Q: How long has NNU had an Honors College (HC)? A: The HC at NNU is in its third year. The first HC graduates walked in May, 2017. Your input as a member of the HC at the early part of its existence will actually help us form the college. We are in the process of establishing traditions that will affect and influence HC students for years to come.

Q: Will having an HC diploma ensure my placement in a graduate program? A: The honors designation on your NNU transcript will aid with graduate school applications. HC students are recognized as enthusiastic scholars who seek challenging academic situations. Graduate schools seek applicants who willingly immerse themselves in above-and-beyond coursework.

Q: Does the NNU HC have additional requirements for students? A: Yes. In the Fall of their junior year, HC students take HNRS3970 Honors Thesis Research. HC Director Dr. Shaw uses this semester-long class to cover academic writing style, technique, and purpose. The class is a combination of seminar-style classroom teaching and independent study. Ultimately, Fall of senior year brings HNRS4970 Honors Thesis, which culminates in the Honors Thesis. This project complements the thesis or project requirements of your major. (Some majors at NNU do not have a thesis/project requirement.) Please see the catalog description of these two pivotal classes for further information.

Q: What influence do the students in the Honors College have on each other? A: You will progress through your four years at NNU with your fellow matriculates in the Honors College even though you will each have your individual major and minor. Having at least one class with the same small group of students each semester develops academic, intellectual and social community. Your involvement in the Honors College will thereby provide you with access to the ideas and thinking processes of people with different majors and interests than your own.

Q: Who teaches the HC courses? A: The university’s top professors teach these interdisciplinary honors classes. They are innovative, risk-taking professors who happily take on the task of tailoring courses for high-achieving students. Honors classes at NNU are team-taught, so you will be exposed to double the opinion and expertise in each course. For example, Department of History and Political Science Chair Prof. Christian Esh and Prof. Steve Shaw, director of the Honors College, are teaching Western Intellectual Traditions II in Spring 2016. Their syllabus is unique for this small class and includes a challenging reading list, many writing opportunities, intense class discussion and debate, and personal interaction—rare opportunities for undergraduates in any university setting.

Q: How hard is it to get into the NNU HC? A: As of now, HC hopefuls must have a high school GPA of 3.5, must be in the top 10% of their graduating class, must score at least a 25 on the ACT, and, of course, must be accepted into NNU. If you meet the requirements, you will automatically receive a separate letter from the head of the HC, Dr. Steve Shaw, who has long taught Political Science at NNU. Dr. Shaw will invite you to submit an essay directly to him via email. Once you write and email your essay, he will evaluate it and look over your high school record. You will receive an invitation to join the HC at that time.

Q: Why would I want to extend myself and attend NNU as an HC student? A: If you meet these criteria, the HC is probably for you:

  • You typically seek out academic situations that expand your mind and push you to excel in school.
  • You’re willing to go above and beyond the basics in exchange for deeper understanding.
  • You are curious about everything and enjoy discussing ideas and concepts with others.
  • You make the most of the opportunities you have.
  • You meet the academic requirements for NNU HC.
  • Graduate school is part of your plan for the future.
  • You recognize a good deal when you see one.