Honors Liberal Arts



The SPU Honors Program is an accelerated alternative to the regular General Education curriculum for intellectually curious and academically motivated students at Seattle Pacific University. It requires fewer overall credits, but in a challenging, inquiry-based, and inclusive program that asks University honors students to go deeper into the key questions at the heart of our lives, our faith, and our world. Successful completion of all requirements leads to a Bachelor of Arts degree in Honors Liberal Arts.

SPU Honors is also a close-knit community of students and faculty members committed to academic excellence in a spirit of dialogue, collaboration, and intellectual hospitality. We are guided by the key liberal arts question “What does it mean to be human?” and the foundational curricular values of interdisciplinarity, critical inquiry, equity, inclusion, and service.

Honors Liberal Arts (BA)

  • A minimum of 50 credits is required for this major, including 25 upper-division credits.
  • All students must also complete the UFDN (University Foundations) sequence of courses.
  • Students must complete all foreign language, W (Writing), and CUE (Cultural Understanding and Engagement) competencies as required by the university for graduation.
  • In both the major and minor, students complete a shared core of courses that interrogate how knowledge is constructed and by whom, gaining skill in the intellectual tools and foundational practices of a scholar.
  • For the major, you must also take at least 10 credits of approved Honors electives and publicly present an approved honors research project at the annual Honors Research Symposium.
  • At least one credit of HON 4899: Capstone (1–5) must be taken during spring of the senior year along with required participation in the Honors Research Symposium.
  • It is recommended that all new honors students, whether incoming freshmen or current SPU students, take the first three core HON courses (2000, 2100, 2200) in sequence during their first honors year.
  • Transfer courses and credit for exams such as AP, IB, and Cambridge International will still count toward your degree, but they cannot be used to replace HON courses.
  • Approved study abroad or study away coursework may be used to satisfy Honors Liberal Arts requirements with approval of the Honors Director.
  • Honors courses may be counted toward disciplinary majors at the discretion of departments and programs.
  • Non-honors students may petition to enroll in individual honors courses with the approval of the Honors Director and relevant faculty member(s).

Additional competencies and requirements

  • To remain in the program, every honors student must participate in their choice of a wide range of approved service and leadership opportunities and complete an annual service/leadership self-reflection report.
  • Attendance is required three times a year for all students at the quarterly all-honors Touchstone Gathering.

Entering and completing the major

Formal application and admission to the SPU Honors Program is required prior to enrollment in the Honors Liberal Arts major or minor.

You may apply for admission to Honors at anytime, using the online Honors application materials for incoming first-year or transfer students, as well as currently enrolled SPU students. 

To meet the minimum requirements for admission, you must:

  • Have demonstrated intellectual ambition and a track record of academic success (which will vary depending on the applicants’ academic standing and history).

To successfully complete the major, note that:

  • The University requires a grade of C- or better in all classes that apply to a major or minor; however, programs may require higher minimum grades in specific courses, as in honors. You may repeat an SPU course only once for a higher grade.
  • To advance in the Honors Program, you should meet with the honors director and/or your Honors faculty advisor regularly to discuss your grades, course progression, and other indicators of satisfactory academic progress. If your grades or other factors indicate that you may not be able to successfully complete the Honors Liberal Arts major, the advisor can work with you to explore options, which may include choosing the Honors Liberal Arts minor and regular General Education track instead.
  • You must complete the major requirements in effect in the SPU Undergraduate Catalog for the year of admittance to the major.

Honors Liberal Arts minor

  • A minimum 30 credits are required for this minor, including 15 upper-division credits. 
  • Students in the Honors Liberal Arts minor must take HON 2000, 2100, 2200, 3000, and 10 credits of approved Honors electives.

Entering and completing the minor

  • Students are required to formally apply for the minor and may do so at any time. 
  • Acceptance is based upon the same standard of admission as the major.
  • Students in the minor must complete all other regular General Education requirements.
  • Students must complete the minor requirements in effect in the SPU Undergraduate Catalog for the year of admittance to the minor.