Pacific's Honors Program supports special academic programs and extra-curricular programs designed to enrich the social, cultural, and intellectual lives of our students. Honors students are encouraged to participate in the residential program by living in one of the Honors Residence halls, John Ballantyne House for Freshmen and Carter House for Sophomores, though the Honors activities sponsored by these houses are available to all Honors students.
Participation in the Honors Program is by invitation; each undergraduate student who is accepted to the University is considered if they are in a degree seeking program.
Generally, invitees have a a combination of high grades and test scores, but the program also consider students whose backgrounds suggest some unusual talents that regular transcripts and scores cannot reveal. About 15-20% of the freshman class participates in the freshman program.
The program administrators also invite students to join the honors program after their first semester as freshmen at Pacific if they earn a 3.5 GPA or better. Currently, there is no honors program for transfer students.
While in the program, student participate in the following:
- Freshman/Sophomore General Education courses: Honors students begin by taking an Honors section of Pacific Seminars I, and one other Honors General Education course. The Honors GE courses vary each semester, and attempt to cover all nine sub-categories. Honors students may take as many of these courses as they wish, but are only required to complete one Honors GE to complete the program. Most students take one or two in their first two years.
- Sophomore/Junior Honors seminars: This is a four-course sequence of one-unit seminars designed to help students make connections between their General Education Courses their majors. The first three courses will combine to meet the Area II-B General Education requirement.
- Creativity and Knowledge is the first and has students read a number of articles about how human beings create and organize knowledge and asks students to consider their education to date in this light.
- Knowledge and Human Values is next and addresses the ethics of knowledge, asking about the rights and responsibilities entailed by expertise in particular fields, and about how non-experts should relate to the authority of knowledge.
- Social Uses of Knowledge comes third and asks students to apply knowledge to contemporary world affairs. (Students who spend junior year abroad will be excused from this seminar.)
- Senior Project Proposal is the fourth and asks students to convey specialist knowledge to a non-specialist audience by writing a research or grant proposal.
- Senior Project-Senior Year: Most senior projects will be research projects arising out of the fourth seminar, although students may choose other kinds of projects appropriate to their majors. Studio art majors, for example, may submit a piece of original work. Students in schools that require senior projects will do an Honors version, not a second project. Students entering graduate school through one of Pacific's accelerated programs will be excused from this requirement.
We want to encourage our students to be well-rounded, so we supplement the academic program with direct and indirect encouragement to participate in various kinds of extra-curricular activities.
- Honors colloquia: We ask freshmen students to attend on average of one "colloquium" per month from an extensive calendar we publish regularly on the Honors website, with a required minimum total of 8, though many students complete more. Traditional academic colloquia, such as guest lectures, of course make the calendar, but we also include musical and theatrical performances and art shows as well. Since there are so many options for the colloquia, many students find this portion of the program easy to complete. These colloquia are among the features of the program that students come to like best. They help our students see that a university's intellectual and cultural breadth and richness extends beyond the classroom.
- Off-campus events: We arrange a limited number of off-campus events each year to encourage our students to take advantage of the resources of Stockton and of Northern California. We support a yearly Honors Retreat, and we make occasional forays to San Francisco, the Calaveras Big Trees State Park, etc.
- Leadership and service opportunities: We encourage our students' involvement in tutoring, student government, and off-campus service.
A more detailed look at the academic plan can be found online.
Students are expected to maintain high academic standards throughout their four years and to take all required courses in order to have university honors noted on their transcripts. Every honors course carries an honors notation on university transcripts, so students will get credit for whatever part of the program they complete.