The Curriculum

The Mars Hill University Honors Program curriculum is a distinctive, multidisciplinary education opportunity. It includes a special section of FYS 111, annual seminars that focus on community research and development, five-week mini-courses on focused topics related to faculty members’ research areas, and individualized contracts in the honors student’s major field of study.

Including the special FYS 111 section, the Honors Program totals 18 credit hours, the equivalent of most minors. Typically, an honors student’s program will take the following form:

FYS 111


Honors Seminars


HON 100 (freshman year, fall)
HON 200 (sophomore year, spring)
HON 300 (junior year, spring)
HON 400 (senior year, fall)



HON (HON 201-220)

Honors Contracts


HON 456, 457, 458

Students who participate in study abroad or domestic study away programs may be allowed to count some coursework at other institutions towards the Honors Program requirements.

FYS 111

All new first-year honors students at Mars Hill University register for the honors section of the First-Year Seminar. The course introduces students to the university experience at Mars Hill, to concepts fundamental to a liberal arts education, to the skills necessary for success in college, and to disciplinary perspectives. It is taught by a faculty member who serves on the Honors Council, with assistance from an upper-level honors student.

Honors Seminars

Every year, students in the Honors Program participate in an annual seminar. The seminars are paired, such that the freshman HON 100 course and the senior HON 400 course are taught concurrently in the fall, while the sophomore HON 200 course and the junior HON 300 course are taught concurrently in the spring. All Honors Seminars are offered for S/U credit only.

Students in the fall HON 100/400 seminar develop and direct campus-based experiential opportunities, such as academic lectures, short-term field experiences, and cultural events.

Students in the spring HON 200/300 seminar identify a problem in the community, conduct applied research through a variety of discipline-based approaches, and implement an action plan.

Honors Mini-Courses

Mini-courses are the hallmark component of the MHU Honors Program. During every fifteen-week semester, three five-week, one-credit courses are offered consecutively in three different disciplines. Students who have completed their first year in the program may register for as many or as few of the mini-courses in a term as they wish, but they must satisfactorily complete a minimum of eight mini-courses to meet the Honors Program requirements (nine if the student chooses to develop only two honors contracts).

Honors students are encouraged to register for mini-courses that are “outside their comfort zones,” to take classes they might not otherwise have taken. Students may opt for the S/U option in up to three mini-courses.

Honors Contracts

During their junior and senior years, students in the Honors Program work with faculty in their major or minor fields of study to develop honors contracts (HON 456, 457, 458), consisting of additional responsibilities or research projects associated with regularly offered courses. To complete the Honors Program, students must satisfactorily complete at least two contracts (three if the student chooses to take only eight mini-courses). Each student’s honors contracts must complement separate courses.