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Douglas Honors College

F.A.Q. (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is the Douglas Honors College?

The William O. Douglas Honors College (DHC) is an academic program within Central Washington University that provides an enriched academic environment for exceptional students through an interdisciplinary general education program and an upper-division scholarship experience.

In the honors core curriculum, DHC students enroll in dynamic and innovative courses that satisfy their general education requirements. In the upper division, juniors and seniors, including transfer students with an AA, do advanced research in the arts and humanities or in the sciences. Each student works with a faculty mentor to complete an undergraduate thesis or creative project. Throughout the program, students attend small classes taught by the finest faculty Central has to offer. For more information see our Overview.

Why should I join the honors college? What are the benefits?

DHC students receive individualized instruction in an interactive classroom environment that develops their writing, reading, and speaking abilities. Honors courses provide students with a challenging and intellectually rewarding college experience. Every year, the DHC Curriculum Committee chooses the best courses from a number of promising proposals, thus providing students with innovative courses taught by excellent professors.

To supplement their classroom instruction, students participate in DHC-funded cultural events every quarter, such as plays in Seattle, orchestra performances, and museum visits. Other activities are also held throughout the year, including DHC-exclusive discussions with distinguished faculty and visiting scholars, seminars, social events, and travel to conferences and research libraries.

Students who complete the honors college general education requirements plus one other course earn an Interdisciplinary Honors Minor. Students who complete one of the upper-division scholarship experiences are designated either an Arts & Humanities Honors Scholar or a Science Honors Scholar. Students who complete both parts of the program graduate with honors from Central Washington University.

Graduating with honors is often a deciding factor in future employment. DHC graduates have also been accepted to prestigious graduate schools and law schools, including Cornell University (law), Washington University in St. Louis (anthropology), Georgetown University (conflict resolution), Portland State University (psychology), the State University of New York at Stony Brook (philosophy), and Northern Illinois University (history), just to name a few.

How does the DHC curriculum fit with my major?

DHC students may pursue a major in any of the more than 120 specialized fields of study at Central. The DHC does not offer a major. Rather, it provides an innovative general education and mentored research experience for exceptional students, along the option of earning a minor.

Does it cost more to be in the Honors College?

No. There is no additional cost involved with being in the Douglas Honors College. In fact, students in the Honors College are eligible to receive a tuition waiver of up to $1,500 per academic year. For more questions about the cost of attendance, see the office of Financial Aid. For information about relevant scholarship opportunities, see our Scholarship page.

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What are the requirements to join the DHC?

Students who are accepted into the Douglas Honors College typically have over a 3.3 cumulative GPA in high school, have completed rigorous high school coursework, and have scored in the top 10% on either the SAT or ACT. However, these are not strict criteria. Admission decisions will take into account not only a student's academic record but what he or she can contribute to the DHC. An application to join the DHC is available online.

How would my General Education Requirements change if I were to join the DHC?

Instead of taking the university's basic skills and breadth requirements, DHC students take specially designated honors general education courses. Students who complete the DHC are exempted from the regular general education program. See our list of General Education Requirements.

What is the Upper-Division Scholarship Experience?

The Upper-Division Scholarship Experience is divided into two tracks: Arts and Humanities Honors and the Science Honors Program. Current CWU students and transfer students with an AA enroll in one of the two tracks depending upon their academic interests. The culminating project of the Upper-Division Scholarship Experience involves mentored research and the completion of a thesis or creative project prepared under the supervision of a thesis advisor. For more information, see our Upper-Division Scholarship Experience section.

Is there a grade-point requirement to stay in the honors program?

Yes. Students must maintain a minimum of a 3.0 cumulative GPA at Central. See our Academic Standing Policy.

What if I am a transfer student or a Running-Start student?

Whether you have an Associate degree or just a few transfer credits, the Douglas Honors College has a place for you. Just be sure to include all your transfer credits on your application and talk to your DHC advisor before registering for classes.

Will I be able to study abroad?

The DHC curriculum is flexible enough to allow students to study abroad. Students need not take honors courses during every quarter. The Study Abroad Office has many options for students who are interested in this opportunity.

What is the Honors Living-Learning Community in Barto Hall?

While all residence halls offer educational and social activities, specialized Living Learning Communities (LLC) such as the DHC LLC have out-of-classroom enrichment activities that focus on the needs of honors students. The professional residence hall staff or scholars in residence assist with the daily operation of the DHC LLC. Regular forums and seminars in Barto Hall supplement the DHC curriculum.

Students in the DHC are not required to live in the DHC LLC, but it is highly recommended that they do so. For further information, see Housing.

Who is William O. Douglas?

The honors college is named for U. S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, a native of the central Washington city of Yakima. When Justice Douglas retired from the Supreme Court in 1975, he had served on the court for 37 years, longer than any other justice in history. Following Justice Douglas's example, the DHC encourages intellectual breadth, academic curiosity, and the application of scholarship to pressing social issues.

What do I do if I still have questions?

Contact us if you have further questions or wish to receive a brochure. We can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at 509-963-1445.

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