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.

Undergraduate Research

Students enrolled in the Honors Program are given the opportunity to conduct and present research four times during their time at Barton College. Three of these are through biannual Honors Symposiums at the end of the fall and spring semesters. Students enrolled in GEN 290 (honors) and in courses with honors designation complete research projects that are presented in poster, table, or multimedia formats. All Honors students complete independent research in their major that they present at the Barton College Day of Scholarship in the spring or at a discipline-specific regional conference.


The Honors Program at Barton College is a community that offers more than just academics. Students in the Honors Program 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 early registration, funding for travel to conferences and seminars, reimbursement for graduate school entrance exams, and eligibility to live in East Campus Suites.

Co-Curricular Requirements

In addition to the academic component, students enrolled in the Honors Program are required to complete these co-curricular requirements within their first two years in the program:

  • Service: 50 hours of community service (based on National Honors Society standards)
  • Culture: 32 cultural events (minimum of 6 per semester)
  • Community: 12 honors community life events (3 per semester)


VOC 111 1 credit hour
VOC 111 1 credit hour
GEN 290 (honors) 3 credit hours
200-300 level course with honors designation* 3 credit hours
HNR 350 Interdisciplinary Seminar
(May be taken twice provided that course content is different.)
3-6 credit hours
300-400 level course with honors designation* 3 credit hours
Independent research in major 3 credit hours
Research presentation 1-3 credit hours
* Requires application and permission of the instructor.



VOC 111

During the freshmen year, students take two honors seminar courses that vary in content and allow a supportive cohort to be established for freshmen in the Honors Program. The first course focuses on service as a core principle of the Honors Program. The second course varies by instructor with past topics including service, community, culture, diversity, friendship, place, and reflection.

GEN 290 (honors)

Providing a structured transition between students’ freshman experience and the General Education Capstone (GEN 301), this course prepares students to become active participants in academic discourse by further developing their writing, speaking, critical thinking, and research skills. Specific topics will vary by instructor, but the primary emphasis will always be on skills rather than content. A grade of “C-” or higher is required to successfully complete this requirement. Successful completion of ENG 102 is a prerequisite for attempting this course.

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

These could be courses in the General Education core or in a student’s major. At time of registration, students are required to meet with faculty to see if they are willing to commit to the honors component. Should they agree students are held accountable for two additional components that justify the honors designation: colloquial and a measurable artifact. The colloquial requirement states that students meet with attending faculty outside of regularly scheduled class time for further conversation on the material. The measurable artifact could be a variety of graded or ungraded items including: expanded research accompanied by a literature review or annotated bibliography, addition of a research component where none was present, a service learning project with accompanying reflection, or a multimedia project such as a website, blog, vlog, podcast, video, or other digital project.

HNR 350 Interdisciplinary Seminar

Interdisciplinary classes are taught by multiple faculty from different departments or schools, drawing upon their unique areas of expertise to address varying sides of the same issue. Examples of this include faculty from nursing, psychology, and art that collaborate about a class on “death.” Or, faculty from history and nursing may examine “food and nutrition as parameters that shape society.” 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 provided that course content is different.

Independent Research in Major

This course is designed to allow students to conduct discipline-specific research or focus on problems in their discipline that they want to address. This class is an independent study that is faculty mentored. The Council on Undergraduate Research defines research in these three ways: systematic study directed toward fuller knowledge or understanding of the subject, investigation that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline, and investigation of a question with a defined goal but without a preconceived result. This course serves as part of the capstone experience of the Honors Program.

Research Presentation

This course serves as the capstone experience for the Honors Minor. Academically, students engage in an examination of methods for disseminating information derived from original research. Students will review traditional presentation methods such as lecture, poster development, and writing, while also considering multimedia methods such as a website development, blog, vlog, podcast, video, or other digital formats. Ideally, this class should be taken in the semester following the independent research in the major. In order for students to successfully complete the course, they will develop a presentation that encapsulates their research that will be given at a regional conference and/or at the Barton Day of Scholarship.

Admission Requirements

High School Seniors

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

  • 3.25 minimum unweighted GPA
  • 1170 SAT or ACT 24
  • Online application

Current Barton Freshmen

Freshmen enrolled at Barton College must apply for entry into the Honors Program
after their first and/or second semester. The following academic requirements must
be met:

  • 3.50 minimum GPA as a student at Barton College
  • Online application
  • Reference letter from FYS instructor

Transfer Students

Transfer students who are applying to Barton College may also apply at that
time for entry into the Honors Program. The following academic requirements
must be met:

  • 3.50 minimum GPA at prior institution
  • Online application


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.