Frequently Asked Questions

Questions Are Good. Ask Away!

If your question is not here, feel free to contact the Honors Program office.

No. You can accomplish all of the academic requirements inside of your regular program of study. You might take an honors version of a course instead of a standard version, or working with a faculty member, you might complete an honors option in a standard course that you're already scheduled to take.

The academic goal is to help you produce better work. That can take time, of course, but you're already someone who takes the time to do things well and you take pride in your accomplishments, so is it really more work or is it just what you do?

No. You get to choose what parts of your curriculum you want to enrich within a flexible framework. As a student in the Honors Program you will do honors-level work at least once in your discipline (at the 300-level or higher), and at least once in the curricular space that RIT calls general education (these are mostly science, art and design, or liberal arts courses). The rest of your honors-level work is made can be in any part of your curriculum. More specifics can be found on the Program Requirements page.

We recommend that Honors Program students complete at least one academic activity a year until they’ve fulfilled their requirements.  To check to see if you’re on track, go to the Student Portal page and click on the My Status page.  This will take you to the place where we keep a record of what you’ve done.  If you want to talk about what you still need to do, you can make an appointment to meet with a staff member in the office.

You should think of honors points as being equivalent to course credits. A 3-credit honors course earns three honors points. We use the word "points" because it is more flexible. Students in the Honors Program can also earn points in co-curricular ways, and many do.

You can think of an honors option as kind of term project in which you, with the guidance of a faculty mentor, extend the scope of a standard (non-honors) course. An honors option typically spans the semester and concludes with a presentation. Some are interdisciplinary in nature, and others take students into a deeper dive. Either way, you learn more about the subject and you make an important connection with a professor.

We have various grants that are awarded to students to support their research and professional development. Most common is a small grant to pay for (or at least defray) the cost of research materials, or travel to present your work at a conference, or travel with your college on a professional development and networking trip. (Check out the video at the bottom of this page!)

If you are a first-year student, any class that isn’t being run as an Honors course can be chosen. We encourage you to just take the Honors course. If you are not a first-year student, the course must be a 200 level of above.

In brief, students earn honors points by taking honors courses, by adding honors options onto other courses, by taking a graduate-level course, by participating in study abroad, or by doing an extra co-op. More can be found at the Program Requirements page, and details are provided in handbooks at the Student Portal.

The term complementary learning refers to activities that foster citizenship, leadership, and critical thinking. There are many ways to do this. Some students volunteer at hometown soup kitchens, others take on leadership positions in student clubs, and others engage invited speakers in discussions that challenge them to critically examine themselves and our country. Students in the Honors Program complete a specified number of hours of complementary learning each calendar year.

No, but you can (guaranteed), which means one less thing to occupy your mental energy. This is particularly useful to students who are in classes for half the year and on co-op for the other half.

If you are graduating in December, you will be required to submit 20 hours of comp learning by the first Friday in December.  If you are a May or August graduate, then your final comp learning submission is due by the last Friday in January of the year you graduate.

No. In fact, the one-day registration advantage enjoyed by students in the honors program helps you to do those other things, because you have greater scheduling flexibility.

Zip. Zero. Nada. Nothing. Nil. Nought.

Yes, and also on your diploma. We want prospective employers and graduate schools to see what you've done! Honors courses are typically numbered with an H and the word Honors appears in the title. For example, some students will take MATH-241H Honors Linear Algebra instead of MATH-241 Linear Algebra. And you can give your honors options titles that will appear on your transcript, too!

Every spring the Honors Program checks to see if students are on track.  Once we’re done, we send you an email.  Please read your emails from honors@rit.edu!  If you are continued, you’re doing great, keep it up!  If you’re not, we’ll send you an email that tells you you’re withdrawn or that you have conditional status.  Go in to the website, Student Portal, My Status Page and see why.  It could be you didn’t complete your Comp Learning this year or your GPA is too far below where we want you or maybe you’re not making adequate progress.  You can appeal any decision and the email will tell you how to do that.

First and foremost, there's not a penalty of any kind if you withdraw or just don't finish. We understand that people have a lot going on, and sometimes you have to make choices. That's life. Our goal is to help you succeed as we can, bring opportunities to you, and recognize the awesome things you do. While we genuinely want you to complete the program requirements, we'll cheer for you even if you don't.

Students who came into RIT in 2020 or earlier fall under a curriculum that includes research courses and senior seminars. Those students probably know the definition.  If not, go to the Program Requirements section under the About tab.  For students who came in 2021 and after, you’ll know what depth in the discipline means.  If you don’t, go to your Program Requirements section under the About tab to learn more.

Honors Council are student leaders in the Honors Program who have stepped up to help us form a strong community.  There are officers, representatives and committee chairs who plan events, share information with you and the program and ensure that you are heard.  Go to a meeting and see what they’re doing.  Step up to lead if you’re interested!


Honors trips

Community in Honors