The Wilkes University Honors Program offers bright, ambitious students an enhanced and interdisciplinary academic experience. Selected students from across Wilkes majors take part in honors classes and extracurricular activities designed to increase intellectual, professional and personal achievement.
Honors students reside in a living-learning community. Benefits include an annual academic enrichment grant, unique in higher education, which students can use to help fund study-related expenses such as travel or technology. Other scholarship opportunities specific to honors students are also available upon acceptance to this program.
Wilkes University honors students who complete the program will receive special recognition at graduation and a notation of “honors graduate” on their transcript and diploma.
The Wilkes University Honors Program has been built around students. We strive to provide students with opportunities to further their educational experience through broadened intellectual, cultural, and experiential opportunities. We hope to connect personally to students, to learn about their aspirations, and to help them achieve their goals. We do this through partnerships with faculty, departments, and schools and colleges on campus that foster independent research and innovative ideas; study abroad and internship support; opportunities to connect tomorrow’s leaders with those of today; extracurricular trips to expand knowledge; and programs to build friendships, provide mentoring, and encourage intellectual growth.
As a member of the Honors Program, you will be part of a community of scholars who offer one another support and encouragement, and who are mentored by faculty and staff dedicated to your individual growth and intellectual development.
The Honors Program embraces the Wilkes University values of
and also emphasizes its own values of
- Academic distinction
Our program seeks individuals who want to utilize their education to build these values.
The information on this site will give you further information about our Program and some of the opportunities our current students have enjoyed, but we encourage students to utilize the Honors Program opportunities to forge their own unique path of intellectual growth.
If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Dr. Helen H. Davis, Dr. Anthony Kapolka
Interim Honors Program Co-Directors
Our mission at the Wilkes University Honors Program is to recruit and retain exceptionally talented and highly motivated students by providing an enhanced, interdisciplinary educational experience, which will drive intellectual, professional and personal achievement. Additionally, the Wilkes University Honors Program anticipates raising academic expectations and greatly improving both the institution’s culture and that of the surrounding community.
In addition to Wilkes University’s core values of mentorship, scholarship, diversity, innovation and community, the honors program also looks to instill the following values in its students:
- Leadership — Learning to create personal and professional opportunities to positively influence one’s self and others toward the common good.
- Integrity — Demonstrating the highest level of ethical and moral standards with both determination and humility.
- Self-Awareness — Striving for an accurate assessment of one’s self through reflection.
- Academic Distinction — Pursuing academic excellence by engaging in rigorous and challenging experiences.
In addition to gaining an enhanced educational experience, Wilkes University honors students will enjoy the following benefits:
- an honors program grant
- available honors housing for first- and second-year, residential honors students
- preferential course selection
- no additional cost for course overload related to honors work, as approved by academic advisors
- field trips, dinners and access to notable speakers visiting campus
- additional support for external scholarships, graduate school placement, career placement
- special notation on transcript and recognition at commencement
- access to a network of Wilkes University Honors Program graduates
Students have enjoyed field trips to New York City and dinners on campus with distinguished speakers. Class experiences include visits to Broadway and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, creating a film, and crafting leadership-themed children’s books that were then read to classes at a nearby school.
Students must first apply and be accepted to Wilkes University. Accepted students with an SAT score of at least 1190 (26 ACT) and rank in the top 20 percent of their high school graduating class will be invited to submit an online application to the honors program.
- Honors program applicants selected must also take part in an interview.
- Students will be notified of acceptance into the honors program by March of their senior year.
Students in the Wilkes University Honors Program will be required to take the following classes:
- a cohort-based, 3-credit learning experience that will count toward a University core requirement,
- 18 additional credits, including 6 credits at the 300 level,
- 1-credit honors seminar in senior year.
The program is designed to fulfill most honors requirements with existing core or major requirements.
To remain in the program, students must achieve a 3.0 GPA at the end of the freshman year, a 3.2 after the sophomore year, and a 3.3 after the junior year. Students must end the senior year with a GPA of at least 3.4 to graduate with honors. A student will be allowed only one grade of 2.5 in honors courses to receive honors credit; all other grades must be 3.0 or higher.
Junior Dillon Davis has become quite the globe trotter thanks to the Wilkes University Honors Program.
“It’s been a whirlwind—I can’t believe I’m almost done with junior year. It’s gone so quickly and I’ve done so much in the time I’ve been here,” he said.
After meeting with biology professor Michael Steele, Davis knew Wilkes was a perfect fit. He became a member of the inaugural class of Honor Program students as a biology major in fall 2015, and one of the many benefits included partnering with his honors peers. “You get people who are like-minded, who enjoy studying with you. It’s easier to collaborate.”
The Honors Program presented Davis with many unique research opportunities. Among them was a trip to Hanoi, Vietnam, for the University Scholars Leadership Symposium. “We were all talking about global issues,” he recalls. “It was really neat to see global issues but from a perspective that included people from Vietnam who have seen human trafficking first hand.” On another expedition, Davis presented research with Wilkes Assistant Professor Jeffrey Stratford at the Ornithological Congress of the Americas in Puerto Iguazú, Misiones, Argentina.
Davis also took advantage of internships made available through the Honors Program. As the winner of the Dr. Joseph Donald Stephens, D.D.S., Global Scholars Award, he studied age-related macular degeneration with renowned lecturer in vision sciences J. Arjuna Ratnayaka of Southampton University in England. Another was a position at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s botany exhibit, made through a connection with a Wilkes faculty member.
“I’ve had a lot of opportunities through the honors program,” he says. Davis plans to pursue a doctorate in molecular biology to focus on Alzheimer’s disease, which afflicted his grandmother. “I knew I wanted to do something with disease, Alzheimer’s disease in particular, because of my grandmother.”
“As part of the Honors Program, I was able to attend the United Nation’s University Scholars Leadership Symposium in Bangkok, Thailand, with 900 other youth leaders from around the world. The last day we spent volunteering in a preschool in the slums of Thailand, playing games and interacting with 200 poverty-stricken children. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my career until after I went on this trip, and now I am sure that I want to go into humanitarian affairs and make a difference in the world.”
“I’ve done so many things my friends at other schools would never have the opportunity to do. I can study abroad, fund a conference, or apply my grant to do research. The program has allowed me to work on so many projects, including the study of grassland diversity and bacterial genomes, parasites and viruses, and infectious diseases. My professors at Wilkes are so supportive and helpful, and the Cohen Science Center is amazing.”
“Just in the past year I was able to sit on the stage with Vice President Joe Biden, I met Steve Forbes of Forbes magazine and sat in on a Q&A with him, and I attended a rally with presidential candidate Jill Stein. So just in the past year I’ve personally met three people who have influenced the world – and I had those opportunities because of the Honors Program at Wilkes.”
Honors Advisory Council
- Joyce Victor, Director of the Clinical Nursing Simulation Center
- Helen H. Davis, Associate Professor of English
- Suzanne Murray Galella, Associate Professor of Education
- Jennifer Malinowski, Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice
- Kayla May, Student Development Activities Assistant
- Morgan Clevenger, Assistant Professor, Sidhu School of Business
- Reka Shayka, Coordinator of Extra-Curricular and Co-Curricular Honors Programming
- Casey Flynn, Honors Graduate Assistant