Honors Program

The Honors Program at Simmons fosters a motivated group of students who explore the complexity of today's world and their place in it. This four-year academic program is designed to enhance the undergraduate experience of students in all majors. Its goal is to encourage depth in the departmental discipline of choice, and to enhance this knowledge through interdisciplinary studies and international awareness.

Students in the Honors Program are offered an enriched curriculum that is presented in small seminars, team-taught courses, study abroad opportunities, research projects, and/or internships. In addition, the Honors Program provides co-curricular activities both at the College and in the Boston area. Faculty take their classes as well as small groups of students to the theater, film festivals, museums, and lectures throughout the year.

Benefits of the Honors Program

Aside from the academic benefits of the Honors Program, each honors student receives a yearly book award to help fund her textbook purchases. Honors students are also eligible for the Dolores Amidon D'Angelo Scholarship for Study Abroad. Social and leadership opportunities are offered to Honors students as well. The Honor Student Advisory Board and the Honors Liaison are two sponsored student groups on campus, where Honors students can work together, build leadership skills, and share their voice and perspective on campus life and their Honors experience. Honors students are also eligible to enroll in any of the Honors courses offered during any semester. The courses are carefully chosen to provide an exceptional learning experience.


First year: Learning Communities: Fall

First -year Honors students take an 8-credit, team-taught Learning Community that explore multidisciplinary approaches to contemporary social issues. Learning Communities take place in the fall semester. All include intensive writing instruction.

The Learning Community replaces the First-year Writing and MCC requirements for first-year students.

A Learning Community generally includes three individual courses: a Monday 3-credit course taught by one professor, a Friday 3-credit course taught by another professor, and a Wednesday 2-credit Integrative Seminar taught by both professors. The students are the same in all three courses.

First-year in Honors: Honors 190 Critical Thinking, Public Speaking.

First-year Honors students and sophomore transfer Honors students take a one-credit course that includes: transforming an academic paper into a script for a oral presentation, practice with tone and gesture in public speaking, and a presentation to a live audience. Students work with a consultant from Bates Communications. Honors 190 is an intensive writing and critical thinking course.

Beginning in the fall of 2013, sophomore-entry Honors students will be required to take HON 190 in the spring of their sophomore year.

Honors Curriculum after the First-year Learning Community.

All Honors students may take Honors seminars after the fall of their first-year. Most seminars fulfill a Mode of Inquiry. The Honors Program offers seminars that fulfill all of the required Modes of Inquiry. See Courses for information about specific seminars.

Honors seminars are on a two or three-year cycle. All are introductory courses with no prerequisites. Students may take Honors seminars in any order they choose.

Students are required to take one 200-level seminar and one 300-level seminar. They are encouraged to take as many seminars as they wish to fulfill the College's general education requirements. Students are advised to fulfill the required seminars in their first to third year at the College.

Students are required take an Honors seminar in their second and third year at the College. When this is not possible (a year-long study abroad, leave of absence, scheduling difficulties, etc.) or advisable, the student works out a plan with the Honors director.

200-level Courses: International Perspectives

200-level seminars examine a nation, a region or a people outside of the United Sates and Western Europe.

300-level Courses: Interdisciplinary Inquiry

300-level seminars bring together two or more disciplinary approaches to examine a topic or issue of interest.

Senior Year in Honors: Disciplinary Depth

Each department has its own unique senior requirements. The Honors Program does not ask students to do an additional senior project for Honors, but rather to individualize a project in their departmental major following the requirements of that major. See the Director and your departmental advisor to plan appropriate Honors-level capstone work in your major.

Those seniors who take graduate courses in the major during the senior year fulfill the Honors Disciplinary Depth requirement through graduate-level work.

Sophomore-entry Honors Students:

Sophomore-entry students who have taken FYW and MCC have completed the College writing requirement and do not take the Honors Learning Communities. They select among the Honors seminars.

Sophomore-entry students entering Honors in Fall 2013 are required to take HON 190 in the spring semester of their sophomore year.

Transfer Students:

The Registrar determines if transfer students have fulfilled the College writing requirement. Those who must take 6-8 credits of writing, take the fall Learning Community in Honors. Those who have fulfilled the writing requirement may take the Honors seminars of their choice. Transfers who have partially fulfilled the writing requirement work with their Honors advisor to determine placement.

Transfer students take HON 190 in the spring of their first year at the College.

Requirements for Good Standing in Honors:

  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.4
  • Honors Learning Community (or sophomore-entry or transfer alternatives)
  • HON 190
  • Minimum of one 200-level seminar
  • Minimum of one 300-level seminar
  • One Honors course per year or formal plans to fulfill this work at a later date
  • Grade of B or better in the senior Disciplinary Depth work in the major

Below, you will see a sample list of Honors courses. See the Overview > Curriculum page of the Honors website for a clearer understanding of first-year (100-level) courses. Students must register for first-year Honors courses through the Honors Director, but may register online for their other Honors classes using the college registrar's AARC2 system. You may also request a copy of the 3-year course outlook to see which (200 to 300-level) courses will be available in upcoming semesters.

Changes and updates may occur. For the most current course offerings, students should check with the Honors Director, the bulletin at C313, or Honors Program Group postings on the MySimmons Portal for the most current course offerings.

Multicultural Awareness

Course Name Number Credits Type
First-year Seminar HON-101 3.00 Lecture
Honors Sem HON-102 3.00 Lecture
Crit. Thinking, Pub. Speaking HON-190 1.00 Lecture

International Perspectives

Course Name Number Credits Type
Islam and the West HON-203 4.00 Lecture
Conflict & Identity in Sudan HON-201 4.00 Lecture
Pol.Uph. & Expres.20th Ce.LA HON-202 4.00 Lecture
Dialogue: France & Francophone HON-204 4.00 Lecture
Colonial Legacy of Africa HON-205 4.00 Lecture

Interdisciplinary Approaches

Course Name Number Credits Type
Sexuality, Nature, and Power HON-302 4.00 Lecture
Private Lives, Public Debate HON-301 4.00 Lecture
HIV/AIDS Inter. of Sci & Soc HON-303 4.00 Lecture
Specimens & Collections HON-304 4.00 Lecture
Covering War HON-306 4.00 Lecture
Sustainability & Clim. Change HON-308 4.00 Lecture
Specimens and Collections HON-305 4.00 Lecture
Pol. Psyc.- Influ. Wmn. Ldrs. HON-310 4.00 Lecture

Disciplinary Depth

Course Name Number Credits Type
Transitions:grad School&beyond HON-390 1.00 Lecture
Honors Faculty

Mary Jane Treacy
Position: Director of the Honors Program; Professor of Spanish and Women’s Studies
Phone: 617-521-2233
Office: MCB E-104C
Email: maryjane.treacy@simmons.edu

Jennifer A. Roecklein-Canfield
Position: Associate Professor; Department Chair
Phone: 617-521-2731
Office: S 438
Email: jennifer.canfield@simmons.edu

Masato Aoki
Position: Associate Professor, Department Chair
Phone: 617-521-2580
Office: MCB E-203H
Email: masato.aoki@simmons.edu

Benjamin Cole
Position: Assistant Professor
Phone: 617-521-2494
Office: MCB E-203A
Email: benjamin.cole@simmons.edu

Daren Graves
Position: Associate Professor
Phone: 617-521-2519
Office: MCB W-304B
Email: daren.graves@simmons.edu

Heather Hole
Position: Assistant Professor
Phone: 617-521-2259
Office: C 422
Email: heather.hole@simmons.edu

Margaret Menzin
Position: Professor
Phone: 617-521-2704
Office: S 209
Email: margaret.menzin@simmons.edu

Michael Berger
Position: Associate Professor
Phone: 617-521-2722
Office: S 442
Email: michael.berger@simmons.edu

Stephen Berry
Position: Associate Professor
Phone: 617-521-2272
Office: C 319H
Email: stephen.berry@simmons.edu

Patricia Deyton
Position: Assistant Professor; Director, Center for Gender in Organizations
Phone: 617-521-3876
Office: M 418
Email: patricia.deyton@simmons.edu

Eduardo Febles
Position: Associate Professor, Department Chair
Phone: 617-521-2149
Office: C 316J
Email: eduardo.febles@simmons.edu

Valerie Geary

Robert Goldman
Position: Professor
Phone: 617-521-2690
Office: S 216
Email: robert.goldman@simmons.edu

Denise Hildreth
Position: Associate Professor
Phone: 617-521-3973
Office: P 412F
Email: denise.hildreth@simmons.edu

Michelle Kweder

Gregory Slowik
Position: Professor
Phone: 617-521-2266
Office: C419
Email: gregory.slowik@simmons.edu

Niloufer Sohrabji
Position: Associate Professor
Phone: 617-521-2587
Office: MCB E-203G
Email: sohrabji@simmons.edu

Dawna Thomas
Position: Associate Professor
Phone: 617-521-2539
Office: MCB C-319E
Email: dawna.thomas@simmons.edu

Study Abroad

Studying abroad is a life-changing experience where students don't just visit a country, but live as a part of that culture. When living in another city, students are provided with the opportunity to experience the customs, speak the language, and understand a way of life that is unlike theirs. Students that study abroad gain something that other college students do not--cultural awareness. Through becoming a part of a different culture, students are given a new perspective which will be beneficial not only throughout their careers, but throughout their lives.

First and second years

Particularly in students' first and second years at the College, the Honors Program strongly encourages its students to join Simmons faculty on a one-month travel course abroad. Course offerings are available in October for the following May.

Third and fourth years

The Honors Program encourages advanced students to plan for a summer, semester or full year abroad, uniting their disciplinary work with study as well as internships. To this end, we strongly recommend students in every discipline maintain their study of language past the required 201 level. The best programs, internships, and funding possibilities depend on a student's fluency in the language of the country.

Honors Activities

Honors Teas

The program hosts teas where faculty and students meet for informal conversations, and invited speakers address students on a variety of topics. Recent events include:

  • Study Abroad Tea
  • New Course Tea
  • Sophomore Entry Tea
  • Senior Tea
  • Service Learning Tea
  • Peer Mentoring Tea

Honors Liaison

The Honors Liaison, comprised of students in all four undergraduate classes, organizes activities throughout the year. The Liaison is student-led and focuses on representing Honors students within the Simmons and Boston communities. Each fall the Liaison organizes a film festival and invites a Simmons faculty member to speak on her/his current research for the Honors Lecture each spring. Past Liaison events include fundraising and participation in the Walk for Hunger, an Honors Pajama Relaxation Night and a weekly Jane Austen movie club.

If you are interested in joining the Honors Liaison, please email honors.program@simmons.edu and we will direct you to the current Liaison President.

Honors Student Advisory Board

The Student Advisory Board is a small group of Honors students who attend monthly meetings with the Honors Director to discuss curricular issues within the Honors Program. Members are encouraged to make suggestions for change within the Honors Program and propose new programs and ideas. Recently, SAB members discussed changing the GPA requirements for Honors students, adding civic engagement to the Honors curriculum, and starting the Summer Peer Mentoring Program for incoming freshmen. SAB members are also called upon to represent Honors at recruiting events.

Summer Peer Mentors

The Peer Mentoring program pairs current Honors students with incoming Freshmen who have been accepted to the Honors Program and are preparing to begin their first year at college. Peer Mentors make themselves available via email over the summer to answer questions about being an Honors student and making the transition to college life. In the fall, the Peer Mentors and their "mentees" have the chance to meet and socialize at the Peer Mentor Tea.

Scholarships, Fellowships & Grants

The Director of the Honors Program works with small groups of students and mentors individuals interested in applying to graduate school, as well as for national grants such as the Fulbright, Truman, and Boren.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will the Honors Program place me in more challenging courses?

Yes. The courses developed for the Honors Program will ask you to develop your academic potential to the fullest.  Nevertheless, you will take one or two Honors courses per year; the remainder of your academic work will be in regular courses offered by the college. You can feel confident that the Honors faculty have assessed your application thoroughly and know that you are capable of strong work in the Honors Program.

Which programs of study (majors) can I choose as an Honors student?

You have the same requirements and access to the same majors as any student at Simmons

Will I have an adviser in my major?

You will have a first year adviser who is connected to the Honors Program. All advisers are faculty members and all can advise you in any departmental interest you may have. As you develop your interests toward a major or need the advice of departmental specialists, you may take on a new departmental adviser. You can also expect plenty of informal advising at Simmons. We encourage you to speak with your professors and the Pre-Law or Pre-Med advisers whenever you have a question.

Can I study abroad?

Absolutely! Most students should do so. We encourage you to go abroad in your second year of college, and to consider a semester-long study abroad or domestic exchange program in your junior or senior year.

How do I register for classes?

First-year Honors students register for classes through Honors Director, Mary Jane Treacy. You will meet with Prof. Treacy to discuss which seminars are best for you. Sign-up for 200- and 300-level Honors courses using the college's online registrar: AARC2. (Visit the Office of the Registrar for help).

Which Honors courses will be offered next year? I'd like to plan ahead.

The 3-year course outlook is posted on the bulletin board outside C-313. Additionally, you'll find a binder with course syllabi in the Honors office suite (C-313). Stop in, have a cup of tea and see what courses interest you.

Can a first-year student sign-up for a 200-level course?

Yes. Take any Honors class at any time. The course numbers refer to the Honors Program's Core Values:

  • Multicultural Awareness (100-199)
  • International Perspectives (200-299)
  • Interdisciplinary Approaches (300-399)

All of the Honors 200- and 300-level seminars fulfill the college-wide Modes of Inquiry requirements and, therefore, bear no prerequisites.

You must take one course in each Core Value over your four years at Simmons. When you take them, and the order you take them, is up to you and your schedule. Generally, you should take at least one Honors course per year. Exceptions include when you study abroad for a year or have some serious schedule problem.

The Honors Program strives to bring you the most innovative courses and exciting professors. We hope that you will see these seminars, designed especially for you, as exciting ways to fulfill as many Modes of Inquiry requirements as possible. We expect that you will take more than two. We believe that you will find they bring you to new worlds and insights. Take whatever interests you. Take as many as you like.

What is the senior Honors project?

The senior work is determined by your departmental major. Your goal is to be the best X major that you can be, and to prepare for your next step in the field. The means to that end are typically:

  • Eight credits of independent work, culminating in a project that is submitted to the Honors Program.
  • Enriched work in the major (thesis, project, internship with paper, etc.), undertaken in consultation with a departmental faculty.

Do I need good grades to remain in the program?

Honors students must maintain a 3.4 cumulative GPA to stay in the program. First-year students are given an "adjustment to college" period and must maintain a 3.2. The senior project must be a B or higher quality.

The Honors director reviews student transcripts each winter to see that students are on the right track. She then meets with those who are under the minimum GPA. There is no dismissal of students mid-year, only a check-in. The meeting is not a reprimand. The goal is to discuss challenges encountered during the semester and together find solutions that will get struggling students back on track.

Although there is a need to make the grade policy clear, please do not focus your energies on grades. Learning and intellectual growth are what counts!

Oops! I missed a requirement! What do I do now?

You will have to make up this lost work in order to remain in good standing in the Honors Program. See the Director immediately.

What happens if I take a leave of absence?

Contact the Director before you go on leave and before your return. If you an in good standing, your Honors program is imply put "on hold" until your return.

Can I go part-time and remain in the Honors Program?

The Honors Program requires that you attend as a full-time student. This means that you must maintain a three- or four-course load each semester.

Can I take my Honors requirements outside of Simmons?

No. Your Honors requirements must be fulfilled at Simmons, or while you are on a Simmons travel course.

What if I want to graduate early?

The Director can help you to plan in advance how you will meet the four years of requirements. You should make an appointment to discuss this with the Director in the spring of your sophomore year, or fall of junior year, at the latest.

What if I'm in a five-year undergraduate-to-graduate program at Simmons?

Your fourth-year project can be completed in a graduate level course (400 and higher). See the Director to work our any details.

Will there be a notation in my diploma?

No. Simmons does not add notations on diplomas. The Honors Program will present you with a Certificate of Completion, and naturally, your Honors studies will make an appealing addition to your resume.

How will I be recognized at graduation?

Your work in the Honors Program will be indicated in the Graduation Program. In addition, you will wear the royal blue and white Honors Program cords (Honors cords are distributed to graduating seniors by Honors Program faculty a few days before the commencement ceremony).

Are there financial benefits to participation in the Honors Program?

The Honors Program is not primarily a scholarship opportunity; it is an academic program designed to enrich undergraduate education. Therefore, financial benefits are primarily indirect. That is, Honors courses have funds to take students to cultural events, conferences, and group activities. As an Honors student, you can expect a book award, which is placed on your Fenway card and can be used in the college bookstore. Look for it in late August. The book award is not guaranteed.

Will I have to pay for short-term courses?

The tuition for Simmons short-term courses is included in your payment for all spring semester courses. It is not extra. However, you will have to pick up the costs of travel, food, and personal expenses abroad. These will vary according to country. There are several Simmons-based scholarships to help you with these additional costs. See the Director in September for more information.

What should I do if I am having trouble in a course?

The most important first step is to face the difficulty head-on as soon as it emerges. Seek help from your instructor immediately. If tutoring is an option, seek out your tutor, make clear meeting times, and prepare for your tutoring sessions.

What are common pitfalls for Honors students in academic trouble?

Generally, Honors students have not had academic difficulty in high school, so they may have trouble recognizing or respond to it in college. The most common mistake is to pretend it is not happening and that one can "fix it" by studying more. This tactic can get in the way of real progress. Other behaviors that always lead to more problems include: missing class, avoiding the instructor, and not meeting deadlines.

What happens if I do not meet the required cumulative GPA?

First-year students are permitted an adjustment period. They must maintain a 3.2 GPA for their first year of work. All other Honors students must maintain the 3.4 cumulative GPA each semester. If you fail to do so, you will receive a letter of dismissal from the Honors Program. Additionally, students must receive a B or better on their senior project to graduate in the Honors Program.

What if I had particular reasons for my academic difficulties?

If dismissed from the Program, you may appeal your dismissal to the Honors Executive Board. This Board includes the Director of Honors, the Dean of CAS, and a third administrator, depending upon the student's specific case.

I want to appeal. What do I do?

As soon as you receive your letter of dismissal, email the Director to alert her that you are intending to appeal. Within two weeks, submit your appeal to the Executive Board in care of the Director. You may email your appeal, but make sure to send a hard copy as well. You do not need to send more than one copy; the Director makes copies and distributes them to all members of the Board.

What actions might the Board take?

The Board will either deny your appeal or reinstate you to the Honors Program. If the Board denies the appeal, your dismissal remains intact. If you are reinstated, you are brought back into the Program on a a one-semester probation. You must reach the cumulative 3.4 GPA and maintain it for the remaining years in the Program.

What if I am dismissed?

You leave Honors, but remain a student at Simmons College.

How can I find out about Honors Activities?

The Honors Program has an online community, or "group," on the MySimmons Portal. Subscribe to the Honors Group to receive the latest announcements about activities. Most activities are also posted on the Honors bulletin board at our office suite: C-313.

Can I view postings on the Honors Group at MySimmons but opt out of the automatic emails?

Yes. You'll still need to subscribe to the Group. Click on "Manage Subscription" when you are signed-on. We understand you may experience a deluge of emails from various groups on campus. Keep in mind that the Honors Group is the fastest and easiest way for the Honors Program to reach out to our student community. If you opt-out of the emails and don't check the Group regularly, you could miss out on exciting activities or useful information.

Where's Mary Jane?

If you're on-campus and need to speak with Honors Director, Mary Jane Treacy, the best way is to sign-up for an appointment (half-hour slots). The sign-up sheet is posted on her office door (C-313C).
You can also reach the director by phone, 617-521-2233 or email, maryjane.treacy@simmons.edu.

Contact Us

Dr. Mary Jane Treacy, Honors Program Director
MCB E-104C

Matt Allen, Administrative Assistant

Honors Office
MCB E-104

Office open M-F, 8:30am-4:30pm

Apply to Honors

Admission to the Honors Program is highly selective. The Program is designed for students with strong analytical and writing skills. Most students enter as Freshman, though exceptional sophmores, Dix, and Transfer students may be invited to apply as well (see below for details). Students who have excellent academic records and who are eager for intellectual challenge are encouraged to apply.

Choose one of the following methods to start your application:

The Honors Application is also part of the Simmons Online Application, so you can complete it when you apply to Simmons.

Freshman entry

Interested students should complete the application for the Honors Program (online or via mail), and submit it to the Admission Office. An Honors Steering Committee reviews each application and selects the entering class. The application deadline for the Honors Program is February 1st.

Please submit 2 essays answering these prompts:

  • I. Honors students at Simmons often take an active role in student government and organizations, including the student newspaper, the Simmons Voice. Write the lead editorial for the Voice on an issue of local, national, or global importance in 350 - 400 words.
  • II. Think about the books you have read during your high school years (inside and outside of the classroom); rank the three best in order. Explain the reason for your top selection.

Students should submit these as one document via email to ugadm@simmons.edu with the subject line "Honors Application." On each page of the document please include your full name and date of birth.

Sophomore entry

We have set aside 10-15 slots per year for Simmons students who wish to join the Honors Program in their sophomore year. Each January, a letter is sent to first-year students who have a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or better, inviting their application to the Program. Applications are due the first week of April and a decision is reached before the end of registration period for the fall semester.

Transfer and Dix Scholars

Generally, transfer students and Dix scholars who have fewer than 40 credits will benefit most from the Honors curriculum.

For more information, please call Professor Mary Jane Treacy, director of the Honors Program, at 617-521-2233.