Honors Curriculum

Core Curriculum

The NOVA Honors Core Curriculum is comprised of the following requirements, which can be applied to most NOVA degree programs:

Requirement Credits
English 3
Humanities/Fine Arts 3
Social/Behavioral Sciences 3
Physical and Life Sciences/Mathematics 3–5
Elective 3–4
Elective 3–4
Honors Interdisciplinary Experience 0
Total Credits 18–21

1 Elective may come from any discipline offering an Honors course. You must take at least two 3-credit elective courses to satisfy this requirement.

2 To satisfy this requirement, a student must submit to their campus Honors Lead Faculty member a proposal for how they’re going to meet this requirement. This proposal is due by the end of the semester before the beginning of the term in which the experience will take place. The student will also submit a reflection or report describing how they grew from this experience. This report is to be submitted before the end of the term during which the experience was undertaken. The Interdisciplinary Honors Experience requirement may be satisfied by engaging in one of the activities listed below:

  • The student will complete a supervised, reflective interdisciplinary research paper produced separately from an Honors course; or
  • a presentation at Honors symposium or approved Honors conference of which NOVA is a member; or
  • at least twenty hours of supervised, verifiable community service; or
  • completion of a credit-bearing internship* (3-credit minimum) to be taken in the place of an Honors elective; or
  • non-credit internship* of at least 20+ working hours; or
  • credit-bearing study abroad to be taken in place of an Honors elective; or completion of an Honors Portfolio, which reflects upon or summarizes their Honors experience at NOVA.

*Additional specific guidelines may apply for both credit-bearing and non-credit Interdisciplinary Experience opportunities. Please confirm with the Honors Lead Faculty on your campus for additional details.

3 Only nine credits of Honors Option courses can be used toward the total Honors Core Curriculum credits. 

Honors courses are offered college-wide but may vary from campus to campus. Typically, Honors courses are offered in one of three ways:

  • Honors sections that are designated as full Honors courses with an average of 16–18 students in a seminar-style setting;
  • Honors Option courses, which are regular course sections where Honors students participate by completing the Research, Enrichment, Academic Rigor and Leadership (REAL) Honors components of the course; and
  • Learning Communities that link two Honors courses for the purpose of interdisciplinary study (ex. PSY 201 + ENG 111) where the same group of students works together with combined course work and a collaborative theme and texts.
  • Honors Courses: special sections are designated as full Honors courses with an average of 16–18 students in a seminar-style setting, restricted to Honors students only.

Continuation in the Honors Program is contingent upon you maintaining good academic standing and adhering to NOVA’s Student Code of Conduct. Receiving more than one grade lower than a “C” in an Honors course will result in dismissal from the Program OR probation based on GPA status. To graduate from NOVA’s Honors Program, you must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher AND an Honors GPA of 3.275 or higher with no Honors course grade below a “C.”

Completion of the Honors Program will be designated on your official transcript. You will also receive the Honors Certificate of Completion. This represents a significant enhancement of one’s academic credentials.