Honors & Scholars

Ohio State and the College of Arts and Sciences is dedicated to creating an environment that promotes the intellectual and personal development of high-ability undergraduate students and offers highly motivated students an enriched academic experience through the integration of curricular and co-curricular programs.

The Arts and Sciences Honors Program offers high-ability students the opportunity to enhance their academic experiences through honors courses, research and dedicated honors academic advising.

  • Arts Honors Program: The purpose of this program is to provide opportunities for students with exceptional capabilities and motivation to achieve personal satisfaction and intellectual growth through Honors courses, advanced course work, and special academic enrichment programs. See more about this program below.

The Scholars Programs offer academically motivated students the chance to meet and live with other students who share similar interests. Students must apply to Scholars when filling out the Common Application for admission to Ohio State.

Arts and Sciences Honors Program

The Honors Program in Arts and Sciences provides high-ability students opportunities to pursue challenging academic programs. Honors students are encouraged to construct an enhanced curriculum that includes honors courses, upper-division courses to meet general requirements, rigorous sequences, honors seminars, a minor, and a strong major, including a significant research experience. 

Students may apply to the Honors Program either before or after enrolling at Ohio State; interested students are encouraged to apply early in their enrollment.

Visit ASC Honors website


The Ohio State Scholars Program is comprised of 17 unique living and learning communities designed to provide students the chance to live and learn with others who share similar interests and to complement students' academic experiences. Each of the Scholars programs is centered around a theme or area of study and is open to all students regardless of major.

Scholars programs that have an arts and sciences focus include: Arts; Biological Sciences; Humanities; International Affairs; Politics, Society and Law; and STEM Exploration and Engagement. 

Students must apply to Scholars when filling out the Common Application for admission to Ohio State.

Arts Scholars

The Arts Scholars program offers students in any major the opportunity to enhance their educational experience through lectures and specialized workshops, group excursions to museums and professional performances, a juried student art exhibition and performance showcase, community involvement, and domestic and international trips. First-year Arts Scholars live in Baker Hall West on South Campus.

Learn more about Graduating with Distinction in the Arts.

More Information

Biological Science Scholars

The Biological Science Scholars actively explore the world of science through a combination of academic and co-curricular components. Students are exposed to science at Ohio State, career and graduate program opportunities, and innovative research happenings. Although all majors are welcome and many are represented, a large portion of our students are in science fields (Biology, Chemistry, Animal Sciences, Microbiology, Zoology, Neuroscience, etc.), or are considering pre-health graduate programs (medical, dental, veterinary medicine, optometry, pharmacy, etc.).

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Humanities Scholars

The Humanities Scholars program offers students of any major an enriched study of the liberal arts through beyond-the-classroom programs focusing on literature, language, philosophy, history, culture, and other humanities disciplines. Students who enjoy discussing the world and the experiences of humanity will find the Humanities Scholars Program to be an excellent fit.

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International Affairs (IA) Scholars

The International Affairs Scholars program provides rich opportunities for students from all majors who want to gain in-depth understanding of world/global themes, foreign countries, and international affairs. IA Scholars explore global issues through political, social, and economic lenses while also learning about other cultures. Students in the International Affairs program also have the opportunity each year to study abroad as part of the program.

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Politics, Society and Law (PSL) Scholars

The Politics, Society and Law Scholars explore current political and legal issues from a practitioner’s perspective via discussions, debates, off-campus outings, and other activities. Students explore the role such issues play in society and in related careers including law, journalism, business, education, science, the arts, or any other field of interest. Guest speakers, debates, and interactive discussions are common, as are behind-the-scenes outings to learn about Ohio’s judicial system, annual election and State of the Union events, and a professional exploration trip to Washington, DC every spring.

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STEM Exploration and Engagement (STEM-EE) Scholars

The STEM Exploration and Engagement Scholars program welcomes students with interests or potential majors in any of the STEM fields, including chemistry, physics, biology, computer science, data analytics, engineering, math, actuarial science, or exploration. Students engage in STEM tutoring, experiment development, and volunteering within the local community, while exploring the many diverse STEM careers and reflecting on how this diversity is essential in addressing scientific questions. Incoming students who are particularly interested in the outreach and career exploration components are encouraged to apply.

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Arts Honors

Arts Honors Program

The purpose of the Arts Honors Program is to provide opportunities for students with exceptional capabilities and motivation to achieve personal satisfaction and intellectual growth through Honors courses, advanced course work, and special academic enrichment programs. 

Program Requirements

(effective Autumn 2012)
Please note, students in the Arts Honors Program often pursue significant creative projects in their program and apply for graduation with distinction. This is a separate process. For more information, please contact Ed Quinn (quinn.142@osu.edu) in Arts and Sciences Advising.

GPA requirement to maintain Honors status:

  • University standard: 3.4 at the end of every year (3.3 at end of first year)
  • Arts standard: 3.4 overall GPA (3.3 at end of first year)
  • Requirements to enter Honors program after matriculation or transfer to the university:
  • University standards: 3.4 GPA overall, Minimum 1 semester of OSU credit
  • Arts standards: 3.4 GPA overall, both GE and major, Minimum 2 semesters of OSU credit*

Course/Unit requirements to maintain Honors status:

  • University standard: 6 Honors, upper division (4000+) or graduate-level courses over the first 2 years (max of 2 honors embedded courses)
  • Arts standard: 3 units of Honors experiences over the first 2 years

For some majors in the Arts, this is difficult to achieve, due to limited scheduling opportunities in the GE, few Honors offerings in the major programs, and lock-step curriculum in the majors. The Arts standard allows students to defer 1 unit until the 3rd year if necessary, reflecting the individualistic, focused nature in the arts.

  • 3 units over the second 2 years
  • Completion of 6 units meets the Arts Honors Program requirements

*Exceptions for transfer students meeting the following criteria: 1. eligibility for honors as freshman (i.e., ACT composite score of 29 or better, or SAT combined verbal/math score of 1300 or better; plus top ten percent of high school class) and a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or better at the other institution; OR 2. verification of enrollment in an honors program at the other institution, completion of honors courses, and a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or better. Transfer students meeting these criteria may be admitted to the honors program upon matriculation.

Possibilities for 3 Units:

Freshman/Sophomore Year

3 Units of Honors experiences made up of the following options, in the first 2 years (through sophomore standing), with the option to defer up to 1 unit, not including upper division courses, to year 3 (through junior standing).

  • Honors course (1 Unit)
  • Upper division course outside major (4000+) (1 Unit)
  • Upper division elective course in major (1 Unit)
  • Graduate level course (1 Unit)
  • Honors embedded course  (1 Unit)  (maximum of 3 total)
  • Undergraduate Research/Creative Activity (1 Unit) (3-5 credit hours)
  • Special Individual Study*  (1 Unit) (maximum of 3 total)

*(e.g., Summer Study, studies abroad; at least 40-80 contact hours, and a culminating report, activity, or presentation under faculty supervision as in an Internship)

Junior/ Senior Year
  • Honors courses (1 Unit) 
  • Upper division course outside major (4000+) (1 Unit) 
  • Graduate level course (1 Unit) 
  • Honors embedded course or senior project (1 Unit) (maximum of 3 total)
  • Undergraduate Research/Creative Activity (3-5 credit hours) (1 Unit) (maximum of 2 total)
  • Special Individual Study* (1 Unit) (maximum of 3 total)

*(e.g., Summer Study, studies abroad; at least 40 contact hours, and a culminating report, activity, or presentation under faculty supervision as in an Internship)                  

  • A minor (outside the major) (1 Unit)
  • Second Major (outside the major) (2 Units)
  • Arts Entrepreneurship Director*  (1 Unit) (maximum of 1)

*(e.g., student representative serves as the leader of a Music ensemble and participates at bi-weekly meetings with directors of ensembles; serves as spokesperson for a department’s public display, etc.)

  • Director of Publication opportunities*  (1 Unit) (maximum of 1)                     

*(e.g., Theatre students touring various high schools performing original skits serving as the director, production manager or technical director (TD).)

Program requirements to maintain Honors status/graduate with Honors in the Arts:

University standard: Progress towards completion of an approved Honors program, i.e., honors thesis for graduation with distinction, or program to graduate with honors in the discipline.

Arts standard: Arts Honors Contract (fulfill 6 units of Honors experiences per an Honors contract): Our students graduate: “with Honors in the Arts.”


  1. Faculty advisor signature
  2. Arts Honors Advisor signature (Ed Quinn, the Arts Honors Advisor is located in 245G Sullivant Hall)
  3. Plan for 6 Units of Arts Honors experiences (3 in the first two years (with the option to defer 1 unit to third year); 3 in the following 2 years)

Process of Monitoring ARTS Honors Contracts:

The Arts Honors Faculty Committee made up of faculty from each of the seven arts units (Art, Art Education, Dance, Design, History of Art, Music, Theatre) will review Honors contracts every Spring Semester. Students in their sophomore year will submit an Honors contract by the Friday of finals week Autumn Semester. The Honors Faculty Committee will work with the Arts advisors to maintain current lists of departmental Honors majors and work against that list in checking advising reports and sophomore year applications for Honors contracts. Students who find they might need to revise their contract may do so with the Contract Revision Form and submit it to 114 University Hall. At the end of each academic year, the committee makes recommendations on students continuing in the program. Each year Arts Honors students receive a letter regarding their status in the program: either reaffirmed or not.

Staffing of program (Honors Committee, Honors Advisors, Faculty Mentors, etc.)

The program will retain its committee made of up faculty from among the seven arts units that oversees the following:

Conferring of “with distinction” and “with honors in the arts”

Progress of students: each spring the committee reviews the academic progress of students and informs them through email and a stamped, U.S. mail letter of their continuance or non-continuance in the program. Ed Quinn is the Arts Honors Advisor, and his office is located in 245G Sullivant Hall.

Administrative Liaison for the Committee and who serves as director of the program where pre-requisites have been met, or waived, and where the course is not a required course on the major, but is offered as an elective.

This category reflects the unusual and extraordinary experiences for study, practice, and application outside of the standard curriculum. For a college student to pursue these types of experiences especially in the first two years requires initiative and vision. Arts would additionally require that these options be pre-approved by a faculty committee, and include a summary, reflection, exhibition or performance at the conclusion.  The Arts deems that these are appropriate honors level expectations and anticipates monitoring the success of these options.
Overall 6 units, 3 may come from HE or project-type, individual coursework.

Please see Ed Quinn (quinn.142@osu.edu) for the Non-Traditional Unit Application.

Graduating with Distinction in the Arts

The Arts Graduation With Distinction recognition is for students who are pursuing a degree in the ARTS (Art, Art Education, Dance, Design, History of Art, Theatre, Music) and will be working on a creative or research project during the last year of their major program. The project must be steeped in the discipline’s creative process or research scholarship, and the student must have a committee of three tenure-track faculty members who will guide the student in his or her project and who serve on the one-hour oral examination committee. The With Distinction designation is open to any and all students majoring in the arts. Applications are due two semesters before the intended graduation date. If you need further information, please contact Ed Quinn at quinn.142@osu.edu.

Research Distinction (Research Thesis)

Deadlines & Options

If you are planning to graduate with research distinction, you should submit the Application for Graduation with Research Distinction upon enrolling in 4999 research credit and no later than the following deadlines:

Students graduating Autumn 2019: Application due by Friday, February 8, 2019
​Students graduating Spring 2020: Application due by Friday, September 13, 2019
Students graduating Summer 2020: Application due by Friday, November 15, 2019
Students graduating Autumn 2020: Application due by Friday, January 31, 2020

There are three options for students in the College of Arts and Sciences (ASC) interested in pursuing graduation with research distinction or with distinction:

  • Graduation with research distinction in [the major field] recognizes those students who demonstrate excellence in the study of a discipline both through major course work and by completing an independent research project culminating in a thesis.
  • Students majoring in mathematics may choose the graduate-level course work option to graduate with distinction in mathematics.
  • Graduation with research distinction recognizes those students who complete and successfully defend a thesis in a discipline other than the major.

For information about the honors thesis option for students in the Arts and Sciences Honors Program, please see the website for the Honors Research Thesis.

Thesis Requirements

To graduate with research distinction, you must satisfy the following requirements:

  • A student may complete a thesis within his/her major or in other disciplines, provided the student has a faculty research advisor serving as his/her project advisor (the faculty research advisor may be tenure-track, clinical, research, or auxiliary faculty). Lecturers and others who do not have tenure-track faculty status may not serve as the designated project advisor.
  • Submit the application at least one term before your graduating term.
  • Apply to graduate, early in your final term, with your academic advisor.
  • Complete a minimum of 60 graded hours at Ohio State.
  • Complete a minimum of 4 semester hours (a maximum of 10 hours) of 4999 research credit in the relevant discipline.
  • Successfully defend the thesis during an oral examination, typically in the final term.
  • Meet any department-specific requirements, which may include a minimum grade point average within the field of distinction.
  • Graduate with a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average.

A co-signer from the major department will be required only if the project advisor is affiliated with a college outside of Arts and Sciences, OR if the project advisor is affiliated with a department outside of the department of distinction. The co-signer should be either the departmental advisor or the chair of the department. Students pursuing distinction in an interdisciplinary major (e.g. International Studies, Comparative Studies, etc.) will most likely require a co-signer. NOTE: If you are a Neuroscience major, you must have a Neuroscience advisor co-sign for your research project.

***Honors Thesis Option for students in the ASC Honors Program***


If you are planning to graduate with research distinction, you should contact Ed Quinn in Arts and Sciences Advising to submit the  Thesis Application upon enrolling in 4999 research credit and no later than one semester before your graduating term). Questions about the application should be directed to Ed Quinn.

Examples of Theses

Abstracts and copies of past honors theses completed for graduation with research distinction are available for examination online through the Ohio State Libraries' Knowledge Bank and in the Mortar Board Room (room 202) of the Thompson Library. They are valuable not only as examples of research undertaken in various disciplines but also as sources of information.

Additional Resources

Undergraduate Research Office - Information and resources on finding and managing research projects

ASC Undergraduate Research Scholarship - Information on scholarships for undergraduate research projects

Denman Undergraduate Research Forum - Showcase of student research