About the Honors Program


The Honors Program provides access to a number of opportunities designed to enhance the college experience, including:

  • Specialized courses
  • Independent research
  • Social and cultural events both on and off campus
  • Financial assistance for active members
  • A group of like-minded peers with whom to interact socially and intellectually

The Honors Curriculum

Students in the Peake Honors Program are required to maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above. They are also required to complete the following program of study:

Honors seminars are small, discussion-oriented courses with a more rigorous reading, writing, and speaking component than average courses. The classes usually revolve around specialized topics and are often interdiscinplinary in nature. Students are required to complete 3 courses, only 1 of which can be in the student’s major. Recent Honors course offerings have included:

  • Plants that Changed the World
  • London in Literature
  • American Slavery
  • Aging
  • The Morality of Capitalism
  • Newsreal: the forces and factors that shape news media production
  • The Year 1968
  • Race, Class, and Gender in Latin America

Honors Events

The Honors Program provides off-campus excursions to explore cultural sites throughout the Southeast.  Recent trips include the Jamestown 400th Anniversary Exhibits, a Dead Sea Scroll Exhibition, the Biltmore Estate, the Atlanta Aquarium, and Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.  Students may also attend a variety of on-campus events–lectures, plays, musical performances, etc.–designed to broaden their understanding of and appreciation for a wide range of arts and sciences. Participation in 8 approved events (or 2 per year) over the course of one’s academic career is required.

Independent Research

Senior Capstone:

The Honors experience culminates with a semester-long, interdisciplinary research project. Working closely with at least two faculty members, the student will generate a topic, conduct research, and present his/her findings in a public presentation. The Capstone Project is an especially valuable experience for those who are planning to attend graduate school.

Recent capstone projects have:

  • investigated the role (and motives) of women in contemporary terrorist organizations.
  • shown how the plant pathogen Ergot has influenced the course of Western civilization through its role in the Black Death, the Great Awakening, and the French Revolution.
  • argued that antebellum black spirituals contain a covert rhetoric of independence that functioned to provide strength and guidance to the enslaved.

Capstone Alternative Projects:

As an alternative to the Senior Capstone, students may design and complete two smaller, independent research projects at any point during their time in the Honors Program.  Such projects could include an independent study with a faculty member, an additional research paper in a regular class, a study abroad journal or presentation, the writing of a play or other creative work, or any other suitable academic/creative exercise.
Recent alternative projects have included a:
  • reflective journal kept during a study abroad experience at Oxford University.
  • scientific analysis of an algae bloom in an on-campus lake (with treatment recommendations).
  • composition of an original Minnesang (a genre of medieval German poetry), including an English translation and explanatory notes.