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EIU Pine Honors College

2023-2024 Honors College Student Handbook

Downloadable .pdf version

Mission & Introduction
The Pine Honors College encourages: Excellence; Service & Community; Leadership & Intellectual Growth. We help strong students excel by providing: exceptional Honors classes, service and extracurricular opportunities, and support for student research and study abroad. We strive to unite a diverse community of scholars as they make the most of their four years at EIU and prepare themselves to lead and serve in the world. 

We offer:

• Small, Honors-only, engaging classes that challenge your mind and help you grow while meeting general education requirements.
• Service and extracurricular opportunities, on and off campus.
• Support for undergraduate research and study abroad.
• Honors Housing, priority registration, and scholarships.
• A great community of strong students with diverse interests.
• FUN!
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.

Questions? Check for more info. Please also stop by and talk to the Honors staff in person! Come have tea with the dean!

Richard England
Dean, Sandra & Jack Pine Honors College


Dr. Herb Lasky founded Honors 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.  Nearly 500 students from all academic areas are part of the Honors College. 


New Freshman Students

New freshman students with a high school GPA of 3.75 are automatically offered admission to the Honors College. We also welcome students who show other evidence of excellence as Dean’s Choice admits. Admitted students with a GPA below 3.75 can apply online here.  

Transfer Students

Transfer students with a GPA of 3.5 from their prior institution are eligible to join the Honors College - they should apply at the link below, and contact Ms. Schmidt for advising (

Current EIU Students

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

Departmental Honors: Current students with a good GPA who are near junior standing should talk with their Departmental Honors coordinator to apply. Departmental honors students are full members of the Honors College. 

University Honors Program

The University Honors Program is intended to help new freshman and early career students challenge themselves and grow intellectually as they complete a flexible Honors curriculum that satisfies some of their General Education requirements. University Honors classes are small, discussion-centered, and usually open only to Honors students. They are challenging, stimulating, and fun. The following courses and experiences are required.

  1. University Honors Laureates: 26 Credits
    • HON1190 or HON1290, in freshman year (1 cr) (or HON1191 for Presidential scholars)
    • An Honors version of the required Senior Seminar (4 cr). This is the seminar taken for general education credit as a junior or senior. It must be in an area outside your major.
    • Additional Honors coursework (21cr)
    • Any Honors classes (often general education-based)
    • Up to 12 hours can be satisfied through Departmental Honors
    • Up to 12 hours can be satisfied via any combination of:
      • Reflective projects about off-campus experiences such as study abroad, internships, service, etc. (1-6 cr)
      • 5000-level classes (1-6 cr)
      • Honors courses transferred from another college or  university (1-12 cr)
    • Reflective projects earn waivers of required Honors credit. Between 0.5 and 6 credits can be waived for each experience depending on the intensity of
      the activity and the nature of the final project. See
  2. Honors Scholars: 15 Credits
    • The EIU Honors Scholar program is aimed at students who can’t fit the full 26-hour Laureate program into their schedule (perhaps because they have brought in many hours of transfer or AP credit, because of a double major, or because they are joining Honors late). The 15 hours required of Honors Scholars can be satisfied through the following options:
      • University Honors coursework (3-15 cr)
      • Departmental Honors coursework (1-15 cr)
      • Honors courses transferred from another college or university (1-6 cr)

For both University Honors Laureates and Honors Scholars, the following conditions must also be met:
  • Continuous Enrollment
    • You must take at least one honors class every semester until you have earned 21 hours of Honors credit (University Honors Laureate) or until you have earned 12 hours of Honors credit (Honors Scholar). Breaks may be granted by Dr. Sipes ( 
  • GPA Requirement
    • Students receiving Honors College scholarships must maintain a GPA of at least 3.4 to keep the award. All other Honors students require cumulative GPAs as listed below:
      • Freshmen (0-29 credits): 3.0 GPA
      • Sophomores (30-59 credits): 3.2 GPA
      • Juniors & Seniors (60-105 credits): 3.4 GPA
      • To be certified with Honors at graduation: 3.5 GPA
Dismissal from University Honors
Students who do not meet continuous enrollment or GPA requirements will be granted a one-semester grace period. If at the end of that period they have not met all requirements, they will be dismissed from University Honors. Seniors with 101 or more credits who have a GPA less than 3.41 will be dismissed without a grace period.  

Extended Grace Period
Students who face major life events that lead to a grace period may request an extension of that grace period by meeting with Dr. Sipes ( If such an extension allows the student to meet Honors GPA and continuous enrollment requirements, then an extension of probation may be granted with the approval of the Dean. 

Reversal of Dismissal
Students previously dismissed from either University Honors program for low GPA may request a reversal of dismissal should their GPA improve to meet the requirement tied to their current class standing (see above).  Please contact Dr. Sipes ( to request readmission.
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 dismissed from Departmental Honors for low GPA may request a reversal of their dismissal as soon as their cumulative GPA is at or above a 3.5. Please contact Ms. Schmidt ( to request this. 

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, who works with presidential scholars and some juniors and seniors. Dean England and Dr. Sipes round out the advising team and work on class schedules. All of us help students make sure they are still on track with  Honors requirements.

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 please ask Dr. Sipes ( This benefit is for students in good standing with the Honors College. 

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.

National Scholarships/Grad Program Advising
Ms. Schmidt ( helps students who apply for National Scholarships, graduate school, or medical/veterinary school. Contact her early to get help with these applications 

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 Honors-eligible high school seniors to apply for our Presidential, Pemberton  Presidential, and Honors Award scholarships: 

Usually the deadline for Presidential scholarships is in early January for students who will be admitted as Freshman students the following August. 
The awards below are open to current EIU students in good standing with the Honors  College in all years (freshman to senior) unless otherwise noted. The Honors weekly e-mail will post deadlines – read it! Details, including deadlines and eligibility, are at honors/Current_student_scholarships.php. 

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.
  • Lasky Fund Excellence Award
    This prize is given to a top graduating Honors student who has exemplified excellence in his or her academic pursuits and has been very involved with Honors events. An essay and a recommendation are required.
  • 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 Pine 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 make 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 scholarship links see

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. 

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

Know your Honors Acronyms
  • AHS: Association of Honors Students
  • 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 & Deadlines: 2023-2024
Honors Events
Thurs. Aug 24:
Welcome Back Picnic and Field Day/first AHS meeting
Late Sept. - Early Oct.: Priority Honors Advising Appointments
Mon. Oct. 16: Priority Registration for Spring begins
Sat. Oct. 28: Honors Visit Day (for prospective students
Sat. Feb. 3: Honors College Scholastic Quiz Bowl
Sat. Feb. 17: Presidental Scholarship Interviews
Sat. Feb. 24: Illinois Honors Conference (HCIR), SIU-C
Early March: Priority Honors Advising Appointments
Mon. Apr. 1: Priority Registration for Fall begins
Apr. 8-10: National Conference on undergraduate Research, Long Beach, California
Fri. Apr. 19: Student Research & Creative Activity Conference (SCRA)

Scholarship, Conference, and Grant Application Deadlines
Fri. Oct. 20: URSCA Proposals due for Spring awards
Sat. Oct. 28: Study Abroad Scholarships for Spring abroad
Fri. Jan. 12: Presidential Scholarships due
Sun. Feb. 11: Study Abroad Scholarships for Summer abroad
Fri. Feb. 23: Nominations: Honors Distinguished Faculty Award
Fri. Mar. 1: URSCA Proposals for Summer awards
Mon. Mar. 4: Study Abroad Scholarships for fall abroad
Fri. Mar. 15: Continuing Student, Bunge, Lasky, Messer, Pine, Richardson, Whisnand, Schmidt Scholarships
Thur. Mar. 28: SRCA Conference submissions
Fri. April 5: URSCA proposals for Fall awards


Annual Checklists

Freshman Year

Freshman Students

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

Sophomore Students

  • Take 2-4 Honors sections of classes over the year
  • Consider an Honors reflective project (talk to Ms. Schmidt)
  • Achieve a 3.2 GPA by the end of fall to stay in good standing
  • Go on your study abroad, NSE, REU, or internship or continue planning for them
  • If interested, apply for Departmental Honors in spring semester
  • Look for scholarships and apply!
Junior Year
Junior Students
  • Finish taking your Honors classes
  • Consider an Honors reflective project (talk to Ms. Schmidt)
  • 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 O 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, NSE, REU or internship
  • If applicable, in the spring see Ms. Schmidt early about graduate/medical/ veterinary school applications
  • Apply for graduation through the Registrar’s Office
  • Look for scholarships and apply!
  • Start planning for jobs or post-graduate study
  • Start lining up letters of recommendation for jobs and graduate or professional 
Senior Year
Senior Students
  • Be sure to complete your Honors Senior Seminar to meet University Honors Laureate requirements!
  • Consider an Honors reflective project (talk to Ms. Schmidt)
  • 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 DH 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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