Introduction to the Oregon State University Honors College

The Honors College (HC) is a small degree-granting college at Oregon State University. There are approximately 1200 students enrolled all working toward an Honors Baccalaureate degree in their academic major. The HC offers the benefits of small classes, a residence hall option, student learning centers and personal advising with the research and involvement opportunities of OSU.

Demand for entrance into the HC is high and competition strong. We evaluate applicants not only on their academic accomplishments, but also on their level of writing, while considering coursework, extra-curricular activities, and contribution to community. The HC welcomes students from diverse academic, cultural and geographic backgrounds.

The Honors College Features:

  • A tight-knit community of engaged students, faculty, and staff
  • Challenging and creative curricula for students of all majors
  • Unique honors classes, typically limited to 12 or 20 students
  • Courses that complement, not complicate, other course work
  • Courses taught by professors, not teaching assistants
  • One-on-one mentoring by faculty members while preparing the Honors Thesis
  • Access to Student Learning Centers perfect for homework, study groups, and meetings
  • Academic advising from HC advisors
  • An HC themed living learning community in partnership with West & Sackett Residence Halls
  • Leadership involvement, and trips and events through the Oregon State University Honors College Student Association (HCSA)

HC Learning Outcomes

The Honors College has established two learning outcomes.  These outcomes describe the skills that participation in HC courses and activities (including the honors thesis) allows all HC students develop by the time they graduate.

Scholarly inquiry

As an HC graduate, you will have developed the ability to engage in pursuits that create new knowledge and contribute to one or more scholarly areas of study.  This learning outcome includes the following elements:

  1. Ability to choose a relevant and meaningful topic to study within a scholarly area
  2. Ability to employ a sound approach in creating new knowledge within a scholarly area of study
  3. Ability to synthesize and/or analyze results from a significant, self-directed, and open-ended project
  4. Ability to find multiple sources of relevant information
  5. Ability to evaluate the quality of information resources
  6. Ability to write an honors thesis:  a significant, self-directed, and open-ended project
  7. Ability to present an honors thesis
  8. Ability to defend an honors thesis

Engaged inquiry

As an HC graduate, you will have developed the capacity to fully engage in meaningful dialog, which incorporates cross-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary perspectives.  This learning outcome includes the following elements:

  1. Ability to fully engage in meaningful conversations outside of your discipline
  2. Capacity to demonstrate your understanding of diverse perspectives in conversations in the classroom and/or field settings
  3. Ability to effectively communicate your unique disciplinary perspective to inform the learning of others


The Oregon State University Honors College was established in 1995 by the Oregon State Board of Education. It is publicly funded and governed by the Honors College Council appointed by the OSU Faculty Senate. Two HC students sit on the Council and participate in policy discussions.

Since its beginning, the HC has graduated hundreds of qualified and capable students. People who go through the HC experience a strong sense of community and diversity, as well as opportunities that would not otherwise be available.

The future of the HC is bright. Each year, more students are accepted, and more choose to join. The caliber of students is increasing, and the level of achievement of graduates is growing as the college continues to thrive.