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 in their discipline. Upon graduation, students earn an Honors Research Minor.

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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, funding for travel to conferences, funding for study abroad, and reimbursement for graduate school entrance exams. Memberships in the Honors Program includes a $2000 annual scholarship on top of other academic scholarships awarded by Barton College.

Admission Requirements

Students applying for entry to the Honors Program must meet the following academic requirements:

  • 3.50 unweighted GPA (All students)
  • SAT and/or ACT Scores (Optional)
  • Online application
  • Letter of recommendation from a member of the Barton College faculty (Current Barton College students only)

Application does not guarantee admission. Membership in the Honors Program is limited to 28 students per academic level.

Application Process

The application process is in two parts. Students must first complete a written application. Those accepted to the next level attend the Honors Competition in February. Applications are accepted year-round, but students are encouraged to apply early because limited seats are available.

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: October 16
  • Priority 1 application deadline: December 1
  • Priority 2 application deadline: January 1
  • Late application period begins March 1 and is contingent on available space


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


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, but who do not complete the independent research project, earn a Certificate in Honors Research upon graduation.

Honors Core

HNR 111 – The Nature of Inquiry

This course explores the nature of curiosity and introduces students to the value of asking questions and questioning answers. In the course, students learn the expectations and best practices of undergraduate research, research methods and ethics, source analysis, and information literacy.

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 others.

HNR 250 – Archival Research

In this class, students learn about preservation and documentation of archival material and how to use primary materials in research. Special attention is given to interpreting materials within both their historic and contemporary contexts. Students in the class work with materials from the Barton College archive and the K.D. Kennedy, Jr., Rare Book Room Collection. 

HNR 350 – Interdisciplinary Seminar

This class is presented as a series of TedTalk-styled lectures given each semester by different faculty from across campus. The lecture topic is always a single word that is deceptively simple and immeasurably broad, such as a presence, pressure, or reactions. In this class, students learn to think across disciplines, thus providing synthesis to their liberal arts education. 

Independent Research in the Major

After completing the Honors Core, students work with the faculty to develop a senior research project in their major. The purpose of the project is to engage in research with standards set at the level of graduate students. The senior research project is carried out over multiple semesters where students design the study, make a formal proposal, conduct the research, and make a public presentation of their findings. Because students participate in designing their study, they intentionally develop it to align with their post-graduation goals.


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



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