Engaged Learning & Research
The Honors College’s cutting-edge curriculum emphasizes learning beyond the traditional classroom. Our students work individually and collaboratively, within and across disciplines, developing the skills necessary to become leaders who will make a difference in their communities and in the world.
Honors students are expected to be actively engaged in the Honors College and throughout the University and the Richmond community. The Honors College provides many ideas about ways to engage, but students also have the opportunity to define their engagement experience. Honors engagement is the key to receiving the highest consideration for Honors-designated scholarships, study abroad, internships, events with alumni, the Honors Summer Undergraduate Research Program and other special opportunities.
Engagement is categorized into five main areas: experiential learning, professional development, leadership, community engagement and diversity and inclusion. The Honors College faculty and staff expect students to not only attend events but also to be model citizens and audience members. This includes not using cell phones or any other electronic devices while presenters are speaking. When an Honors College staff member is not available to record your attendance at an event, you are responsible for truthfully recording your participation via the Honors College Engagement and Event Verification Form.
Honors students get hands-on research experience with faculty mentors, including opportunities to participate in the Honors College’s Freshman Research Institute and the Honors Summer Undergraduate Research Program. Our students are encouraged to present their research on and off campus, including at professional conferences. VCU Honors College students are heavily represented at the annual National Council on Undergraduate Research Conference.
Learn more and apply for Freshman Research Institute (applications have closed for 2017) here.
Learn more about HSURP (applications have closed for 2017) here.
Learn more about VCU's undergraduate research opportunities here.
The Honors College provides support for our students who present their research at regional, national and international academic meetings. Participation at these conferences provides an opportunity for you to communicate your research to others in your field, network with undergraduate researchers and faculty, and expand your understanding of your field of research. To be eligible for a travel grant, you must present your research in either a poster or oral presentation, your name must appear in the conference abstract or proceedings, and VCU and the Honors College must be acknowledged.
The Honors College, in partnership with VCU Career Services, offers a series of guidance sessions to help students plan for their post-graduation future. These events – which include refreshments – are tailored to Honors students and are also open to all undergraduates.
The sessions for Fall 2017 are:
September 12: Pathfinders: What Major & Career Fits Me Best? at 3:30 p.m., Honors College Multipurpose Room 1303
October 4: Graduate School Demystified: Figuring Out If It’s Right for Me at 11 a.m.-12 p.m. in the University Student Commons Forum Room AND 3 p.m. in Honors College Room 1302
October 24: More Than a Transcript, More Than a Grade: How to Standing Out to Employers at 4 p.m., Honors College Multipurpose Room 1303
November 1: Employer Reception before the VCU Experiential Learning Fair, 11 a.m.-12 p.m.in University Student Commons James River Terrace (open to Honors students only)
Honors students are encouraged to give back to their community through community service. Our required first-year community engagement class provides our students with an understanding of what successful community engagement looks like and an introduction to opportunities to make a difference in the Richmond area. Students take advantage of options provided through the Honors College but also create their own opportunities to give back to the community.
If you are looking for somewhere to volunteer, HandsOn Greater Richmond is the perfect place to start, with listings for one-time to more regularly scheduled opportunities.
On Saturday, September 23, our first-year Honors students participated in Give a Day RVA: VCU Edition, a day of service.
The Honors College strongly encourages its students to study abroad. Honors students are eligible to participate in the full range of study-abroad programs offered by VCU and many programs offered outside of the university. In addition, the Honors College has created its own study-abroad programs that are only offered to our students. Over the last two years, the Honors College has offered opportunities for its students to study in Spain, Italy, Bolivia and Northern Ireland.
Students who study abroad in a regular semester (fall or spring) may earn three credits towards the requirements for graduating with University Honors. The credits are not attached to a given course, but rather are awarded for completion of activities related to the study-abroad experience as listed below. Before traveling abroad, students must inform the Honors College of their travel plans [Google form] and their interest in receiving three credits towards the requirements for graduating with University Honors.
- Develop, maintain and publish a blog during the study-abroad experience. Entries should be extensive and include photographs. Blogs must be updated no less than twice a month.
- Complete a three-to-five-page paper in which you compare and contrast the educational system in your host country with the U.S. educational system.
- Complete a 15-20-minute presentation during the Honors College Study Abroad Fair or other approved event the semester after you return to Richmond. Your presentation should include educational, cultural, and social experiences in your international location; a comparison of your international campus & campus life and VCU’s campus & campus life; and images that reflect your experiences of both the places you visited and the people you met. (You may use PowerPoint, Prezi, etc.)
Students must meet with their Honors advisor prior to their study-abroad experience to discuss these requirements. When you return to Richmond, make an appointment to meet with the Honors College academic affairs coordinator to submit your materials and plan your presentation.
Located within the Honors College, VCU's National Scholarship Office recruits and prepares Honors students (and others) who are applying for (inter)nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships. Many of these awards will help Honors students and recent alumni pursue opportunities to study abroad or attend graduate school.