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EIU Pine Honors College

2023-2024 Honors College Student Handbook

Downloadable .pdf version

Mission & Introduction
The Honors College encourages excellence in service and leadership, promotes intellectual and social growth, and strives to unite a diverse community of scholars as they make the most of their four years at EIU in preparation for taking up their place in the world. We do this by providing access to:
  • Exceptional Honors instruction, in small classes and independent studies.
  • Honors College coordinated entertainments and volunteer opportunities.
  • Honors administered scholarships for undergraduate research and study abroad.
  • Honors housing, with Honors Resident Assistants and ready-made study groups.
  • Priority registration, which allows all Honors students to register during “senior week.”
A Welcome from the Dean

Dean EnglandWelcome to the Jack & Sandra Pine Honors College. Honors students enjoy small classes, engaging faculty, and a challenging, stimulating curriculum. You’ll also benefit from Honors housing, advising, scholarships, priority registration, a committed staff, and a great community of peers. Honors can help you learn, grow, and excel; it can connect you with challenges and experiences that build your confidence and résumé. In addition to excellent, purpose-built classes, we offer a rich extra-curricular program, ranging from hikes in nearby parks to conversations over tea and games, to participation in research conferences.

Learn about scholarships, exceptional opportunities, policies, and Honors groups. Feel free to come by and talk to the Honors staff in person! Have tea with the dean!

Richard England
Dean, Sandra & Jack Pine Honors College


Sandra and Jack PineDr. Herb Lasky founded the Honors programs in 1982 to meet the needs of academically talented students. By 2004, Honors had grown to become an Honors College, which was named for Sandra and Jack Pine in 2014, in recognition of their outstanding support of their alma mater. For more than 30 years, Honors at EIU has encouraged intellectual and social growth. We have grown to now include about 420 students representing all colleges.


New Freshman Students

Admission is offered automatically to students with a high school GPA of 3.75 effective Spring 2021. We also welcome students who show other evidence of excellence. Students previously admitted to EIU with a GPA below 3.75 should apply to University Honors here.

Transfer Students

Transfer students with a GPA of 3.5 in their prior undergraduate coursework may be eligible to participate in University Honors and/or Departmental Honors. Apply to University Honors here. Contact Ms. Schmidt for advising assistance.

Current EIU Students

3.5er Program: Students who achieve a 3.5 GPA or higher cumulative GPA standing in their first semester at EIU will be invited to join the Honors College.

Departmental Honors: Current students with a good GPA near junior standing should talk with their Departmental Honors coordinator to apply. Departmental Honors students receive all benefits of Honors participation.

University Honors Program

The University Honors Program offers students unique interdisciplinary Honors seminars, enriched versions of General Education courses,  and of select courses in majors. Students can also earn Honors credit through undergraduate research, graduate courses, and individualized Honors reflective projects. Honors prepares students to compete at the highest levels for career opportunities and graduate school placements. In University Honors, students can earn one of two distinctions:

  1. University Honors Laureates: Earn 26 Honors credit hours by graduation, via University Honors courses, Departmental Honors courses, Honors reflective projects, graduate courses, and/or Honors courses completed at another institution of higher learning.  A grade of "C" or better is required in any course to be counted for Honors credit.
  2. Honors Scholars: Earn 15 Honors credit hours by graduation, via the methods also available to students pursuing the University Honors Laureate distinction.
  1. University Honors Laureate: Required courses (26 credits)
    1. Freshman year: HON 1190 (Honors Forum, 1 hour) or HON 1290 (Honors Exploration Seminar, 1 hour). Presidential Scholars take HON 1191 (Honors First-Year Seminar, 3 hours), instead.
    2. Junior or senior year: An Honors senior seminar outside your major (4 hours)
    3. Additional University Honors courses.
    4. Additional Departmental Honors courses.
    5. Up to 12 hours, from one or a combination of the following sources:
    6. Graduate courses, and/or Honors reflective projects (up to 6 hours).
    7. Honors courses transferred from another post-secondary institution (up to 12 hours).
  2. Honors Scholars: Required Courses (15 Credits)
    1. Presidential Scholars take HON 1191: Honors First-Year Seminar (3 hours).
    2. Additional University Honors courses.
    3. Additional Departmental Honors courses, if appropriate.
    4. Up to 6 hours, from one or a combination of the following sources:
    5. Graduate courses (≤ 3 hours).
    6. Honors reflective projects (≤ 3 hours).
    7. Honors courses transferred from another institution of higher learning (≤ 6 hours

Continuous Enrollment

Students pursuing the University Honors Laureate designation must be enrolled in at least one Honors course per semester until they have earned 22 hours of Honors credit. Students pursuing the Honors Scholar designation must be enrolled in at least one Honors course per semester until they have earned 12 hours of Honors credit. A one-term waiver from Honors enrollment may be granted following application to Ms. Schmidt

GPA Requirement

Students receiving an Honors College scholarship must maintain a 3.4 cumulative GPA to retain their award. All other University Honors students must meet the following cumulative GPA requirements: 
  • Freshmen (0-29 hours earned toward graduation): 3.0
  • Sophomores (30-59 hours): 3.2
  • Juniors, and Seniors with up to 100 hours earned: 3.4
  • Seniors with 101+ hours earned: 3.41
  • Needed at time of graduation, for Honors designation: 3.5

Dismissal from University Honors

Students who do not remain continuously enrolled in Honors courses and are not granted a one-term waiver from doing so, and students who do not meet their prescribed cumulative GPA requirement, are granted a one-semester grace period. At the end of that grace period, students who either did not successfully earn additional Honors hours or did not raise their GPA to whatever level was then prescribed will be dismissed from University Honors. Seniors with 101+ hours whose GPA is < 3.41 will be dismissed without a prior grace period.

Extended Grace Period

Students who faced a major life event that resulted in their need for a first semester of grace may request that grace be extended to a second semester. Such a request should be made during a meeting with Ms. Schmidt. If Ms. Schmidt considers the request to have merit, she will discuss its particulars with the Dean and an extension may be approved.

Reversal of Dismissal

Students previously dismissed from University Honors due to low cumulative GPA may request a reversal of dismissal at such time that their cumulative GPA has improved to meet the requirement tied to their current class standing. To request readmission, students must meet with Ms. Schmidt.

Departmental Honors: For Juniors and Seniors

Departmental Honors consists of 12 hours of classes. These are primarily individualized courses that focus on research or creative activity supervised by faculty. Students pursue areas of personal interest by undertaking independent investigations of their chosen topics at a deep level. Each Departmental Honors program has its own unique requirements, though all culminate in a thesis or equivalent creative capstone project.

Admission to Departmental Honors

To be admitted to Departmental Honors students must:

  1. have a 3.5 or higher GPA for 12+ hours of EIU coursework. Transfer students who have not completed 12 hours at EIU but who have a 3.5 GPA or higher from their prior post-secondary institution may be recommended by their Departmental Honors Coordinator.
  2. meet all general, and discipline-specific, Departmental Honors program requirements.
  3. be approved by both the Departmental Honors Coordinator and the Honors Dean.

Continuous Enrollment: Students must continue to complete Departmental Honors courses as outlined in their application. Changes in course sequence or selection must be reported to Ms. Schmidt.

GPA Requirement: Students must keep a GPA of at least 3.5 to remain in the program.

Students in Departmental Honors should note that there is no probationary policy for their programs. Students in Departmental Honors who fail to maintain a 3.5 or higher cumulative GPA will be dismissed from their Departmental Honors program. That said, students who have been administratively dismissed from Departmental Honors may request a reversal of dismissal as soon as their cumulative GPA is at or above a 3.5.

Departmental Honors programs and their faculty coordinators are listed below. Ms. Schmidt is the Honors College liaison for Departmental Honors.

Departmental Honors Coordinators
Benefits of Honors


All honors students receive extra advising from Honors College staff. Our resident expert is Ms. Schmidt: she advises sophomores, juniors, and seniors, as well as Presidential Scholars at all levels, and students pursuing Honors reflective projects. Freshmen who are not Presidential Scholars are advised by the Dean or Assistant Dean. All of us help students make sure they are still on track with Honors requirements. In addition, Ms. Schmidt works with students who apply for National Scholarships, graduate school, or medical/veterinary school. Contact her at or by phone at 217-581-2017.

Priority Registration

Honors students register during the first week of undergraduate registration, which is a particular advantage to early-career students. This should happen automatically. If you have questions or concerns about priority registration, please contact Ms. Schmidt

Honors Housing

Honors students have the option to live with other Honors students on dedicated floors in Thomas Hall. This can ease your transition to college as you will meet other Honors students with whom to study and socialize. Your resident assistants will also be Honors students, and residential programming on the Honors floors frequently has an Honors-related theme.

Honors Community

The Honors College is a community. We have regular on-campus social gatherings (Ice Cream Social, Pizza Crawl, Tea with the Dean) and special excursions to nearby attractions, as well as occasional outings to cities and cultural events. Students prepare the Honors Homecoming tent, get involved in annual service projects and give feedback to the Honors College. All events are listed in the weekly e-mail: read it, come, make some friends, and have fun!

Scholarship Opportunities

We invite high-achieving high school seniors to apply for our Presidential, Pemberton Presidential, and Honors Award scholarships. See

The awards below are open to students in good standing with the Honors College in all years (freshman to senior) unless otherwise noted. Details, including deadlines and eligibility, are available here. The Honors weekly e-mail will post deadlines – read it!

Unless otherwise noted, submit all applications online through Academic Works by March 15.

  • Dorothy Davis Bunge Scholarship
    Awarded to an Honors student from DuPage County, Illinois, with a GPA of at least 3.5.
  • First Neighborhood Bancshares, Inc. Scholarship
    Awarded to an Honors student for academic excellence.
  • Honors Transfer Student Scholarship
    This award is made to a few incoming students who are transferring to EIU, who have been involved in an Honors program at their prior college, and who are planning to be involved in University Honors or Departmental Honors at EIU. The deadline is in early June. See details here.
  • Sandra & Jack Pine Scholarship
    This $10,000 scholarship is awarded to an Honors student majoring in chemistry, physics, or mathematics. Unlike the other named awards listed here, both incoming freshman students and currently enrolled Honors students may apply for this award. For details, see this page.
  • Study Abroad Scholarships
    Students who wish to study abroad can receive a scholarship (generally $500-$2000) offered by the Honors College. Application deadlines vary with the semester of travel.
  • Rachael Richardson Scholarship
    Awarded to a current EIU Honors student for academic excellence.
National Scholarships Advising

The Honors College offers all EIU students support and guidance in major national scholarship and fellowship competitions. In order to plan for competition, interested students should schedule informational appointments for information with designated campus representatives as early in their academic careers as possible.
We encourage all students (and recent alumni) with exemplary academic, service, and leadership records to talk to Ms. Schmidt.
For national scholarships, links see this page.

Honors Groups

Association of Honors Students (AHS)

AHS is a voluntary student organization that plans and executes social and service activities. All Honors students are encouraged to join. Invitations to AHS recruiting events are sent out in the Honors weekly e-mail. 

Student Advisory Board

This student body meets several times a semester to discuss policies and activities with the Dean of the Honors College. See

Honors Council

This group is composed of faculty, staff, chairs, and students from across campus. This body reviews curricular and policy changes related to Honors, evaluates Presidential Scholarship applications, and reviews and approves other Honors College scholarship applications. 

Alumni Council

This group of alumni and friends of Honors meets twice a year to discuss networking, development, and the activities of the Honors College. They are a great support to current students. All alumni are invited to participate in Honors homecoming and other special events on- and off-campus.

Off-Campus Research Presentation Opportunities

The Honors College invites faculty to nominate students to present original work at the Honors Council of the Illinois Region Student Research Symposium.
Students propose presentations themselves for the National Collegiate Honors Council Annual Conference and the National Conference on Undergraduate Research.

Know your Honors Acronyms
  • HCIR: Honors Council of the Illinois Region
  • NCUR: National Conference on Undergraduate Research
  • SRCA: Student Research & Creative Activity Conference
  • URSCA: Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity Awards
Honors Events: 2022-2023

Events are subject to change. Check your EIU email and the Honors College website frequently for updates!

  • Weekly - Most Friday afternoons, 3 pm: Tea with the Dean
  • Sun. Aug. 21: Freshman Orientation - Honors Session
  • Fri. Aug. 26: Welcome Back Picnic and Field Day, first AHS Meeting
  • Tues. Aug. 30: Honors Ice Cream Social
  • Late Sept. - Early Oct.: Priority Honors Advising Appointments
  • Sat. Oct. 1: Honors Visit Day (for prospective students)
  • Mon. Oct. 10: Annual Honors Pizza Crawl
  • Mon. Oct. 17: Priority Registration for spring begins
  • Sat. Feb. TBA: Honors Progressive Dinner
  • Sat. Feb. 4: Honors College Scholastic Quiz Bowl
  • Feb. 16-18: Presidential Scholarship interviews
  • Sat. Feb. 25: Illinois Honors Conference (HCIR), Lewis & Clark College
  • Early March: Priority Honors Advising appointments
  • Mon. March 27: Priority Registration for fall begins
  • Fri. March 31: Student Research & Creative Activity Conference
  • April 13-15: National Conference on Undergraduate Research, UW-Eau Claire
  • Sun. April 23: Pine Honors College Awards Reception (by invitation)
Scholarship, Conference, and Grant Application Deadlines
  • Fri. Sept. 23: URSCA Proposals due for spring awards
  • Fri. Oct. 14: Study Abroad Scholarships for spring abroad
  • Fri. Nov. 11: Abstracts for NCUR Conference due
  • Fri. Jan. 13: Pemberton Presidential, Presidential Scholarships
  • Fri. Feb. 10: Study Abroad Scholarships for summer abroad
  • Fri. Feb. 17: URSCA Proposal Deadline for summer awards
  • Fri. Feb. 24: Nominations: Honors Distinguished Faculty Award Deadline for SRCA Conference submissions
  • Wed. March 15: Study Abroad for fall, Continuing Student, Bunge, Lasky, Messer, Pine, Richardson, Whisnand, Schmidt Scholarships
  • Fri. April 7: URSCA Proposal Deadline for fall awards


Annual Checklists

Freshman Year


  • Take HON 1190 or HON 1290 and 2-3 other Honors classes over the year.
  • Achieve a 3.0 GPA (or a 3.4 GPA if you receive a scholarship from the Honors College) by the end of the fall.
  • Think about Study Abroad, a research experience for undergraduates (REU), an internship, or a summer of service: speak with your advisor, and plan your future classes.
  • Look for scholarships and apply!
Sophomore Year


  • Take 2-3 Honors sections of classes over the year
  • If necessary, talk to Ms. Schmidt about an Honors reflective project.
  • Achieve a 3.2 GPA (or a 3.4 GPA if you receive a scholarship from the Honors College) by the end of fall.
  • Go on your study abroad, REU, internship, or summer of service, or continue planning for it.
  • If interested, apply for Departmental Honors in the spring semester.
  • Look for scholarships and apply!
Junior Year
  • Finish taking your Honors classes.
  • If necessary, talk to Ms. Schmidt about an Honors reflective project.
  • Once you have 60 hours, sign up for your Honors Senior Seminar.
    • Students with 60-89 hours must be assisted by Ms. Schmidt.
    • Students with 90+ hours may self-register
  • If you will not be at EIU for all or part of your senior year, see Ms. Schmidt about early registration with 60+ hours
  • Achieve a 3.4 GPA by the end of fall.
  • If applicable, take 6 Departmental Honors hours this year
  • If applicable, go on your study abroad, REU or internship or summer of service.
  • If applicable, in the spring see Ms. Schmidt early about graduate/medical/veterinary school applications
  • Apply for graduation through the Office of the Registrar.
  • Look for scholarships and apply!
  • Start planning for jobs or graduate or professional school applications.
  • Start lining up letters of recommendation for jobs and graduate or professional school applications.
Senior Year


  • Be sure to complete your Honors Senior Seminar to meet University Honors Laureate requirements!
  • If necessary, talk to Ms. Schmidt about an Honors reflective project.
  • If applicable, see Ms. Schmidt about graduate/medical/veterinary school applications.
  • Achieve a 3.5 GPA by the end of the academic year.
  • If applicable, take 6 Departmental Honors hours and complete your Departmental Honors thesis/capstone project.
  • Talk to faculty and Honors staff about post-graduation plans.

Related Pages

Contact Information

Sandra and Jack Pine Honors College

Pemberton Hall South
600 Lincoln Avenue
Charleston, IL 61920
(217) 581-2017
(888) 440-4664
Fax: (217) 581-7222

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