The Honors Program does not comprise an academic major; rather it provides an opportunity for students to move through the university’s eight-course core curriculum as a cohort. 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. First-year Honors students live in Regester Hall 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 Western values, attitudes, and beliefs. The curriculum addresses “big” questions such as “What constitutes morality?” “What is the purpose of art?” “What is the Self?” “What is the proper function of government?” “What makes something ‘true’?” The course sequence culminates with an interdisciplinary study of contemporary culture in America. These courses serve as preparation for the research and writing of a thesis (normally in the student’s major) in the senior year. After successfully completing the prescribed coursework and senior thesis requirements, Honors seniors graduate as Coolidge Otis Chapman Honors Scholars.