes! We welcome students from all majors.

The first thing we look at is your cumulative high school grade point average. If yours is 95% or higher, great! You will automatically receive an invitation to join the Honors College. If your GPA is between 90% and 95%, you will be invited to write a short essay based on your choice of a couple of prompts. We will assess this group of applicants based on your essay and your high school transcripts.

If you are in the 95%+ GPA group, you will get an invitation to join the Honors College shortly after your application is submitted. If you are in the 90-94.9% GPA group, it will take a bit longer because Honors staff will review your essay and any supplementary materials. Our goal is to have a decision offer sent to each accepted applicant within 30 days of receiving your essay.

Currently, the Honors College is not offering separate scholarships for incoming students. For questions about available scholarships and financial aid, please visit our scholarship site. Instead, the Honors College is pleased to offer funding to help students complete their required two High Impact Experiences (HIE) such study abroad, an internship, or research with a professor. Students often supplement these funds with Professional Experience Grants (PEG).

No additional fee or tuition is required to participate in the Honors College.

Yes! We have had many students successfully pass through the Honors College who were varsity athletes, passionate thespians, dedicated musicians, and active members of student government. We encourage all of our students to take advantage of the many extracurricular opportunities at 51Թ. We will work with you to ensure you have time to meet your program requirements for Honors while still fulfilling all of your other obligations.

With a very few exceptions (e.g., varsity athletes living in Elwell Hall), yes, first-year residential Honors students are required to live together in Honors housing. Transitioning to college life can be challenging, and living with students who share your academic abilities will help to make your transition easier. There are many advantages to living in Honors housing. For example, you will have 24-hour access to the Honors common spaces that contain, among other things, a high-quality laser printer, computers, additional study rooms, and a kitchenette. Additionally, many Honors courses are taught in the new classrooms in Lycoming Hall, so on a cold day, you can roll out of bed, ride the elevator down (or cross the sidewalk) and stroll right into class. Honors first-year housing is located primarily in Lycoming Hall. If Lycoming fills, we will work with Residential Life to designate additional Honors (e.g., neighboring Luzerne Hall) living space in close proximity to Lycoming. From this central location, you’ll be a stone’s throw from the Scranton Commons, the University Store, the Soltz Hall food court, and the Kehr Student Union.

Yes! In fact, we strongly recommend that all interested Honors students study abroad. While study abroad programs unfortunately ground to a halt during covid, we are pleased to announce that starting the summer of 2024 we will begin rolling out see a number of new and revived faculty-led study abroad programs available to 51Թ Honors students . Faculty-led study abroad course locations include Morocco, London, and Italy, with more on the way. Additionally, the University has exchange programs with several universities worldwide, many of which offer exceptionally affordable opportunities to spend an entire semester studying abroad.

You can visit the Honors College and meet with our students, faculty, and staff by contacting the Office of Admissions or by reaching out to us individually via email or by phone (570-389-5481) for a personalized tour.

The 51Թ Honors Experience is for You

Innovative Academic Study
51Թ Honors offers opportunities for individualized intellectual exploration and small class sizes in an engaged community of peers and mentors.

Honors College Contacts