Whitehurst Family Honors Program

The mission of the Whitehurst Family Honors Program at Barton College is to inspire students by teaching them to think for themselves and live for others. The program engages students in service, culture, and community life while they are enrolled in an academic program that fosters intellectual curiosity and critical inquiry.

Honors Research Minor

The Honors Program at Barton College emphasizes the importance of undergraduate research in the context of higher education. Classes teach research methods, social justice ethics, and interdisciplinary thinking skills. In their senior year, students complete an independent research project in their major working closely with a faculty mentor. Upon graduation, students earn an Honors Research Minor.


The Honors Program is a community that offers more than just academics. In addition to research opportunities, students participate in events and gatherings that make connections among peers. Some of these activities include community life events such as social gatherings, concerts, scavenger hunts, and retreats. Other benefits of the program include priority registration, priority housing selection, funding for travel to conferences, and reimbursement for graduate school entrance exams.


Students who complete the full curriculum of the honors program earn an academic minor in Honors Research. Doing so includes completing the honors core (HNR 111, 112, 250, 350), completing an independent research project in their major, completing the co-curricular requirements, and maintaining a minimum of a 3.30 GPA. The students who complete the minor are awarded the Honors Medallion at graduation.

Students who complete the honors core with the minimum GPA, but who do not complete the independent research project, earn a Certificate in Honors Research upon graduation. A certificate is also awarded if other requirements beyond the honors core are not completed.


HNR 111 – The Nature of Inquiry

This course introduces students to the expectations and best practices of research at the undergraduate level. Course content includes research methods, methodologies, information literacy, ethics, analysis of sources, and understanding of the definitions of research. Students will also be introduced to various epistemologies that encourage their curiosity about learning. Ultimately, this course will introduce students to the value of asking questions and questioning answers.

HNR 112 – Critical Conversations

Through the completion of this class, students are introduced to the concept of social justice, which examines equitable relationships between individuals and society at large. Students engage in readings, discussions, and reflections intended to help them develop a just worldview, while also considering the impact of their actions on society. Additionally, students engage in community service both on campus and in the greater community. An overall goal of this class is to solidify the Honors Program mission of inspiring students to think for themselves and live for others.

HNR 250 – Archival Research

In this class, students are introduced to the policies, procedures, and practices used by archivists through engaging with materials in the Barton College archive and rare book collection. Students learn about preservation and documentation of archival material in addition to technology and techniques used for analyzing primary sources. Special attention is given to interpreting materials within both their historic and contemporary contexts. Through a close study of the special collections, students develop a presentation that makes accessible archival materials to the campus community.

HNR 350 – Interdisciplinary Seminar

Honors 350 is designed as an interdisciplinary class taught by multiple faculty from different departments or schools. Each of these teachers will draw upon their unique areas of expertise to address varying sides of a common theme: the Book. The goal of the class is to teach students to think interdisciplinarily about a topic, thus providing synthesis and purpose to their liberal arts core curriculum in the General Education program. Throughout this semester, there will be 10 guest faculty in addition to the instructor of record. Each of these teachers has full autonomy over preliminary work that may be assigned, content of their lecture, activities completed in class, and assessment. Their standards and methods could vary greatly. The class can be taken twice for credit under different topics.

Independent Research in the Major

Students develop a senior research class that carries the prefix of their major. In the class, students conduct discipline-specific research that relates to their intended post-undergraduate goals. Though the class is an independent study, students work closely with a faculty mentor. The three main categories for students’ approach to research are: a systematic study directed toward fuller knowledge or understanding of the subject, an investigation that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline, and an investigation of a question with a defined goal but without a preconceived result.

HNR 490 – Senior Research Presentation

Honors 490 serves as the capstone experience for the Honors Minor. Academically, students engage in an examination of methods for disseminating information derived from work completed in their independent research in the major. Students review traditional presentation methods such as lectures, academic posters, and writing, while also considering multimedia methods such as website development, blog, vlog, podcast, video, or other digital formats. Ideally, this class should be taken in the semester following the completion of the independent research in the major. In order for students to successfully complete the course, they develop an academic journal-themed writing that encapsulates their research that is archived in the Hackney Library database.

Admission Requirements

High School Seniors

Seniors in high school applying for entry as freshmen to Barton College must meet the following academic requirements:

  • 3.50 unweighted GPA
  • SAT and/or ACT Scores (Optional)
  • Online application

Current Barton Freshmen, Transfer, and Early College Students

Freshmen enrolled at Barton College and students entering with prior college credits may apply for entry into the Honors Program. The following academic requirements must be met:

  • 3.50 minimum GPA from last institution attended or, for freshman students, from Barton College
  • Online application
  • Letter of recommendation from a member of the Barton College faculty (only required of current Barton College freshman)

Admissions Process

Early and priority applicants must complete an online application and compete for a seat in the program at the Honors Competition in February.
  • Early application deadline: November 1
  • Priority 1 application deadline: December 1
  • Priority 2 application deadline: January 1
Late application acceptance is contingent on available space and requires an online application and online interview.
  • Late application period begins March 1

Honors Program Application

Interested students should first complete the online application. The application includes three essay questions on academics, service, and culture. In their answers, students should demonstrate connections between their past experiences with future aspirations and how the honors program will help them to achieve their goals.

Click here to fill out the Honors Program Application


For more information, contact Gerard C. Lange, director of the Whitehurst Family Honors Program at glange@barton.edu.

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