10 Affordable Online Honors Programs at Public Universities

Affordable Online Honors Programs at Public Universities - featured image

While many colleges and universities generally keep their class sizes small, talented students who prefer to experience in-class intimacy and focused learning among the best and the brightest may want to consider attending an honors college and earning an honors program.

Affordable Online Honors Programs at Public Universities - fact

Honors programs have been in existence for decades. Beyond serving as a recruitment tool for many public universities, this program provides enhanced education opportunities for undergraduate students who are highly motivated and academically prepared.

Students attending an honors program will often get a ticket to a wealth of academic opportunities that will set them up for success. This includes an innovative curriculum, outstanding faculty, research opportunities, generous scholarships and grants, personalized advising, and priority registration. 

Featured Programs

In this article, we have gathered the most affordable online honors programs offered at public universities. Some of the schools in the list, however, are not fully available online. Nevertheless, they are great options for exceptional students who wish to join an honors program. 

Oregon State University 

Home to two campuses, 11 colleges, and 12 experiment stations, Oregon State University offers almost 200 degree programs, many of which are also available online. It is also home to the Honors College, a diverse community composed of 1,800 students. 

The Honors College has a competitive admission process, but it also boasts a holistic selection process. Qualified students are considered not only for their GPA but also for their coursework, extracurricular activities, and service to the community. At the Honors College, students can enjoy small class sizes, one-on-one mentoring by faculty members, and leadership opportunities. 

The university offers an online honors baccalaureate degree, a collaboration between the Honors College and the student’s primary major. Students may choose honors courses that can complement their majors and choose between two tracks – the Honors Scholar track and the Honors Associate track. The Oregon State’s honors baccalaureate degree is highly regarded by employers and is built for online learners. 

Arizona State University 

Embodying a culture of innovation and inclusion, Arizona State University expanded its academic and entrepreneurial opportunities for every type of learner. It is home to Barrett, the Honors College. This residential college community houses academically outstanding undergraduates. Students in this college can enjoy exclusive internships, research, and travel opportunities along with a unique honors curriculum that can integrate into students’ ASU degree requirements. 

To get admitted into the honors online program at Barrett, one must be an ASU online student enrolled in an undergraduate program. They must have earned a minimum of 24 credits and still have 60 credits remaining until graduation. 

The honors curriculum is designed to improve students’ ability to communicate and think critically. Students admitted into the program are required to complete the History of Ideas course and defend and submit an approved honors thesis. They will also need to earn a total of 21 honors credits with a minimum HPA of 3.15 upon graduation. 

University of Kansas 

Established in 1866, the University of Kansas currently serves almost 30,000 students across five campuses. The university houses the Edwards Campus, where the honors program is offered. 

The honors program is designed for exceptional students who want to be challenged intellectually and prepare for professional success. The program is one of the top-ranked honors programs in the country. One of the best opportunities for an Honors student is being able to study abroad and undertake graduate-level research. Students can also experience personalized advising, early enrollment every semester, and hands-on enhanced learning experiences. 

Students will need to complete at least six honors courses, equivalent to 18 credit hours. They are expected to meet the minimum KU cumulative GPA of 3.25 upon graduation in order to earn the program and graduate with the honors designation. Scholarships, fellowships, and grants are easily accessible to students admitted into the honors program. 

Florida State University 

Florida State University is considered among the nation’s elite research universities. On top of its many rigorous academic programs across all education levels, students can also get into the university’s Honors Program. It brings together the best resources the university has to offer. The program is designed for student scholars who want to develop into thought leaders and informed global citizens. 

The Honors Program features a dedicated cohort of Honors Teaching faculty and full-time instructors who are specifically assigned to the program. Students in the Honors Program can benefit from completing courses that complement and enrich the FSU classroom experience. They are provided with state-of-the-art facilities with classrooms and study spaces, as well as two on-campus housing options for first-year students. 

Students also have access to dedicated faculty and advisors for mentorship. They also have complementary opportunities for Scholars Programs, including Presidential Scholars, Honors Legal Scholars, and Honors Medical Scholars. 

Athens State University 

With a long, rich history of helping students achieve academic and professional success, Athens State University focuses on producing graduates valued by employers. Exceptional students with the drive for excellence have the chance to enroll in the university’s Honors Program

This program provides students the opportunity to engage in robust interdisciplinary academics and related programming. Project-based learning is utilized to deepen students’ academic experience beyond the classroom. Students will need to complete an Honors Project within 18 months. They are also expected to take part in Honors Cohort professional growth activities such as community service, diversity and inclusion initiatives, and co-curricular activities. 

Students admitted into the Honors Program will be able to receive tuition scholarships and various funding opportunities that will support their completion of the program. 

Fitchburg State University

Located in the city of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, Fitchburg State University is one of the smaller universities in the state in terms of size, with around 4,600 students. Fitchburg State University also offers 56 undergraduate majors, along with over 40 graduate-level degree programs. 

Fitchburg State University’s Honors Program is designed to challenge students to push themselves to pursue excellence. It is open to both first-year and transfer students and sees students take interdisciplinary courses that emphasize research, writing, analytical skills, teamwork, and presentation skills. Students’ honors work concludes with a two-semester honors thesis/project in their chosen areas, which takes many forms beyond the traditional research thesis. The Honors Program grants a $2,000 per year merit scholarship to full honors program students. 

Under the honors program, students also get to attend various seminars that serve as venues for gaining direct experience in the arts and service learning. Students also get to take part in various extracurricular activities, cultural experiences, and other special privileges. Fitchburg State University also offers second-year and transfer students the Honors Minor option, which is essentially an abbreviated form of the Honors Program. 

Delaware State University

Delaware State University is located in the state capital of Dover and is a historically black land-grant research university. With a population of almost 6,000 students, Delaware State University (DSU) offers 46 undergraduate degrees, 12 graduate, and six doctorate degrees in its 4 component colleges. 

Delaware State University’s Honors Program is designed to not only empower students to pursue academic excellence and professional & leadership development but also to have a global and moral orientation, with a view to preparing them for graduate education as well as sought-after employment opportunities.  

The DSU Honors Program is open to both first-year and transfer students, who must have a GPA of 3.25 or higher, as well as SAT scores (combined) of at least 1050 in Mathematics and Critical Reading. Students must also be recommended by two of either high school or college instructors.

Nicholls State University

Located in the city of Thibodaux, Nicholls State University is one of the State of Louisiana’s smaller public universities, currently hosting a population of over 6,300 students. Despite its size, Nicholls State University offers various degrees that cover a wide range of fields and is itself known as an area of excellence in the sciences, health sciences, education, and more.

Nicholls State University’s Honors Program is designed primarily to aid students in making the most of their years spent in college while facilitating their growth and development in several key areas by way of a curriculum that deepens their academic experience through research internships and other opportunities.

Nicholls State University’s honors program has its own set of highlights. In addition to the small class sizes and better attention and interaction with faculty, students get the chance to benefit from various scholarships, early scheduling privileges, and even opportunities for international travel. 

University of South Carolina

Located in the capital of Columbia, the University of South Carolina is the largest higher education institution in the state, with a total population of over 35,300 students. The UofSC is a premier research university, offering over 350 degree programs that span the undergraduate to doctorate levels. 

The University of South Carolina’s Honors College dates back to its founding in 1978 and is billed as a program that combines the caliber of a top-tier research university with the feel and environment that is typical of close-knit, small liberal arts colleges. The program offers nearly 600 honors courses each year. 

Students of the UofSC Honors Program get to enjoy a range of benefits and privileges that include special campus housing, research projects, internship opportunities, and the Baccalaureus Artium et Scientiae (BARSC) degree, which lets honors program students design their own major. Students also get the benefit of an expansive and active alumni network that spans the entire globe.

Ohio State University

Ohio State University (OSU) is a land-grant research university in the city of Columbus, Ohio. It is a member of the University System of Ohio. It is one of the state’s largest (with over 60,000 students) and most senior higher education institutions, featuring an impressive array of research facilities, a wide range of academic offerings, and a long list of accolades. 

Ohio State University has its University Honors Program, which is designed to promote students’ personal and intellectual growth and development. The program integrates an elevated academic experience along with various co-curricular opportunities, culminating in them pursuing original research and the opportunity to graduate with distinction in their chosen major. 

OSU has over 350 sections of honors courses every year, which have small class sizes (generally capped at 25 students). Honors students also benefit from priority scheduling, as well as take part in research opportunities that prepare them to pursue competitive post-baccalaureate fellowships. 

In many ways, it is a badge of honor to be accepted into the tight-knit communities that typify honors programs. These sub-communities in many of the country’s universities serve not only as specialized learning platforms for qualified students but also as means to facilitate their growth and mindset of excellence, regardless of their chosen careers. 

On a more personal note, honors programs also serve as sources of lifelong connections for many students who get accepted, something that forms part of what makes the overall college experience highly treasured. At the end of the day, the pursuit of excellence in higher education need not incur significant financial costs, and many affordable honors programs prove this point exactly.