The Honors Program offers academically talented undergraduates on the Tennessee campus an opportunity to enhance their University experience through creative coursework, regional cultural events, and association with a small group of outstanding students. Participants enjoy a rich and rigorous educational experience that provides excellent preparation for graduate school or seminary. Incoming freshmen and rising sophomores who meet the requirements may apply for admission to the program, which begins every fall and spring term.

Admission requirements include:

  • Cumulative grade point average of 3.6 or higher (all applicants)
  • ACT score of 27 or higher or SAT score of 1290 or higher (incoming freshmen)
  • Placement in upper 10% of high school graduating class (incoming freshmen)
  • Three letters of reference – with an academic focus (all applicants)


Students enrolled in the Honors Program receive academic, social, and practical benefits, including:

  • Special courses and optional minors
  • Honors recognition on diplomas and transcripts
  • HP Wednesday Chapel Groups
  • Off-campus events each academic year
  • Annual HP reception
  • Extra work-study opportunities
  • Early registration
  • Waiver of extra charges for a term overload
  • Waiver of extra charges for a course audit
  • The camaraderie of program membership

Off-campus cultural experiences include the theater, ballet, symphony, literary events, and conferences. Honors students must attend at least three performances or events distributed over Fall and Spring Terms each academic year. The University pays admission fees and arranges group transportation. Students are welcome to participate in more than the required number of group field trips, but must pay their own admission for extra ticketed events. In addition to special events, students visit regional museums or sites that have historic, cultural, or scientific significance. Examples include the Abbey of Gethsemani, the American Museum of Science and Energy, the East Tennessee Historical Center, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Academic Elements

Like other baccalaureate students, Honors Program participants must complete the Arts & Sciences Core, the Bible & Theology Core, and at least one professional major or minor. All Honors Program members complete the following three academic requirements:

(1) Complete at least 9 credits from Arts and Sciences Core courses in Honors sections. The Johnson University course schedule will note which section is an Honors Program Section. Possible options include:

  • History of Christianity (3)
  • Philosophical Ethics (3)
  • English Composition II (3)
  • First-Year Bridge Course (1)
  • History Integrative Elective (3)
  • Humanities Integrative Elective (3)
  • Sciences Integrative Elective (3-4)
  • Exploration Course (1)

(2) Complete either Cultural Anthropology (3) or Urban Anthropology in place of Encountering Cultures: City as Text (3).

(3) Complete Spiritual Formation (3) in place of one semester of Chapel.

Program members also participate in Wednesday HP Chapel Groups in at least three semesters. These small groups read and discuss important books that combine academic issues with worship.

Honors Program students may pursue any of Johnson University’s undergraduate professional majors or minors. They also have the option of designing a customized pre-seminary or pre-graduate school minor(s) with a focus in History, Literature, or Religious Studies. Each minor requires a total of 18 credit hours, or six courses in any one of these areas of study. Students work with the HP coordinator, the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, and faculty subject matter experts to design the minor and select appropriate courses.

For more information, including admission requirements to the program, review our academic catalog or contact Dr. Gerald Mattingly, director of the Honors Program.