The Global Honor Scholars Program will give you the opportunity to become a more engaged and informed global citizen by connecting with your peers and the world around you. As a Global Honor Scholar, you will be able to take advantage of special events, scholarships, and other opportunities that are available only to you.


Academic Enrichment

Your Honors Advisor: You work with a member of the honors faculty, distinguished by superb scholarship and commitment to talented undergraduates

First Year Seminar: Working with the renowned American Shakespeare Center’s actors and directors, your honors class gets behind the scenes at the Blackfriars Playhouse to complete an original project or take a special science enrichment course.

Meet world leaders, artists, and scholars: You’ll be invited to exclusive events where you spend quality time with visiting dignitaries such as the year’s visiting Doenges artist.

Honors Courses: Exclusive access to interdisciplinary colloquia in the arts, sciences, and humanities; honors classes and honors contracts; independent research, creative projects, and teaching assistantships

Perks and Privileges

  • Special Events: Dean’s Reception and welcome for new upperclassmen
  • Living-Learning Community: special housing for Honor Scholars
  • Priority in course registration and the room lottery
  • An automatically renewed yearly scholarship of $500, totaling $2,000 for your four years of undergraduate work
  • Field Trips: Dance, theatre, concerts, and more
  • Honor Scholar Society: After your freshman year become a leader in the Honor Scholars community and help plan special events.



Prospective students applying to Mary Baldwin University may also apply to the Global Honor Scholars Program with a high school GPA of 3.5 or higher and an SAT 1200 or higher (or the equivalent ACT score of 25 or higher). Prospective students should complete the online application.

Returning MBU students may apply after achieving a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher in 24 semester hours of graded work. All returning students should follow the instructions linked below and submit their application by October 1 for the fall semester and February 1 for the spring semester.

By applying to become a Global Honor Scholar, a student declares an intention to pursue an Honors Degree.




Fall Semester
2nd Friday of semester Fall Semester Honors Contracts due
October 1* New Honor Scholar Applications due
November 1* Honors Degree applications due for those graduating May of this academic year
Spring Semester
2nd Friday of semester Spring Semester Honors Contracts due
February 1* New Honor Scholar Applications due
March 1* Honors Degree applications due for those graduating January of the following academic year
 May term Honors Contracts due
*If date falls on a weekend the deadline is the following weekday
Directions and forms for all applications can be found in the GHS Handbook. All applications should be emailed to the Director of Global Honor Scholars Program, Prof. Gergel-Hackett.

Scholars apply for candidacy for the Honors Degree early in the senior year (November 1 for May graduates; March 1 for January graduates). To be approved as a candidate, a student must

  • be recognized as a Global Honor Scholar for at least three semesters
  • have completed one lab science course and foreign language courses through the intermediate level (typically four semesters of a language)
  • have accumulated at least 9 hours of honors credits (grades of ‘C’ or better in all honors courses and ‘B’ or better in all honors contracts)
  • have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher

At the time of application, the Honors Degree candidate proposes an honors project or thesis. The project or thesis is subject to close supervision of a faculty member and must be judged to be of exceptional merit by an examining committee.

The Capstone Experience

Global Honor Scholars are frequently recognized for outstanding senior projects such as these:

  • Lindsey Aldred, “Why Doctors Scare Us: A Correlative Study of Healthcare Professionals’ Affect Displays and Patient Anxiety
  • Randi Beil, “The Degradation of Bisphenol-S Under UV Light”
  • Ashley Edmiston,  “Reclaiming Rome: Pope Nicholas V’s Humanist Building Projects 1447-1455”
  • Linnea Kuglitsch,  “Best Obtained in Seclusion: Landscapes of Healing and Pleasure at Marienbad and Baden-Baden, 1820-1880”
  • Emily Miller, “Community Leisure for Self-Improvement: The Beginnings of the Chautauqua Movement, 1874-1915”
  • Olivia Samerdyke,  “State of Frankenstein: Uses and Gratification Theory, Horror and World War II”

Guidelines for Preparation and Presentation of an Honors Thesis

  1. A senior honors thesis may be a student’s senior project for his/her major discipline or may be a separate project. The recipient of the Russell Scholar Award may use his/her project to fulfill the senior honors thesis requirement.
  2. To qualify for the honors degree, the senior thesis must meet the following criteria:
    1. It must be an original work, and not just a summary of another’s work.
    2. It must be interdisciplinary – i.e., it should make use of sources, theories and / or models from multiple disciplines. The student’s examining committee should include members of relevant disciplines when possible.
    3. Honors thesis proposals that take the form of research papers must have all of the following:
      1. a thorough and interdisciplinary literature review that includes scholarly sources,
      2. a clear thesis statement,
      3. thorough and substantiated analysis that makes connections to prior scholarly research,
      4. professional writing, with correct grammar, spelling and punctuation,
      5. and clear documentation of sources within the text and a careful and correct bibliography,
    4. Honors thesis proposals for creative works will clearly be more varied. However, creative projects must show the following:
      1. that artistic or creative problems have been solved thoughtfully and professionally,
      2. that the application of research and analysis is evident in the project,
      3. and that the project meets expectations applied to professionals in the field.
      4. At the thesis defense, the student should be prepared to explain how his/her reading and reflection within multiple disciplines has influenced his/her final creative output.
  3. A student who plans to write an honors thesis must consult with the supervising professor in developing the proposal and throughout the writing process. The student should submit multiple drafts to the supervisor and to other members of the thesis committee as they or the supervisor requests. The student must distribute a copy of the final draft to each member of the committee at least one week prior to the defense.
  4. The thesis defense
    1. The honors thesis defense must be separate from any departmental senior project presentation. It must be schedule at least two weeks in advance.
    2. At the thesis defense, the student should begin with a brief presentation of her project. Most of the defense will consist of questions from the honors thesis committee.
    3. The student must be prepared to explain his/her research methods and conclusions to a general audience. He or she must be able to explain models or theories used in her research and to explain the interdisciplinary connections made within the thesis.
    4. If the interdisciplinary examining committee determines that the completed project (including the student’s oral presentation) is “excellent” (A quality) or “very good” (B quality) when judged against the standards for honors theses, that student successfully passes this final requirement for the honors degree.
    5. The examining committee may decide that the student’s work needs revision before it meets the high standards for the honors degree. If so, the committee should set a deadline for thesis revisions and review. The committee need not require a second thesis defense but may do so at its discretion.
    6. The examining committee may decide that the student’s work does not meet the high standards for the honors degree.
    7. The decision of the examining committee should be reported to Nadine Gergel-Hackett, the Director of the Global Honor Scholars Program.
  5. The honors degree vs. distinction in one’s major and/or senior project grades
    1. A Senior Global Honor Scholar may pass his/her senior honors project and receive the honors degree without being awarded “with distinction” in his/her particular major. (Likewise, students who are not Honor Scholars may receive the designation “with distinction.”) The honors degree reflects a student’s success across the liberal arts curriculum (as does initiation into Phi Beta Kappa). “With distinction” is awarded by the major faculty, according to criteria set by the discipline.
    2. A successful (“A” or “B”) senior honors project need not reflect — or restrict — a senior’s grade in his/her Majors Seminar or senior project/senior exercise. As much as possible the senior honors project should be evaluated as a free-standing piece of work, assessed by an interdisciplinary examining committee. The degree to which that same project fulfills requirements in the major is, again, determined by faculty within that major. Similarly, grades in credit-bearing Majors Seminars and for majors projects may reflect a variety of criteria determined, again, by faculty within that major.
    3. To illustrate this distinction, the interdisciplinary honors project examining committee may determine that a senior honors project does not pass (“C+” level work or below). However, that same student may be awarded a higher grade by his/her major faculty for his/her senior seminar course. Likewise, the interdisciplinary honors project examining committee may determine that a senior honors project does pass, but the faculty within that student’s major may determine to award a lower grade for his/her senior seminar course.


The Path to an Honors Degree

As a Global Honors Scholar, you can personalize your path to earning the Honors Degree. The path begins by completing:

  • nine semester hours of honors credits
  • at least one lab science course (grade of ‘C’ or better)
  • Foreign language through the intermediate level (grades of ‘C’ or better)
  • your major(s) and minor(s) and the general education requirements
  • GPA requirements (3.25 for first year scholars, 3.5 for returning scholars with a minimum of 12 graded hours each semester)
  • Be recognized as a Global Honor Scholar for at least 3 semesters prior to graduation
  • Apply for the Honors Degree and complete the Honors Thesis.

Honors credits may be earned in two ways:

  • successfully completing the 9 credits from among the offered Honors Courses (grades of ‘C’ or better)
  • earning 3 or 6 credits through fulfilling Honors Contracts (grades of ‘B’ or better) and the remaining credits through Honors Courses (grades of ‘C’ or better)

With an Honors Contract, you pursue in greater depth the subject matter of a course in which you are currently registered. This option is available at the discretion of the professor responsible for the course. The Honors Contract involves:

  • independent work
  • research and/or creativity
  • the use of higher level analytical and integrated reasoning skills
  • work toward specific goals, building upon, but separate from, the regular course work

Contracts are not typically allowed in the following: 100 level courses, teaching assistantships, directed inquiries, experiential learning, physical education, courses taken P/NC.