The Honors Program is not an academic major; rather, it provides an opportunity for students to move through the university's eight-course core curriculum as a community. Honors students thus benefit from the rich conversations that build over their four years of shared academic, residential, and co-curricular experiences. Prospective students apply separately to the program (see the prompt for Honors on the Common Application), and admission is based upon prior academic achievement and demonstrated understanding of the program's curricular and residential features. First-year Honors students live in Regester Hall (along with many students who are not in the program) and have the option to continue living in Honors-themed residences thereafter. The program also provides an array of cultural events, including a film series, student-organized dinners, guest lectures, and trips to Seattle/Tacoma museums, theater, symphony, and opera.
Honors courses examine influential authors and works in the Western intellectual tradition that for better and for worse have framed its values, attitudes, and beliefs. These courses address fundamental and enduring questions, such as "What makes something 'true'?" "What makes something good or evil?" "What is the purpose of art?" "What is the proper function of government?" "What is the Self??" The course sequence culminates with an interdisciplinary study of "America" as an idea and an ideal. Honors seniors also research, write, and publicly present a thesis (normally in the student's major). After successfully completing the prescribed coursework and senior thesis requirements, Honors seniors graduate as Coolidge Otis Chapman Honors Scholars.