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.

Faculty Lecture Series

Barton logo over aerial photo of campus

The Faculty Lecture Series of the Whitehurst Family Honors Program is a biannual event in which professors from different disciplines speak on a variety of topics around a common theme. The theme for fall 2020 is “Reactions.”

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. Students take two non-honors courses for honors credit and present their research at the biannual honors symposium. 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.

Honors Program Benefits

  • Priority registration after senior students (early enrollment)
  • Priority housing selection (New and returning students receive first choice in available housing selection.)
  • Funding for travel to conferences
  • Reimbursements for graduate school placement exams (one-time only)
  • Honors Program special events


Students must maintain a 3.30 overall GPA to remain in good standing in the Honors Program.

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 – Community and Social Action

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

200-300 level course with honors designation, 300-400 level course with honors designation

Students may apply to take two non-honors courses for honors credit. Ideally, students should take one course from the General Education core and one from their major. Applying for an honors designation is contingent on permission from the instructor. When declaring a course as an honors designation, students will automatically be enrolled in HNR 295, or HNR 390 for 1 additional credit. In these courses, students complete a research project that will be presented at the biannual Honors Symposium.

HNR 350 – Interdisciplinary Seminar

Interdisciplinary classes are taught by multiple faculty from different departments or schools. Drawing upon their unique areas of expertise, these teachers address varying sides of a central theme. Ideally, this class should be taken before GEN 301. The goal of the class is to teach students to think interdisciplinarily, providing synthesis and purpose to their liberal arts core curriculum in the General Education program. This course must be taken once, but it may be taken a second time if desired.

Independent Research in Major

This course is designed to allow students to conduct discipline-specific research in their major. Though the class is an “independent” study, students work closely with a faculty mentor. The three main categories for students’ approach to their 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. This course serves as the first part of the capstone experience of the Honors Program.

HNR 490 – Senior Research Presentation

In the second part of the capstone experience in the Honors Program, students explore the dissemination of their independent research project. Students review traditional presentation methods such as lecture, poster development, and writing, while also considering multimedia methods such as website development, blog, vlog, podcast, video, and other digital formats. Ideally, this class should be taken in the semester following the independent research in the major.

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 
  • 1200 SAT or 24 ACT (Optional for 2022 freshmen)
  • 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 as a student at Barton College
  • Online application

Admissions Process

Early application ensures invitation to the Scholars Weekend competition in February.
  • Early application deadline: November 1
  • Applications reviewed: November 15
  • Students notified: November 16
Priority 1 application ensures invitation to the Scholars Weekend competition in February.
  • Priority 1 application deadline: December 1
  • Applications reviewed: December 15
  • Students notified: December 16
Priority 2 application may grant an invitation to the Scholars Weekend competition based on available space.
  • Priority 2 application deadline: January 1
  • Applications reviewed: January 15
  • Students notified: January 16
Late application acceptance is contingent on available space.

There are limited seats available to first-year students in the fall cohort. This cap does not apply to Transfer and Early College students. Additional students may apply at the end of fall and spring in their freshman year.

  • Late application deadline: April 1
  • Applications reviewed: April 15
  • Students notified by April 16

Scholars Weekend

Scholars Weekend is the first Saturday in February. This event is a competition for scholarships available through the Honors Program. The competition includes interviews on current event topics, critical thinking exercises, and a classroom session.


For more information, contact Gérard Lange, director of the Whitehurst Family Honors Program, by phone at 252-399-6475 or by email at glange@barton.edu.