Honors Program

The University of Minnesota Crookston Honors Program was developed to inspire & transform students’ writing, critical thinking, and leadership skills.  Students will be nurtured and challenged to explore ideas, assess values and develop leadership skills. Honors coursework will address the diverse and global atmosphere in which we live. In addition, students in the Honors Program will have the opportunity for various social outings outside of the normal campus experience. 

Honors Program Quick Facts (PDF)

Program Requirements & Curriculum

Program Requirements & Curriculum

Honors students working on a project in the Prairie Room.The program requires 15 credits based on when students enter the program. The final requirements include an honors proposal course that culminates in an honors essay, research or creative project that requires a public defense.

Honors Program Core (6 credits)

HON 1010: Honors Symposium
(2 cr.; Student Option; Every Fall & Spring) 
Foundation for honors program. Independent thinking, writing, discussion, leadership, research skills within a global perspective. Critical thinking skills will be emphasized throughout the course. prereq: Admitted to honors or approval of instructor

HON 4010: Proposal for Honors Essay, Research or Creative Project
(1 cr.; Student Option; Every Fall & Spring)
Frequent meetings with academic adviser and director of honors to develop honors project proposal to fulfill final honors program requirements. prereq: 1010, consent of [project adviser, director of honors]

HON 4030: Honors Essay, Research or Creative Project
 (3 cr. [max 6 cr.]; Student Option; Every Fall, Spring & Summer)
Guides student through process of research/ preparation of documentation for dissemination at public defense. Discipline-specific work supervised by adviser to develop an original essay, research, or creative project. prereq: 4010, approval of [departmental head, director of honors]

Honors Program Electives (need 9 credits)

HON 3000: Global Leadership Seminar
(3 cr. [max 6 cr.]; Student Option; Periodic Spring)
Interdisciplinary approach to current local/global issues. Leadership development in foreign location. International travel for 3 to 4 weeks. Presentation to campus community. prereq: Instructor consent.

HON 3010: Honors Option
(1 cr. [max 6 cr.]; Student Option; Every Fall, Spring & Summer)
Students work with faculty member to develop extracurricular activity/project conducted concurrently with regular coursework. Coursework beyond scope of regular course. prereq: 1010, instructor consent

HON 3030: Honors Contract
(1 cr. [max 6 cr.]; Student Option; Every Fall, Spring & Summer)
Students work with faculty sponsor to organize group that discusses common reading. Students encouraged to take advantage of colloquia offered on campus. prereq: 1010, instructor consent

BIOL 1009H Honors: General Biology
(4 cr. ; Student Option; Every Fall & Spring)
Quantitative methods used to emphasize the dynamic nature of biology. Modern biology. Molecular structure of living things, energy recruitment/utilization, flow of genetic information through organisms/populations. Principles of inheritance, ecology, and evolution. Includes lab. prereq: High school chemistry or consent of instructor

COMP 1011H. Honors: Composition I
(3 cr.; Student Option; Every Fall)
Process of clear, concrete and convincing writing. Generation and discovery of subjects, revisions, editing. prereq: Admittance in the Honors Program

COMP 1013H. Honors: Composition II
(3 cr.; Student Option; Every Spring)
Writing summaries, writing to synthesize material from several sources, evaluating readings and other materials, research writing prereq: [1011 or 1011H], admittance to Honors Program

COMM 3001: Human Relationships and Leadership
(3 cr.; Student Option; Every Fall)
Anti-relational/relational communication, interpersonal/group processes, conflict management, collaboration, team building, and leadership.

BIOL 3994: Undergraduate Research
(1-3 credits)
Advanced independent work in special fields.

CHEM 3994: Undergraduate Research
(1-3 credits)
Advanced independent work in special fields.

GnEd 2000 - Global Study
(repeatable up to 6 credits)
Interdisciplinary approach to a specific culture and its current local/global issues. Required international travel for one to three weeks, led by a faculty member.

GnEd 3000 - Global Seminar
(repeatable up to 6 credits)
Interdisciplinary approach to a specific culture and its current local/global issues. In-depth experiences in a discipline area of student's choice. Required international travel for one to three weeks, led by a faculty member.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Soo-Yin Lim-Thompson talking to an honors student.Who is eligible to participate? 
The Honors Program is open to incoming freshman students by invitation after review by the Honors committee. Selection is based on several factors that include but are not limited to the following: high school rank, grade point average, rigor of high school coursework and SAT/ACT scores. Other academically successful students (e.g., transfer or other advanced students, Alpha Lambda Delta inductees) are also welcome to join the program.

Honors Thesis Projects

Honors Thesis Projects

Ndidiamaka Kerr speaking in Bede Ballroom

“Sustainable Development and The Bahamas”

Ndidiamaka Kerr, Nassau, The Bahamas
Subject Matter Expert: Dan Svedarsky, Ph.D.
Spring 2016

One of the many definitions for sustainable development is, “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Weaver, 2006). Sustainable development is important for numerous reasons including preventing climate change, improving public health, increasing economic development, and reducing pollution. As well as embracing the positive social, economic, and environmental benefits that come along with it. The goal of sustainable development is to ensure that resources are conserved and used effectively to improve the environment while simultaneously satisfying the needs of all those who live in that environment. The Bahamas is an archipelago of small island states located in the Atlantic Ocean. Sustainable development is important for this country because in addition to it solely consisting of small island states, it is also a developing country. Making The Bahamas more sustainable would help to protect and ensure the country’s ability to survive tomorrow, today. In addition to this, the effects of unsustainable development, such as climate change, will have a bigger impact on Caribbean small-island developing states like the islands of The Bahamas than they would a developed country. The purpose of this project is to explore sustainable alternatives which can be implemented to make The Bahamas more sustainable, focusing specifically on the environmental impacts of sustainable and unsustainable development.

“Evaluation of Exercise Related Stress in School Horses”

Alyssa Newburg, Maple Grove, MN
Subject Matter Expert: Abdorrahman Alghamdi, Ph.D.
Spring 2016

Workload and use frequency of horses in equine riding programs at universities have not been systematically investigated. Instructors must consider the needs of students and horses as well as the summer detraining going into fall semester. Therefore, horses are used for 1-2 rides a day based on subjective measures to avoid overtraining/injuries, but underuse can increase operational cost. The goal of this study was to assess the physiological and physical stress in the riding horses at the University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC). In consultation with the coaches, the semester was divided into 4 stages of increasing intensities. During each stage, all six classes (Western, Advanced Western, Saddle Seat, Hunt Seat, Dressage, and Team Practice) were video-taped to determine the type and duration of gaits used. In three of these classes, vital signs, lactate, and cortisol were also evaluated before each session, at the end, and at 10-minute intervals until they returned to resting values. The average riding session was 50 (42-61) minutes, but 81% (74-87) of that time was spent standing or walking. Saddle Seat, Dressage, and the Team Practice had the longest trot and canter time, but still averaged ≤ 12 minutes. At the end of the session, vital signs for most horses were at/near resting values, and the others returned to normal within 10-20 minutes. Cortisol tended to be slightly higher than resting values before the session, but declined to/near resting values by the end or within 20 minutes thereafter. Only stages 1 and 2 of Team Practice and stage 2 of Dressage deviated from this trend where cortisol was lower at the beginning, increased by the end, and returned to normal 20 minutes later. These results can help establish a more objective means in deciding horse use frequency and guide the conditioning process after summer detraining.

"Effects of Aromatase Inhibition on Estrogen Levels in the Brain of the Fathead Minnow"

Julia Rinn, International Falls, MN
Subject Matter Expert: Anthony Schroeder, Ph.D.
Spring 2016

The topic that I chose to work on for my thesis works to explore the effects that aromatase inhibitors have on the production of estrogen within the bodies of fathead minnows. Aromatase inhibitors are drugs that prevent the enzyme aromatase from working properly. Aromatase is an enzyme that is responsible for the production of hormones such as estrogen in the brain and the gonads. The drug that I was particularly interested in was Letrozole, which is a medication used for chemotherapy for women who have breast cancer. Drugs such as Letrozole are excreted and passed into the water supply. Today’s water treatment plants are not equipped to remove these chemicals from the water, which means that traces of medications such as Letrozole remain in the aquatic systems. As a result, aquatic species, such as fathead minnows are exposed to drugs that inhibit their aromatase enzymes, and cause less estrogen to be produced by their bodies. This leads to the reduction of reproductive success, and results in smaller or nonexistent broods of this type of fish. Fathead minnows are only one example of species that are affected by drugs used by humans that end up in aquatic systems. The main part of the fish that I focused on for this project was the brain and the pituitary gland, which are two of the most important organs when it comes to estrogen production, along with the gonads. The specific genes that I focused on where the CYP genes, which are a group of genes that produce enzymes that help synthesize and break down hormones within the body, specifically estrogen. It is well known what happens when aromatase is inhibited in the gonads, but very little is known about what happens if aromatase is inhibited in the brain. In this particular study, I focused on fathead minnows, because they are easy to study, and because there already were brain and pituitary gland samples available from the EPA that I could use for the project. I worked on this project with Dr. Anthony Schroeder, Ph.D., from the University of Minnesota, Crookston, who helped me gain access to the University of North Dakota lab space, since UMC did not have all of the equipment required to complete this project. We spend several days at UND working on homogenizing the frozen tissues and isolating RNA, DNA, and proteins from the fathead minnow brains. We were able to isolate good amounts of RNA for upcoming analysis for the CYP genes (in particular CYP19), to see if aromatase inhibition in the brain has a significant impact on the production of estrogen in the body, and in turn, on reproductive success. This project has great promise for the discovery of important impacts that the human contamination of waterways has on aquatic species. We believe that there will be a significant impact on reproductive success for fathead minnows due to drugs such as Letrozole, which means that many more species could also be affected within the aquatic environment. In addition, some land animals may be affected by the passing of these types of chemotherapy drugs, providing more opportunity for research into this issue of whether drugs such as Letrozole have an impact that is even larger than we anticipated. Of course, there are many other drugs that are able to impact wildlife as well, such as birth control medications (through excrement as well), and more research could be conducted to find out how different drugs can affect wildlife in all types of habitats, and what the impact is for the food web and the ripple effects contamination by medications can have on whole ecosystems.

“The Mystery of Mental Health: Rising Prevalence Among College Students”

Kathryn Sheetz, Grand Rapids, MN
Subject Matter Expert: Tim Menard, M.A.
Spring 2016

Mental health can often be a mystery as the two short words, when combined, encompass a vast number of topics. Mental health is a state of well-being, where an individual is physically, socially, and emotionally balanced. Mental illness can further be defined as a condition that affects some or all of these factors. The differentiation between the two terms is separated by what is viewed as normal behavior. While “normal behavior” seems straightforward, the term itself can convey multiple definitions between genders, races, and cultures of people. So, what is normal in relation to mental health? This work will address the issue of normality along with some of the other mysteries of mental health including source of stigma, genetic and environmental contributions, and common misconceptions. Part of this project also includes mental health survey that was created for students attending the University of Minnesota Crookston to gauge the overall mental health of the student body.

Honors Excursions

Honors Excursions

Honors Program Students on an excursion to the Nutcracker

Each semester, the Honors Program sponsors several Honors Excursions. Honors Excursions are field trips or other extra-curricular opportunities that support the mission of the UMC Honors Program. Honors Excursions are free for Honors students.

In the past several years, Honors students have attended the films Steve Jobs (2015) and Sully (2016), a live performance of “The Great Russian Nutcracker” ballet, a live performance of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Buffalo Wild Wings Trivia Night, and other events throughout the state of Minnesota. Excursions help students connect with each other and reflect on themes and experiences relevant to the mission of the UMC Honors Program.

Honors Sponsored Campus Events

Honors Sponsored Campus Events

UMC Honors Students during events happening in honor of Gandhi

The Honors Program often sponsors or co-sponsors speakers and other campus events. Each year, the Honors Program co-sponsors a day of campus events in observance of the International Day of Nonviolence, which was established by the United Nations to commemorate the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi.

In the past, the Honors Program co-sponsored campus presentations by Grammy Award winning musician Mike Ferris and four-time World Series champion Darryl Strawberry.

Honors students help plan and execute these events, which give the students unique opportunities to study leadership, ponder global problems, and network with speakers, scholars, and accomplished professionals working in a variety of fields.

Honors Program brought in a program featuring Darryl Strawberry.

Honors Program Committee

Honors Program Committee


Eddie Walker II

Committee Members

Leslie Lekatz

Leslie Lekatz, Agriculture and Natural Resources Department

Rachel McCoppin

Rachel McCoppin, Liberal Arts and Education Department

Craig Miller

Craig MillerBusiness Department

Anthony SchroederMath, Science and Technology Department

Student Representatives

Summer Billings, Student Representative
Maddy Witt, Student Representative

The UMC Advantage

The UMC Advantage

Small Campus. Big Degree.

Did you know a degree from the University of Minnesota is recognized all over the world? True story. As a system campus of the University of Minnesota system, the U of M Crookston offers access to world-class teaching, learning, and research resources—all in a smaller, more personal campus setting that’s very much like a private school. The University of Minnesota is internationally recognized and respected by not only intellectuals and academic movers and shakers, but major employers who want to hire the best and brightest—namely, you.

Learning and Doing

At the U of M Crookston, you won’t spend all your time behind a desk. Our curriculum is designed around experiential learning, which means we want you to have as much hands-on learning as possible. Depending on your major, you’ll find opportunities to be in the field, the lab, the classroom, or engaging in simulated scenarios that give you a competitive edge when you enter the workforce or head to grad school. You’ll learn the concepts and then actively apply them through projects, field trips, site visits, internships, and interactions with professionals in the field.

Caring Faculty and Staff

Our faculty and staff members are respected not only for their knowledge and skills, but also because they care about you as an individual. They serve as true mentors, offering personalized attention through small class sizes, a student-faculty ratio of 16:1, and by working closely with you as advisors. They take the time to welcome you to the UMC community, watch you grow as a leader and scholar, and help you connect with alumni and other experts.

A Technology-Rich Environment

At the U of M Crookston, we offer every student a laptop computer from day one. Everyone is tech-savvy, wi-fi is everywhere and learning happens in many ways, including simulations, applications and video presentations. It’s a virtual tech-topia! So, when you graduate, you’ll have all the latest technology skills, giving you a competitive edge. Employers consistently report the UMC graduates they hire are their “go to” people for technology and are well prepared for the demands of today’s technological workplace.

Internships, Job Placement and Grad School

More than 87% of U of M Crookston graduates gain full-time employment in their field or enroll in graduate or professional school within one year of graduation. That’s a fact. We’ll sure miss you when you graduate, but we know as a proud Golden Eagle alum, you’ll want to come back to cheer us on at homecoming or catch up with your favorite professors.

Internships. They’re a great way to earn college credit, add to your resume and help answer the question, “is this really what I want to do?” You can find internship opportunities with everyone from the business down the street to Fortune 500 companies. Or maybe grad school is in your future. U of M Crookston students get the educational requirements and resources they need to apply to an array of graduate programs from veterinary science to med school to an MBA program. Many go on for more education in a variety of other fields.

Opportunities for undergraduate research also add real value to your educational experience by allowing you to design and conduct research while working alongside faculty mentors. Research experience is especially helpful if you plan to attend graduate school.

One-Rate Tuition and Scholarship Options

Whether you live in Minnesota, just across the border, across the country, or on the other side of the ocean, you pay the same tuition rate, and the U of M Crookston’s tuition rate is a real value because it’s the lowest of the five campuses that make up the U of M system. Additionally, with merit-based scholarships guaranteed based on GPA and ACT scores and more than 300 specialty scholarships, we really do help make college affordable.

Leadership, Clubs and Athletics

Sure, college is about classes, studying, and research, but another important part of the experience involves professional development, creativity, leadership, and service. And let’s not forget about fun! With more than 40 student clubs and organizations, there’s something for every interest. Best of all, if you can’t find something from the existing list, grab a few friends and start a new club. It’s really just that easy…

In athletics, Golden Eagles shake things up on the court, the field, and on the sidelines. The U of M Crookston competes at the NCAA Division II level in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) as well as the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) and offers a full range of men’s and women’s athletic programs.

A Diverse, Global Experience

The world really is a small place, and at U of M Crookston we value diversity. Our students bring rich experiences spanning six continents, and more than 20 countries and 40 states! We value diversity because it not only helps you better understand the world, it helps you understand yourself and how your piece fits into the puzzle of global society. Get involved in the many multicultural and international programs on campus, and you’ll see how easy it is to make friends from across the world.

Or choose one of our international programs. Study, intern, volunteer, play, explore – here or anywhere. Take your pick from more than 300 options in 67 countries. Don’t just learn it, live it.

On-Campus Faculty

On-Campus Faculty

Assistant Professor, Honors Program Coordinator
(218) 281-8251
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