There are various ways in which the serious and committed student can earn academic distinction or 'honors' at Coe, some are departmentally awarded, and others are College wide, though students can certainly earn both. The point of all the avenues to honors is to provide students with an opportunity to excel, to expand and to grow intellectually, and with this to better prepare themselves for the challenges of career, graduate study, and life.


The College Scholars Program provides to a select number of highly motivated and academically committed students an opportunity to participate in a series of five seminars, the first—Honors Composition--is to be taken in the spring of the first year, while the other four—Style and Transformation in Arts, Culture and Revolution, Continuity and Transition in Non-Western Societies, and Topics in Scientific Inquiry--are taken typically in the fall and spring of the sophomore and junior years.

The specific topic and materials to be examined in a given seminar will vary, depending on the expertise of the faculty person teaching the course. All seminars are writing intensive and discussion based.

For students, the attractiveness of participating in the Program comes from engaging each term--from the spring of the first year through the third year--in intensive and specially designed courses in which students from all departmental disciplines, who have established records of intellectual curiosity and commitment, gather to discuss, debate, and learn. Scholars Program seminars can be substituted for the appropriate General Education course requirements in the Humanities, Fine Arts, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences.

Students successfully completing the requirements of the Program will be so recognized at graduation.

Students self-nominate for admission to the Program in the fall of their first year, and selection is based on the evaluation of a variety of academic criteria, including both performance in high school as well as performance at Coe.

  • If you have questions, please contact Karla Steffens-Moran at ksteffen@coe.edu.


  • Cum laude is awarded to all graduating seniors with a cumulative grade point average of 3.60 or higher.
  • Magna cum laude is awarded to graduating seniors with a cumulative grade point average of 3.80 or higher who have completed an honors project.
  • Summa cum laude is awarded to graduating seniors with a cumulative grade point average of 3.98 or higher who have completed an honors project.


You may also qualify for Graduating with Distinction if you...

  • successfully complete a significant honors project.
  • have at least a 3.2 cumulative grade point average and at least a 3.5 GPA in courses taken toward the major (although your department may set a higher minimum GPA) at the time you complete your honors project.


Honors projects are ordinarily done during the senior year, but may be completed earlier. Honors projects involve several steps.

  1. Get your honors project proposal approved during your junior year.
  2. The honors project must be the equivalent of two courses, usually as an Independent Study.
  3. Defend your final project before a special committee.

Check the Coe College Catalog for all the details!