Mount Saint Mary's College
Home » Academics » The Honors Program


The Honors Program
Honors Program

Promoting innovative and independent thinking. At Mount St. Mary's, students with exceptional ability are encouraged to enjoy special academic challenges through partic­ipation in the honors program. Designed to foster individual interests and talents, the honors program invites students to expand the possibilities of their educational experience. Honors students work individually with faculty members to design unique honors opportunities. Honors experiences include independent research and writing, oral pre­sentations, and focused small group discussions. Students may opt to work toward the honors certificate awarded at graduation by completing a senior honors thesis. Honors experiences are offered in almost every academic area and many have an interdisciplinary theme or topic. Consistent with the mission of Mount St. Mary's, faculty are committed to developing experiences for students that promote innovative and independent thinking and ideas with an emphasis on understanding diverse cultures.


Eligibility for the Program

All students who are awarded Honors at Entrance are automatically eligible for the honors program. Typically these students have earned excellent high school grade point averages and SAT scores. Transfer students as well as other Mount students maintaining a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or better are also automatically eligible. Students may contact Dr. Michele Dumont, Chair of the Honors Committee, for specific information on eligibility.

Honors Work Through Contracts

The Honors Program offers students the chance to work closely, one-on-one, with instructors to design an Honors experience. An Honors Contract is designed to turn the assignments of any course into more complex, in-depth, and independent work. Contracts can accelerate work in a field and provide students with the opportunity to focus on aspects of the subject she finds most fascinating. Students receive an "H" after the course number on her transcript, designating honors credit.

The Honors Certificate

The honors certificate is awarded at the graduation ceremony to students who have completed a minimum of 18 units of honors work representing at least three academic areas, including a senior hon­ors thesis. The senior honors thesis is a major research project on a topic of the student's choosing. The thesis must integrate at least two academic disciplines and is supervised by two faculty readers from different departments. Students planning to complete a senior honors thesis work together in a group beginning the fall semester of their senior year. However, students are encouraged to begin developing ideas in their junior year. Thesis proposals are approved by the Honors Committee, two faculty readers, and the student's department chairs by the end of the fall semester of their senior year. Students present their senior honors thesis at an open forum in the spring of their senior year.

Honors Thesis

We are proud of the creative initiative and insights reflected in the impressive research conducted by Mount St. Mary’s students in the following senior honors theses:

  • A Woman's Place Is In The Struggle: Looking Into The Biological And Socio-Cultural Factors Behind The Disproportionate Increase In HIV Infection In Women
  • Take Two Tunes And Call Me In The Morning… Completing The Conductor-Less Orchestra:
  • A Model For Business Organizations Brain And Emotional Development: The Importance Of Bonding And Attachment
  • Embryonic And Adult Stem Cells: Future Research And Public Policy
  • Too Little, Too Late: Impact Of Federal Health Coverage On Access To HIV/AIDS Therapy
  • "Science With Dreams...": The Progression To A Symbiotic Relationship Between Science And Spiritual Poetry
  • Mujer And Onna: A Comparative History Of Mexican And Japanese Immigrants In Los Angeles, 1960-1970
  • After Code Blue: How The Nightingales Cope
  • Human Genome Project And Ethical Implications
  • Mona Mango Makes A Splash: A Children's Story About Learning To Swim, With Illustrations
  • A Guide For Healthy Living After The Age Of Sixty-Five
  • One Molecule, Two Stories: Shaping The Future Of Water Through Science And Public Policy In Southern California
  • Who Did It?: Biological And Chemical Techniques Used In Forensics To Solve Crime
  • The Hidden History Of Filipino Political Pioneers In California: A Foundation For The New Generation

This is just a sample of recent theses. For the complete list with the names of student authors and the year of each of the Senior Honors Theses click here.


For answers to frequently asked questions click here.

If you are interested in experiencing the satisfaction that comes from special achievement and academic distinction, please contact Michelle Lagrimas, Director of the Honors Program: