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NOVA 2011-2012 College Catalog


Qualified, highly motivated students may enrich their study through participation in NOVA’s Honors Program or by enrolling in individual Honors courses. Honors advisors and Honors counselors are available at each campus to help you decide if the Honors Program or specific Honors courses are a good choice for you. The student services center, counseling office, and Honors campus chairs can provide you with further information.

Honors courses differ from regular sections in that your goals and assignments are more centered on your evolving interests. Students are encouraged to think independently and critically, to participate actively in discussions, and to learn in collaboration with their fellow honors students. Honors courses stimulate broader and deeper consideration of the subject matter and encourage the exploration of the interrelationships of ideas across disciplines. All Honors and Honors option courses focus on leadership, research, rigorous academics, and enrichment beyond the basic course material. Each Honors course has a special transcript indicator. Universities and employers often favor students who seek the greater challenge offered through Honors courses.
Honors course offerings may vary from campus to campus. Typically, Honors courses are offered in one of three ways:

  • Honors Courses:  special sections are designated as full Honors courses with an average of 16-20 students in a seminar-style setting.
  • Learning Community Honors Courses:  combinations of Honors courses scheduled and designed in coordination with one another for the purpose of interdisciplinary study, and
  • Honors options:     regular course sections in which Honors students participate while also completing special Honors components of the course.

To be eligible to take an Honors course, you must have completed all prerequisites for that course and be admitted to the Honors Program or meet at least ONE of the criteria listed below.

  • Place into Honors ENG 111/112/125 or Honors MTH 151 via NOVA placement tests (confers automatic eligibility for these courses; all other courses will also require a recommendation) OR
  • Document a combined score of at least 1200 out of 1600 on the SAT Critical Reading and Math sections or at least 1800 out of 2400 with a score of at least 600 on each section OR
  • Document a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 at the last academic institution attended (high school, college, or university) OR
  • Present recommendations from two high school teachers (if currently a high school student) or from two college teaching faculty or counselors based on any course taken at a college or university.

If you do not meet any of the above requirements, you MAY be given permission to take an Honors course based on a recommendation by the Honors chair, Honors counselor, or instructor teaching the requested Honors course(s).  This recommendation may indicate your life experience, special aptitude, or interest that indicates potential for success in this course(s)

Honors Program
The Honors Program provides a comprehensive, educational experience for Honors students and allows them to interact as a community of learners. The Honors Program is designed to provide motivated students with an enriched program of study that includes but is not limited to

  •  academic scholarships,
  •  field trips,
  • campus and community service projects,
  • internships,
  • leadership opportunities,
  • campus- and college-wide honors events,
  • exemplary guest speakers,
  • letters of recommendation, and
  • Campus Honors Club.

The Honors Program is distinguished by its Honors Core Curriculum, comprised of specific courses within the categories listed in the following chart:





Humanities/Fine Arts


Social/Behavioral Sciences


Natural Sciences/Mathematics


1 Interdisciplinary Seminar


2 Electives


3 Total


  1. To take the Honors Interdisciplinary Seminar, it is recommended that you have completed a minimum of 3 semester hours in honors English and 3 semester hours of the humanities, social/behavioral sciences, and/or math/science Honors unit.
  2. Elective credits may come from any discipline offering an Honors course.
  3. Only 9 credits of honors option courses can be used toward the 18 Honors Core Curriculum credits.

Honors Program Admission Requirements
Once you meet at least one of the criteria listed in the Eligibility section above, you must request an interview by your campus Honors chair for consideration in the program.

Honors Program Completion
You may satisfy the requirements of both the Honors Program and your degree program by enrolling in the Honors sections of courses or electives within the degree program requirements. Your Honors advisor and your academic advisor will assist you with course selection.
Continuation in the Honors Program is contingent upon a student maintaining good academic standing and following guidelines for student conduct at NOVA as stated in the Student Handbook.  To graduate with Honors, a student must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher in all Honors courses taken with no grade below a C in any Honors course.
Completion of the Honors Program will be designated on your official transcript and on your diploma. You will also receive the Honors Certificate of Completion: this represents a significant enhancement of your academic credentials.