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Honors Programs, Academic Options and Societies

University-wide Honors Programs

Honors in the Humanities Program

The Honors Program in the Humanities offered through in the College of Arts and Sciences, but open to students in all majors, provides high-achieving students the intellectual challenge and opportunity to develop analytical and critical thinking skills through an integrated program of seminars. The seminars encourage active participation – discussion, experiments, presentations, performance - and exchange of viewpoints as they follow a comprehensive study of historical periods and interrelated progress in science, culture, social history and intellectual thought. Students examine major figures, works and ideas from antiquity to the present. Each seminar fulfills a Core Curriculum requirement, and juniors and seniors may opt for an independent, faculty-supervised research project.

Students who complete at least five seminars within the program with at least a 3.30 USF grade point average and a 3.00 average in Honors in Humanities seminars will be graduated from the University "In Honors."

The Davies Forum

The Louise M. Davies Forum at the University of San Francisco is a challenging intellectual program that focuses on "The Search for Values in Contemporary America." The Davies Forum examines the turbulent state of American society in the last half of the 20th century and the present and fosters an analysis of the country's current struggle to define its purpose and direction. Distinguished visitors and guests work with selected USF students and faculty in seminars and discussions to provide opportunities for informed consideration of timely national and international issues.

Each semester a different group of selected students called Davies Scholars participates in the interdisciplinary Davies Seminar under the direction of that semester's Davies Professor. Seminars have ranged in focus from disarmament, leadership and the American presidency, and American values in international business, to lying and secrecy, ethics in sports, genetic engineering, gender and family, and the environment.

A public lecture or series of lectures is presented by Davies Fellows, national and international leaders who address the issue of Christian/Jesuit thought as applied to current social situations. Davies Fellows have included McGeorge Bundy, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Ralph Nader, and Isabel Allende.

Past Davies Forums have included "Re-making the News" which investigated the upheavals in the commercial and publicly-funded media networks, “Mixed Race and the Legacy of Loving” which explored the histories, issues, and implications of racial mixture, “Digital Literacy” which taught students how to navigate, evaluate, create, and participate in today’s digital environments, and “The Future of Great Cities: Development Policy and Social Justice in Urban America

St. Ignatius Institute

The St. Ignatius Institute is a great books program in the Jesuit, Catholic intellectual tradition that offers an alternative to the USF Core Curriculum. The curriculum focuses on foundational texts in the Western intellectual tradition through reading classic thinkers and writers such as Homer, Dante, Austen, and Nietzsche. Courses, such as Ancient Greek and Roman Literature, Medieval Thought, Modern Philosophy, and Music and Art are taught in seminar-sized classes. Open to all majors, St. Ignatius Institute students often spend time studying abroad, including a program at Oxford University in England.

Devoted faculty offer personal attention in classes structured as both lectures and seminars in an academically challenging environment for students who want a rigorous academic college experience while living and studying in a community. In addition to a rigorous academic program, St. Ignatius students have the option of living as a community in a USF residence hall, and taking part in regular community activities that include opportunities for service, foreign travel, and spirituality.

University Scholars Program

New freshmen that have demonstrated extraordinary scholarship and aptitude based on their high school academic grade point average and SAT or ACT scores are invited to enter USF as University Scholars. In addition to a renewable scholarship that pays a substantial portion of university tuition, scholars join a community within the university’s schools and colleges with unique services and resources that foster an environment of learning and engagement. Faculty mentors offer additional faculty academic support, and schools and colleges provide opportunities to get to know fellow University Scholars, to participate in research, and take part in on-campus events and cultural outings in San Francisco. University Scholars engage in athletic, cultural, advocacy, service and global opportunities as campus leaders, and as mentors for future scholars.

Martin Baro Scholars Program

The Martín-Baró Scholars Program invites selected freshmen to participate in an opportunity to live, learn, and build community in the multicultural city of San Francisco. This two-semester program explores issues of social justice and diversity through a blend of academic study and real-world application. Students selected for the Martín-Baró Scholars Program will attend classes together and live as a community in a designated residence hall to form a comprehensive and engaging learning environment. They meet and learn in one of the most exciting cities in the world with some of the best professors at USF. Martin Baro scholars explore the diversity of San Francisco and participate in creating a better city through field trips, excursions, and cultural events.

Honors Majors

Biology Honors Major

The Department of Biology offers a Bachelor of Science degree with Honors. This degree program requires a research thesis in an area of Biology. The program is designed to provide superior undergraduate students with opportunities to carry out original research in preparation for graduate school, professional training, or a position in an industrial or government research laboratory.

Students with an overall grade point average of 3.2, plus a grade point average of 3.4 or above in Biology and supporting science courses (Chemistry, Math and Physics) are eligible for acceptance into the program. Depending on the area of research interest, students are assigned a thesis committee consisting of a research advisor and one additional faculty member. Honors students present a departmental seminar on their research. Successful completion of the Biology Honors Program is recorded on the student's transcript.

Mathematics Honors Major

The Department of Mathematics offers a Bachelor of Science degree with Honors. The program is designed to provide superior undergraduate students with opportunities to carry out original research in preparation for graduate school, professional training, or a position in an industrial or government research. Mathematics Honors students satisfy all the requirements for a Mathematics Major, as well as satisfying the following requirements:

* Two (2) additional upper division courses, including at least one 400-level course, and

* PHYS - 110 General Physics I

* PHYS - 210 General Physics II

Physics Honors Major

This track is recommended for students choosing physics as their main professional field, or students planning to pursue graduate studies in physics or related fields. The major program requires completion of a total of sixty-six (66) units, of which fifty-four (54) units correspond to Physics, and 12 to Mathematics support courses.

Psychology Honors Major

Students majoring in psychology may be eligible to graduate with the designation Honors in Psychology, if both their GPA in psychology and overall GPA are 3.5 or higher, have successfully completed PSYC 498 (Thesis Development Seminar) and 499 (Honors Thesis Seminar), and make an oral presentation.

PSYC 498 and PSYC 499 are a two-course sequence for high achieving and highly motivated psychology majors, which will give them hands-on experience in generating, conducting, analyzing and communicating the results of empirical psychological research.

Honors Academic Options

Honors Track in English

The Honors Track is an enhancement of the two existing tracks in English. All English majors select either the writing or literature track. Honors students draw upon courses in both tracks and complete an additional 12 units, or 3 courses, beyond the requirements of the major. In addition, students write an Honors Thesis incorporating both creative and critical components.

Honors in History

Senior History majors having a 3.5 grade point average (GPA) for twenty-four (24) or more units of History courses may elect to prepare, for Honors, a senior thesis under the supervision of a professor in the area of the student's emphasis. In most cases the thesis will be completed in one semester, earning the student four (4) units of credit. Under special circumstances, the thesis may be extended to two semesters and eight (8) units of credit.

Honors Seminar in Media Studies

This is a capstone course for selected senior Media Studies students in which they will research a significant Media Studies problem and produce an Undergraduate Honors Thesis in Media Studies.

Honors Thesis in Philosophy

Open to senior philosophy majors with a 3.3 cumulative GPA and a 3.75 GPA in Philosophy together with departmental approval of a prospectus, which must be submitted to the Department at the end of the semester prior to its being written. Philosophy students produce an Undergraduate Honors Thesis.

Politics Honors Thesis and Seminar

For those who have most excelled in their Politics courses, the Department offers, on a competitive basis, the option of enrolling in a Senior Politics Honors Seminar. The seminar is designed to engage students in a sustained discussion of significant political questions and to provide a context for writing their Senior Thesis … the Seminar will focus on varying themes, such as service, justice, participation, utopia, development, and so forth. Students will be immersed in the literature on one of these themes. They will be taught how to construct and carry out a major research project, and they will write a Senior Honors Thesis as a result of their research.

Public Service Honors Seminars

These seminars examine the role of public service in our society. They explores themes such as what motivates individuals to serve, do individuals have an obligation to serve, and what is the role of the government in encouraging/coercing service. Students will have the opportunity to complete an original piece of research. Enrollment is limited to students enrolled in the McCarthy Center Honors Minor program or with instructor permission.

Sociology Honors Thesis Workshop

The Senior Honors Thesis is an original, written work, whose topic, elected by the student, is considered the capstone of his/her academic education. The thesis provides an occasion of a creative overview and synthesis of one's work across the major and allows the student an opportunity to fully exercise her or his independent research and writing skills in an area of sociology. The Honors Thesis Workshop provides a supportive context for researching and writing a thesis. The seminar is open to seniors who have at least a 3.0 grade point average and who meet other requirements for admission as established by instructor. Course may be used toward electives for Sociology major.

Mentors offer additional faculty academic support, and schools and colleges provide opportunities to get to know fellow University Scholars, to participate in research, and take part in on-campus events and cultural outings in San Francisco. University Scholars engage in athletic, cultural, advocacy, service and global opportunities as campus leaders, and as mentors for future scholars.

Honor Societies

Alpha Kappa Delta is an international honor society for sociology majors. It is a democratic organization dedicated to the study of social phenomena for the promotion of human welfare. Life membership is given to those students who demonstrate excellent academic ability and a commitment to the goals of society.

Alpha Sigma Nu is the University of San Francisco's Jesuit honor society organized to honor students who have distinguished themselves in scholarship, service and loyalty. The society’s national motto is Scholarship, Loyalty, and Service, and its members reflect this through their dedication to their studies as well as ongoing service with and for the various communities to which they belong.

Beta Alpha Psi is the premiere national honors society that recognizes students of good moral character who have achieved scholastic excellence in the fields of accounting and finance. The society offers excellent opportunities for professional development, community service, and social/professional networking. Numerous events are held every semester designed to further students’ growth as individuals and future professionals.

Beta Beta Beta Biology Honor Society is a biological honors society dedicated to enhancing students’ understanding and appreciation of biological study by emphasizing excellence in scholarship, dissemination of scientific knowledge and the promotion of biological research. Members strengthen their scientific community of peers through service, socials and exploration of future professions.

Beta Gamma Sigma is the national scholastic honor society in the filed of business administration recognized by the International Association for Management Education (AACSB). Eligible students rank in the top 10% of their senior class.

Delta Sigma Pi is a professional honor society organized to foster the study of business in universities; to encourage scholarship, social activity, and the association of students for their mutual advancement by research and practice; to promote closer affiliation between the commercial world and students of commerce, and to further a higher standard of commercial ethics and culture and the civic and commercial welfare of the community.

Gamma Gamma Gamma is a nursing honor society whose purpose is to develop the qualities of leadership and responsibility in its members. Members establish friendships, develop strong character and broaden their moral, intellectual and spiritual lives through service the University community. Its name Gamma Gamma Gamma represents goodness, graciousness and generosity.

Lambda Pi Eta is the communication studies honor society of the National Communication Association. LPH represents what Aristotle described in his book, Rhetoric, as the three ingredients of persuasion: Logos (lambda) meaning logic, Pathos (Pi) relating to emotion, and Ethos (Eta) defined as character credibility and ethics. The society’s goals are to recognize and reward outstanding scholastic achievement, to promote professional development among Communication Studies majors and to establish and maintain close relationships between faculty and students. Members participate in community service projects, participate in USF events and explore future professional options.

The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) is a national honors society recognizing outstanding academic achievement among first and second year college students who continue their success and leadership skills through community service. NSCS is a growth opportunity, leadership training ground, and resource in which students who join meet people on campus and at other schools who become friends, long-term supporters, and future colleagues. NCSC provides the tools and encouragement students need to transform campuses and address community-wide issues. A wealth of resources are available to NSCS members for help with their future endeavors, including scholarships; leadership training; internships; job leads and resources; and travel opportunities.

Phi Alpha Theta is the national history honor society whose mission is to promote the study of history through the encouragement of research, teaching, publication and the exchange of learning and ideas among historians. Members have shown distinction in their study of history and contributions to the University’s learning community.

Phi Delta Kappa is an international professional honor society for men and women in education. The members are recognized leaders in the professional and those aspiring to be. Outstanding scholarship and service to community are hallmarks of the members.

Pi Delta Phi is the French National Honor Society for undergraduate and graduate students at accredited public and private colleges and universities in the United States. The purpose of the Society is to recognize outstanding scholarship in the French language and its literatures, to increase the knowledge and appreciation of Americans for the cultural contributions of the French-speaking world, and to stimulate and to encourage French and francophone cultural activities.

Pi Mu Epsilon is the national math honor society dedicated to enhancing students’ understanding and appreciation of mathematics by emphasizing excellence in scholarship, dissemination of scientific knowledge, the promotion of research and service to community.

Pi Sigma Alpha is the national political science honor society. Members have demonstrated high standards of scholarship, academic distinction in political science and outstanding dedication to their University.

Psi Chi Psychology is the national honor society in psychology, which was founded for the purposes of encouraging, stimulating, and maintaining excellence in scholarship, and advancing the science of psychology. Its mission is to produce well educated, ethical, and socially responsible members committed to the science and profession of psychology and to society.

Sigma Delta Pi is the national honor society for students in Spanish studies. Members demonstrate high standards of scholarship, academic distinction in their studies and outstanding dedication to their University.

Sigma Theta Tau is the national honor society of nursing. Members have demonstrated superior scholastic achievement and evidence of professional leadership potential.

Sigma Tau Delta is the national honors society for English majors and minors. Lambda Iota Tau is the USF chapter whose central purpose is to confer distinction upon students of the English language and literature in undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies. Members work together to meet the society’s goals of promoting cultural stimulation on campus and promoting interest in literature and the English language in our surrounding community; fostering all aspects of the discipline of English, including literature, language, and writing; promoting exemplary character and good fellowship among its members; exhibiting high standards of academic excellence; and serving society by fostering literacy.

Theta Alpha Kappa is the professional and academic honor society committed to fostering dialogue between the Theology/Religious studies faculty and students. The society strives to encourage students to maintain academic excellence and provides professional networking for its members.