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Austin E. Knowlton Honors Program

First-Year Honors Program and Interdisciplinary Honors Minor

Many colleges and universities have honors tracks, but few have what Augustana has — a carefully planned sequence of interdisciplinary first-year honors courses and also an option for an interdisciplinary honors minor.

What does “interdisciplinary” mean?

Every Augustana student graduates with at least one major in an academic discipline, and sometimes two or three. But ideas have no disciplinary boundaries, and the most interesting ideas can influence many fields of study. Augustana’s honors classes—in both the first-year sequence and the interdisciplinary minor—integrate ideas from many disciplines to address challenging topics, form new ideas and discussions, address issues with different perspectives, and maybe solve problems in new ways. 

Your professors will come from academic programs all across the arts and sciences, not just one field. Together they will work to create interesting and intense classes energized by a special sense of community.

    What is First-Year Honors?

    First-year honors (FYH) courses:

    • Take the place of First-Year Inquiry (FYI) courses required for all students
    • Develop skills in writing and thinking that are essential to any major
    • Offer an exceptional foundation for a college education and future career
    • Connect students with engaged mentors
    • Involve a special sense of community

    Any incoming first-year student interested in FYH visits campus and interviews with a professor. The interviews are friendly and relaxed, last about half an hour and involve discussion on what you like to read, write and think about. Find out how to apply below.

    Enrolling in the FYH sequence doesn’t guarantee continuation to the interdisciplinary honors minor. Any FYH, FYI or transfer student may apply for the honors minor.

    What is the Interdisciplinary Honors Minor?

    The 16-credit honors minor: 

    • Consists of four courses plus a capstone project
    • Focuses on critical analysis, reflective writing and research 
    • Interconnects topics from across the liberal arts
    • Is team-taught by professors from different fields
    • Enriches all majors, supports any career, and stands out on a résumé

    First-year students with a B+ or higher in first-semester courses for either FYH or FYI may apply, as well as transfer students with a B+ or higher in an equivalent first-semester class. Talk with your first-year or transfer advisor about how to apply for the interdisciplinary honors minor.

    Browse through course descriptions for the interdisciplinary honors minor beginning in 2020. 

    How to apply for First-Year Honors

    Step 1. Tell us you’re interested.
    Make sure your admissions counselor knows you are interested in FYH instead of FYI. The admissions committee also may identify you as a potential honors student.

    Step 2. Register for an honors interview and submit a writing sample.
    All accepted first-year students are eligible to interview for FYH. For the writing sample, please tell us about a book, preferably not one assigned in a class, that has had a profound impact on your life or way of thinking. How did this book contribute to some change in your outlook? (1-2 pages, double-spaced).

    Step 3. Interview on campus.
    Admission to the program is competitive, and the on-campus interview is integral to the application process. Interviews are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. It’s a good idea to apply as early as possible. The deadline to apply is one week before the event you plan to attend, or until registrations are full.

    International students and students who live more than five hours away also have the option to interview by phone or by Skype. 

    Interview dates for 2020

    Friday, Feb. 7

    Saturday, Feb. 8 (after the Departmental Open House and Scholarship Competition)

    Monday, March 16

    Monday, March 23 in the Chicagoland Lombard Office ONLY

    Friday, April 3

    Friday, April 17

    About Austin E. Knowlton

    A lifelong resident of Ohio, Austin E. “Dutch” Knowlton was a successful businessman, avid sportsman and philanthropist. He established the Austin E. Knowlton Foundation. One of the primary purposes of the foundation is to advance higher education. Augustana College is one institution to benefit from the generosity of this philanthropist.

    The foundation also funds the Austin E. Knowlton Scholarship at Augustana.