Many students in the LSA Honors Program
find themselves discouraged from choosing Honors concentrations due
to the strenuous requirements as well as a desire to do more work
outside of their concentrations. Honors students now have the
opportunity to graduate with honors by taking a variety of
upper-level classes that interest them, instead of focusing
narrowly on one specific area of study. The new Honors in Liberal
Arts degree offered by the Honors Program gives students an
opportunity to broaden the scope of their studies outside of the
sometimes-rigid structure of an Honors concentration.

Mira Levitan

This new option for Honors students will provide them with more
flexibility during the final two years of their time at the
University. For one, the new degree will be beneficial to many
students because it will give them more freedom to study abroad.
Honors concentrators often find it difficult to study abroad during
their junior year because it can conflict with the timeline for
their senior theses. Giving students an opportunity to earn an
Honors degree without the thesis requirement gives them more
freedom to study abroad and take part in a variety of new
experiences.

This new program also encourages Honors students who would not
normally stay active in the Honors Program to do so. Often,
especially competitive departments cannot accommodate every student
who wishes to complete an Honors concentration. In addition, many
Honors students find that they are unable to explore enough
interesting fields of study within the current structure of an
Honors concentration. As a result, many talented Honors students
are unable to continue in Honors throughout their third and fourth
years. The new degree will encourage students in these types of
situations to maintain their ties with the Honors Program
throughout their college careers.

Even though the HLA program does not require an Honors thesis,
it is still academically rigorous. Students must complete the first
two years of the Honors Program and take five HLA-approved courses,
four of which will be outside of their concentrations. An
HLA-approved class is one that is approved for graduate credit, and
many 400-level classes count as credit for both graduate and
undergraduate students. Also, students must submit a portfolio to
be evaluated by a committee and maintain at least a 3.4 grade point
average.

The new degree offered by the Honors Program gives Honors
students the chance to complete advanced coursework in a wide range
of fields as well as dabble in unique courses and study abroad,
while still being able to earn a degree with honors. The HLA degree
gives students more freedom than they would have in a traditional
Honors concentration, while maintaining the high academic standards
for which the Honors program is well known. This is an opportunity
that will give more options to students while enhancing the quality
of their education.

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