Joe C. and Carole Kerr McClendon Honors College

David Boren Hall

David L. Boren Hall
1300 Asp Avenue
Norman, OK 73019-0385
Phone: (405) 325-5291
FAX: (405) 325-7109

Administrative Officers

Kelvin White, Ph.D., Interim Dean 
Amanda Minks, Ph.D., Associate Dean

General Information

Students can major in any field across campus as a member of the Honors College. The Honors College provides a supportive and challenging academic program for intellectually motivated undergraduate students. Offering an enriching interdisciplinary curriculum, the Honors College supports students in a full range of academic pursuits. Carefully designed small classes, a collegial environment, and close advising prepare students for advanced study leading to the bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, or any other bachelor's degree offered at the University. The Honors College at the University of Oklahoma seeks to inspire students to a lifetime of broad intellectual curiosity and continuing self-sustained inquiry and personal growth.

The Honors College has its own faculty but also draws from the best research and teaching faculty from all undergraduate colleges of the University to offer an enhanced curriculum at both the lower and upper divisions. Students can enroll in the small sections (generally 19-22) of Honors-designated general education courses, interdisciplinary Honors classes developed by the Honors faculty, team-taught colloquia, the Honors at Oxford summer program, and independent study and research with faculty in the student’s major discipline. The Honors College also encourages active participation in OU’s Education Abroad program and in the Oklahoma Scholar-Leadership Enrichment Program seminars taught by nationally recognized scholars.

The Honors College does not confer a degree. It confers the cum laude designation upon graduation. Students in the Honors College can major in any of the academic disciplines offering undergraduate bachelor’s degrees at the University of Oklahoma. Those who complete the Honors College curricular requirements and achieve a final cumulative grade point average of 3.40 or higher will earn a degree designation of either cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude. This is the most prestigious undergraduate degree designation attainable at the University and is indicated on both the final transcript and the diploma.

The Honors College offers academic advising to assist students in moving through the Honors curriculum. In addition, students receiving the National Merit Scholarship, Regents Scholarship, Regents Institutional Nominee Scholarship, National Award, Award of Excellence, Distinguished Scholar, and University Scholar Awards receive specialized advising through the OU Scholars Program during their first year at the University of Oklahoma.

Programs Offered

Programs & Facilities

Medical Humanities Scholars Program

The Medical Humanities Scholars Program is a highly selective, sequential BA-MD program that prepares 5-8 incoming high school seniors per year for a career in medicine through an enhanced pre-medical curriculum (MH Minor) that includes extensive coursework in history, literature, fine arts, philosophy, ethics, sociology, anthropology, economics, spirituality, and politics as they relate to health, disease, and the practice of medicine. MH Scholars are expected to develop proficiency in world spoken language. Students also engage in service learning and clinical experiences to develop an appreciation for the social dimensions of health and healing. Upon admission into the program, students receive provisional acceptance at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, contingent upon their GPA and MCAT scores.

Pre-Law Scholars Program

The Pre-Law Scholars Program is a highly selective accelerated BA/BS-JD program. Incoming freshmen admitted to the Honors College are eligible to apply for this program, which gives provisional acceptance to OU College of Law, contingent upon GPA and LSAT scores. Pre-Law Scholars sequentially complete a Bachelor's degree and Juris Doctor in only 6 years. For more information:

Informal Reading Groups

Each semester, the Honors College sponsors a program of informal reading groups. The groups meet just one hour per week, with 10-15 students and a facilitator discussing about 50 pages of reading. The books cover a very wide range of topics, and most have been recommended by Honors students. To participate, the only commitment is that each student makes a good-faith effort to do the reading and come to the group meeting as often as possible, with the understanding there may be one or two weeks when students need to do other things. This is a great chance to meet other Honors students with similar interests. The goals of the program can be summarized as "maximum information and enjoyment, with zero stress." Books are given free of charge to all participants. 

Presidential Teaching Fellows in Honors

Presidential Teaching Fellows in Honors are those faculty members who excel in all their professional activities and who relate those activities to the students they teach and mentor. OU faculty who have a demonstrated record as excellent teachers are selected to teach courses in the Honors College for one year.

Honors at Oxford

Honors students have the opportunity to study at one of the world’s premier universities. Each year, a group of Honors students spends 3 weeks in July at Brasenose College, Oxford University. Honors colloquia are offered on topics of British history and culture, and typically involve field trips to related sites of interest. Students are able to use weekends to travel and explore farther afield. 

Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)

The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) offers financial assistance for scholarly and creative projects under the mentorship of a faculty member.  Dozens of research projects are funded each year in support of ambitious and exciting research endeavors. This competitive program is open to all University of Oklahoma main campus and Health Science Center undergraduates who apply for grants of up to $1,000 each term. Students and faculty from across the University discover the benefits of hands-on research opportunities in laboratories, studios, libraries, and field sites. UROP recipients present the results of their research or accounts of their work in progress at the Honors College’s Undergraduate Research Day, a professional conference held each spring. For more information contact Jeff Cooper at

Undergraduate Research Day (URD)

Undergraduate Research Day (URD) is a blue-ribbon event held every spring. The Honors College hosts and celebrates students who were funded in their research or creative activities by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, as well as other undergraduate students who want to show what they have discovered and produced in their academic endeavors. The Honors College invites all undergraduates to apply. Participants will be part of a panel of 4-6 students with whom they’ll present their research to an audience of their peers, faculty, and parents. Topics can include fine arts, natural sciences, life sciences, business, engineering, social sciences, critical studies in ancient or modern literature, and the humanities. Prose and poetry submissions and other forms of creative activity are also encouraged. Monetary prizes are awarded to the strongest presentations. For more information contact Jeff Cooper at

Honors Research Assistant Program (HRAP)

The Honors Research Assistant Program provides Honors students the opportunity to work with professors as research assistants on specific projects the professor is studying. Participants work ten hours a week for ten weeks, and earn $1000.00. Honors College students with at least 15 hours of college credit and a 3.4+ GPA are eligible to apply. We accept applications for this program at the beginning of the Fall and Spring terms. Applicants are considered until all positions are filled. For more information contact Jeff Cooper at

Honors Undergraduate Research Journal (THURJ)

The Honors Undergraduate Research Journal (THURJ) is an annual publication that celebrates undergraduate research in all academic disciplines. Each Spring, THURJ publishes the best Honors College papers from the previous year.  An Editorial Board of student peers evaluates submissions using a blind review process, choosing between 8-12 papers for publication. All published authors also receive a monetary prize.

  • Students interested in serving on the THURJ editorial board should look for announcements in August and September about the application deadline.
  • Students interested in submitting a paper to THURJ should look for publicized announcements in December and January for the submission deadline.

For more information contact: Mr. Will O’Donnell,

First Year Research Experience (FYRE)

Each spring the Honors College offers an opportunity for first-year Honors students to participate in laboratory research. This course, the Honors First-Year Research Experience (FYRE), is open to Honors College students from all majors through a competitive application and interview process. Besides working alongside professors and graduate students in actual laboratories, students earn three hours of credit in Honors for successfully completing the course. Look for announcements in August and September for the application deadline. Contact the Honors College main office for more information. 

National Fellowships and Scholarships

The Honors College maintains complete application information and works with outstanding undergraduates in their quest for Rhodes Scholarships, Marshall Scholarships, Goldwater Scholarships, Truman Scholarships, Gates Cambridge Scholarships, Rotary Scholarships, and other prestigious awards. For more information, contact Dr. Brian Johnson, 

Integrated Living-Learning Environment

David L. Boren House is a housing option for Honors students. The academic offices for the Honors College are housed in this residence hall. Faculty offices, seminar rooms, study areas, a computer lab, TV rooms, and a courtyard are also a part of the facility. Non-Honors students can contract to live in this residence hall. Additional options for preferential student housing are offered to Honors students each year. 

Honors Student Association

All Honors students are members of the Honors Student Association (HSA). The HSA is an official student organization at OU. As such, it receives funds from the University of Oklahoma Student Government Association to sponsor projects of interest to honors students and to the University community at large.

Undergraduate Study


Any student interested in applying for the Honors College must fulfill the following requirements:

  • have already been accepted into the University of Oklahoma. We cannot process your application without an accepted common application on file, including officially-submitted test scores. Please visit Admissions & Recruitment to apply for the University of Oklahoma.
  • submit a 400-500-word essay based on one of the provided topics.

Freshmen entering the University of Oklahoma are eligible to apply to the Honors College if they have:

  • an ACT Composite of 30 or higher or an SAT Critical Reading and Mathematics Total of 1360 or higher.

  • an unweighted high school GPA of 3.75 or rank in the top 10% of graduates of their high school class.

Freshmen from nations outside the US entering the University of Oklahoma are eligible to apply to the Honors College if:

  • You have an International Baccalaureate score of 40 or higher. 

Transfer students entering the University of Oklahoma are eligible to apply to the Honors College if they have:

  • earned 15 or more hours of total transfer credit with a transfer GPA of 3.40 or higher

Students currently enrolled at the University of Oklahoma are eligible to apply to the Honors College if they have:

  • earned 15 or more hours of OU credit with a cumulative GPA of 3.40 or higher

Final admission into the Honors College is determined by evaluation of the Honors College application form, which includes a written essay of 400-500 words.

Continued good standing in the Honors College requires an OU retention/combined retention grade point average of 3.40 and progress towards completion of the curricular requirements of the Honors College.

Honors Curriculum

Honors courses are intended to be included in the hours earned toward completion of the student’s undergraduate degree.

Graduating with Honors requires:

  • HON 2973 OR HON 2963
  • HON 3980 (3 credit hours)
  • HON 3993
  • Honors Electives (9 credit hours): includes HON 3960 Honors Reading and Honors designated courses.
  • C or higher required in all HON classes
    • filing an honors thesis (the end result of the honors reading and research project or other thesis-worthy work) with the Honors Office.
    • both an OU Retention GPA and a Combined Retention GPA of
      • 3.40-3.59 for cum laude
      • 3.60-3.79 for magna cum laude
      • 3.80-4.00 for summa cum laude

Medical Humanities Minor

Any Honors-eligible (3.4 GPA or higher) student at the University of Oklahoma may pursue a Minor in Medical Humanities focused on a specific area within the medical humanities (history of medicine; bioethics; medical anthropology; literature and medicine; cross-cultural perspectives on health and disease; etc.), on spoken world languages, and on world cultural traditions. The goal is for students to prepare for the health professions and the multi-cultural clinical context by gaining a broad vision of the social, cultural, historical, economic, political, ethical, and spiritual factors shaping health, disease, and the delivery of healthcare


HON 2511. Community Citizen.1 Credit Hour.

Prerequisite: Admission/eligible to the Honors Program (3.40 GPA). May be repeated once. Students will provide volunteer service at a community agency (hospitals, united way agencies, art museum, etc.) as approved by the course instructor. Students will be asked to discuss their experiences in class, write about the experience, and to participate in peer-revision sessions. Students will be expected to complete a minimum of 30 hours of volunteer service in a semester. (F, Sp)

HON 2963. Perspectives on the Global Experience.3 Credit Hours.

Prerequisite: Admission to Honors program; May be repeated with change of content, maximum 6 hours. Perspectives courses explore a broad subject from multiple perspectives. 2963 is an interdisciplinary investigation of the social, economic, and political realities of life and culture in non-Western geographic areas, such as Asia, Africa, Oceania, and Latin America. Geographic focus and topic vary by course title and instructor; see Honors College website for current offerings. This course is writing intensive. (F, Sp, Su)

HON 2970. Honors Seminar.3 Credit Hours.

1 to 3 hours. Prerequisite: admission to Honors College Curriculum. May be repeated; maximum credit six hours. (F, Sp)

HON 2973. Perspectives on the American Experience.3 Credit Hours.

Prerequisite: Permission of Honors College; May be repeated; maximum credit six hours. Perspectives courses explore a broad subject from multiple perspectives. 2973 is an interdisciplinary investigation of the social, economic, and political realities of North American life and culture from the late nineteenth century to the present. Specific topics vary by course title and instructor; see Honors College website for current offerings. This course is writing intensive. (Sp)

HON 3440. Mentored Research Experience.3 Credit Hours.

0 to 3 hours. Prerequisites: ENGL 1113 or equivalent, and permission of instructor. May be repeated; maximum credit 12 hours. For the inquisitive student to apply the scholarly processes of the discipline to a research or creative project under the mentorship of a faculty member. Student and instructor should complete an Undergraduate Research & Creative Projects (URCP) Mentoring Agreement and file it with the URCP office. Not for honors credit. (F, Sp, Su)

HON 3960. Honors Reading.1-3 Credit Hours.

1 to 3 hours. Prerequisite: admission to Honors Program. May be repeated; maximum credit six hours. Will consist of topics designated by the instructor. The content will emphasize work not presented in other courses. (F, Sp, Su)

HON 3970. Honors Seminar.1-3 Credit Hours.

1 to 3 hours. Prerequisite: member of Honors College Curriculum in good standing. May be repeated; maximum credit six hours. An upper-division Honors College course to be used by departments and by the Honors College. (F, Sp, Su)

HON 3980. Honors Research.1-3 Credit Hours.

1 to 3 hours. Prerequisite: admission to Honors Program. May be repeated with change of content; maximum credit six hours. Will provide an opportunity for the gifted Honors candidate to work at a special project under the guidance of a professor in the student's field. (F, Sp, Su)

HON 3990. Independent Study.1-3 Credit Hours.

1 to 3 hours. Prerequisite: permission of instructor and junior standing. May be repeated once with change of content. Independent study may be arranged to study a subject not available through regular course offerings. (F, Sp, Su)

HON 3993. Honors Colloquium.3 Credit Hours.

Prerequisite: admission to and good standing in Honors College Curriculum. May be repeated with change in course topic. An interdepartmental course involving two or more instructors from different departments. (Sp)


Last Name First/Middle Name Middle init. OU Service start Title(s), date(s) appointed Degrees Earned, Schools, Dates Completed
Alpers Benjamin L 1998 REACH FOR EXCELLENCE PROFESSOR OF HONORS, 2018; ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF HONORS, 2003; ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, 2003 PhD, Princeton Univ, 1994; MA, Princeton Univ; AB, Harvard Univ
Dallam Marie W 2009 REACH FOR EXCELLENCE PROFESSOR OF HONORS, 2018; ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF HONORS, 2015 PhD, Temple Univ, 2006; MA, Harvard Univ, 1999; BA, CUNY Hunter College, 1996
Hamerla Ralph R 2000 ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF HONORS, 2006; REACH FOR EXCELLENCE PROFESSOR OF HONORS, 2008 PhD, Case Western Reserve Univ, 2000; MA, Univ of Akron, 1994; BA, Kent State Univ, 1991
Lifset Robert D 2008 DONALD KEITH JONES PROFESSOR OF HONORS, 2008; ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF HONORS 2014 PhD, Columbia Univ, 2005; MA, Columbia Univ, 1998; BA, Univ of Chicago, 1996
Mains Daniel C 2011 WICK CARY PROFESSOR IN HONORS, 2011; ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF HONORS, 2017 PhD, Emory Univ 2007; MA, Emory Univ, 2003; BS, Lewis and Clark College, 1997
Prichard Andreana C 2011 ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF HONORS, 2018; WICK CARY PROFESSOR IN HONORS, 2011; CT ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL AND AREA STUDIES, 2013 PhD, Northwestern Univ, 2011; MA, Northwestern Univ, 2005; BA, Kenyon College, 2001
Song David S 2022 REACH FOR EXCELLENCE PROFESSOR OF HONORS, 2022 PhD, Stanford Univ, 2021; MA, Univ of Maryland, 2013; BA, Washington Univ, 2009
Tracy Sarah W 1999 REACH FOR EXCELLENCE PROFESSOR OF HONORS, 1999; ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF HONORS, 2005; EDITH KINNEY GAYLORD PRESIDENTIAL PROFESSOR, 2016 PhD, Univ of Pennsylvania, 1992; MA, Univ of Pennsylvania, 1987; BA, Harvard Univ, 1985