Core and Graduation Requirements

Pre- 2015 Requirements Overview

The following information applies to students who entered the Honors College prior to Fall 2015.
All students must successfully complete 120 credits to graduate. Of these, 36-40 credits are in the Honors Core. The Honors Core is devoted to obtaining a broad-based education in the liberal arts and sciences through courses that emphasize critical thinking and writing skills. These courses introduce students to ways of thinking about science, politics, history, ethics, culture, visual images, and literature. Some of these courses serve as introductions to a specific discipline. Others approach problems and themes in ways that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries. In addition, students take 26-43 credits of other graduation requirements, as well as a thesis, study abroad or internship, and coursework in the concentration.

Check with the Office of the Dean in the Honors College and the FAU catalog to confirm College and University graduation requirements and policies.

Transfer students with an A.A. degree need only satisfy the non-core graduation requirements. For all other transfer students, transfer credits can satisfy Core requirements if the course number is identical to the number of the course satisfying the Honors College core, or if approved by the petitions committee.

Core Requirements:

  • Writing ( Four WAC-designated courses, 12 credits)
  • Writing Portfolio
  • Mathematics (6-8 credits, two courses)
  • Natural Sciences (6-8 credits, two courses)
  • Social and Behavioral Analysis (3 credits, one course)
  • Culture, Ideas, and Values (3 credits, one course)
  • Literature (3 credits, one course)
  • Arts (3 credits, one course)

Other Graduation Requirements:

Core Requirements


  • Writing ( Four WAC-designated courses, 12 credits)
  • Writing Portfolio

A list of WAC courses is available online.
One of the most important skills students acquire is the ability to communicate effectively. Clear writing is inseparable from clear and coherent thinking. Honors College courses are writing-intensive and provide guidance in researching, composing, editing, and revising papers. Students do substantial writing in different disciplines and in formats as diverse as essays, research papers, lab reports, and debate briefs. A senior Honors thesis or the written component of a senior Honors project will interweave the research, analytical, and writing skills acquired in the first three years.
As part of the Honors College s writing-intensive curriculum, students must take 4 Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) courses. WAC courses are discipline-based courses students may use to satisfy other core or concentration requirements but they are designated as WAC because they provide special attention to the writing and revision process. Students entering prior to Fall 2011 may elect to satisfy the writing requirement instead by completing three core writing courses, at least one of which must be a Writing in the Disciplines (WID) course; these students still must satisfy the state s requirement of 4 Gordon Rule writing courses. WAC courses satisfy the Gordon Rule requirement. ENC 1123 may count as one of the four WAC courses or three Core writing courses.

Writing Portfolio

All Honors College students will have a mid-career assessment of their writing at the end of their sophomore year. This involves assessment by a committee of faculty of a writing portfolio.
The writing portfolio consists of the student's Forum paper (which the Dean's office keeps on file), and at least ONE ESSAY THAT YOU SUBMIT TO THE DEAN'S OFFICE.

This essay must meet the following four requirements:

  1. It was written in your 1st or 2nd years at the Honors College;
  2. It should be a scholarly essay that demonstrates your ability to incorporate evidence from secondary sources and/or analyze a primary text;
  3. It should have your professor's comments on it, if possible;
  4. It should be at least five (5) pages in length.

If you do not turn in your writing portfolio by the deadline, your advisor will not lift your advising hold for the next registration period until you submit your portfolio.
The point of the writing portfolio is to ensure that you are prepared to write the Honors Thesis in your senior year. You will receive feedback indicating whether you are progressing at a level that indicates you will be ready to successfully complete an Honors Thesis in your senior year or whether you should do additional coursework in writing in your junior year in order to strengthen your writing before embarking on the thesis project.
The Honors College no longer requires a cover sheet to be submitted with your writing samples. Just be sure your name is on your submission.

Mathematics (6-8 credits, two courses)

One goal of the honors core is to help foster mathematical literacy. Mathematics is the languages of science and technology and increasingly of the social sciences. By virtue of its precision, mathematics allows a clear understanding of the world and our place within it. Indeed, important health and environmental issues (acid rain, water management, greenhouse effect) cannot be understood without mathematical literacy. By taking two courses in mathematics students will sharpen their critical thinking skills, learning to distinguish evidence from anecdote, and causality from correlation.

Natural Sciences (6-8 credits, two courses)

By taking two courses in two distinct disciplines within the natural sciences, students will gain an appreciation and understanding of the natural world as well as our place in it. At least one of these courses will include a laboratory section to give students hands-on experience and allow them to understand the meaning of science in both theory and practice.

Social and Behavioral Analysis (3 credits, one course)

The courses in social and behavioral analysis familiarize students with different approaches to the study of individual behavior and social institutions, and introduce them to some of the concepts and methods of the social sciences. The courses aim at an understanding of the reciprocal relations among people, societies and institutions, and encourage students to think critically and systematically about how these societies and institutions can best be arranged.

Culture, Ideas, and Values (3 credits, one course)

The courses in culture, ideas and values seek to help students understand and think critically about different value and belief systems across cultural and historical boundaries. Students will examine questions such as "what is the life worth living?", or "what is the basis for distinguishing knowledge from belief?" Some courses emphasize how these questions have been approached throughout history, others focus on how different cultures have addressed these questions, and some grapple with these questions without regard to their historical or cultural context. In any case, students will be asked to articulate, evaluate, and defend moral, aesthetic, or other value judgments, such as judgments about how one ought to live and claims about the validity of knowledge.

Literature (3 credits, one course)

Courses in literature are intended to develop students' ability to appreciate and understand literature, looking at texts in their historical and cultural contexts or examining themes, approaches, and generic conventions across time.

Arts (3 credits, one course)

Courses in arts are intended to develop students' ability to create and appreciate the arts in all of their forms, to enhance sensitivity to artistic expression and to increase familiarity with theories central to these forms. Courses may be structured historically, culturally (e.g., Chinese Art), or thematically.


Other Graduation Requirements

  • Distribution Electives (6 credits, two courses)
  • Foreign Language (8 credits, two courses)
  • Critical Inquiry Seminars (5-9 credits, three courses)
  • International and Environmental Studies (2-6 credits, two courses)
  • Internship or Study Abroad (3-12 credits)
  • Honors Forum (1 credit, one course)
  • Concentration with Honors Thesis (36-73 credits; students entering Fall 2005 or later must receive a "C" or higher in all courses counting towards concentration)
  • Academic Learning Compact (completion of thesis assessment form)
  • Additional University graduation requirements

Distribution Electives (6 credits, two courses)

Many students arrive at college unfamiliar with the specialized areas of study within the social sciences and humanities. Students have the opportunity to discover and explore these by taking two additional 'distribution electives'. While these may be courses that satisfy the Social and Behavioral Analysis, Culture, Ideas, and Values, or Literature and the Arts requirements, they may be courses from any two distinct disciplines, one within the social sciences and one within the humanities. Distribution courses may not be counted towards a primary concentration. These courses may not be used to satisfy other Core requirements.

Foreign Language (8 credits, two courses)

Learning foreign languages provides access to other cultures and worlds, to other ways of thinking. As this is an important objective of the Honors College, students are expected to take two courses in a language, and are encouraged to incorporate the study of language into a study abroad experience.

Critical Inquiry Seminars (5-9 credits, 3 courses)

Students take three Critical Inquiry Seminars. These seminars are specially designated one or three-credit team-taught courses that engage in interdisciplinary inquiry. At least one of the three courses must be a 3-credit course. The aim of these courses is to explore problems from a variety of perspectives and to reflect on the connections and shared concerns of scholars from distinct disciplines. For example, a psychology professor and a philosophy professor may team-teach a course on free will; or a political science professor and an anthropology professor may team-teach a course on indigenous religion and trans-nationalism in the Americas.Team-taught courses used to satisfy the critical inquiry seminar may not be used to satisfy other Core requirements but may satisfy the International and Environmental Study requirement or be used towards concentration requirements.

International and Environmental Studies
(2-6 credits, two courses)

Because of the increasingly global nature of contemporary issues and the increasing importance of addressing the effects of growth on our environment coupled with the unique resources available in Florida for exploring these areas of inquiry, we expect each student to take one course in international studies and one course in environmental studies. These may be courses used to satisfy Honors Core requirements.

Honors College Forum (1 credit, one course)

Students meet faculty and other leading scholars and artists who present their work and introduce the leading ideas and controversies in their areas of expertise. Students take this weekly one-credit seminar their first semester.

Internship (minimum 3 credits) or Study Abroad (minimum 5 weeks and 3 credits)

Further information is available online for study abroad, and for internships.

For students entering prior to 2009, there is an SLS requirement (a 1 credit SLS course).


Additional University Graduation Requirements:

Consult the FAU catalog for graduation requirements here (Note: Honors College students do not need to fulfill the 'Intellectual Foundations Program' requirement as they fulfill the Honors College Core requirement instead.)
Key requirements are:

Summer Credit Requirement (9 credits): Earn a minimum of 9 credits by attending one or more summer terms at either FAU or another university in the Florida State University System.  This requirement applies only to students admitted to FAU as freshmen or as transfer students with fewer than 60 credits (Florida Board of Governors Regulation 6.016)For those students enrolled before fall 2011, credits earned and transferred through the Advanced International Certificate in Education (AICE) Program, Advanced Placement (AP) Program, College Level Examination Program (CLEP), Dual Enrollment (DE) Program or International Baccalaureate (IB) Program may be applied toward the 9-credit summer requirement, thereby reducing students' summer credit requirement total.

120-credits to graduate. A minimum of 45 of these credits must be at the upper division (3000 or 4000-level). Earn the last 30 upper-division credits in residence at FAU.

Minimum G.P.A. requirement: Presently 2.0 for FAU. Freshmen who have a g.p.a. below 2.0 are on freshmen warning; a consecutive semester below 2.0 places them on probation; a third consecutive semester below 2.0 requires suspension. For all other students, a semester below 2.0 places them on probation, and a second consecutive semester below 2.0 requires suspension.

Non-Honors College courses:  No more than 15% of the credits taken to satisfy the 120-credit requirement, less AP, IB, and transfer credits, may be taken outside the Honors College without permission of the Dean. Students must, prior to the start of the course, get the approval of their advisor: a course will be approved only if it is not offered at the Honors College or if offered, it could not be taken because of a scheduling conflict.  Click here for further information.

Course Load: Full-time undergraduate students are those who are registered for 12 or more credits in the Fall or Spring terms. In the Summer term full-time is 6 credits or more in each of A, B, or C term. Students who drop courses during a semester and fall below these levels will be considered part-time and they may be risking scholarship, housing, and athletic eligibility


Associate of Arts Degree Requirements

  1. Students must earn 60 credits in academic courses acceptable toward the degree with at least a 2.0 cumulative FAU GPA.
  2. Earn a minimum of 40 of the 60 credits at the lower-division (1000-2000) level as indicated by the Statewide Course Numbering System designations or their equivalents.
  3. Students can apply no more than 30 credits of nontraditional credit toward the degree. This includes Advanced Placement, College Level Examination Program, and International Baccalaureate credits. Credits earned in this manner are transfer credits.
  4. Students must earn at least 30 credits in residence at the Honors College and complete the last semester in residence at the Honors College.
  5. Students must fulfill the Honors College Core/General Education requirements. This includes satisfying the Writing Across the Curriculum/Gordon Rule requirement, including ENC 1123 or its equivalent, the Gordon Rule computation requirements, and Forum. Students need not complete the international, environmental, Critical Inquiry Seminar, non-classroom learning, or foreign language requirements in order to receive an AA.
  6. Students must submit an Associate of Arts Degree application to the Honors College Director of Academic Support Services. Students cannot apply for an AA degree during a semester in which they are awarded a baccalaureate degree. Non-degree students and students who transfer with 40 or more credits may not apply for the A.A. degree at FAU. Additionally, students with an "I" (incomplete) grade on their transcripts may not apply for the A.A. degree until the "I" is removed.

Last Modified 11/8/16