Defining: Introduction

The First-Year Writing Program is the foundation of Honors coursework. We also offer freshmen a unique opportunity to explore two specific areas relevant to every student: wellness and community engagement. 

First-Year Writing Program

Most Honors students enter college with significant writing experiences. We want to build on those skills, working toward a true understanding of the critical thinking and reflection that must be a part of writing targeted toward professional audiences. Our program consists of two courses that help students reach those goals. The HONR 200 Rhetoric course helps students understand how professional researchers approach their work. Students learn the fundamentals of scholarly research as well as the critical thinking that must be a part of serious discovery. The HONR 250 Expository Writing course gives student the opportunity to respond to the world around them in thoughtful and critical ways that require them to engage their own ideas with the thinking of others. These courses, in tandem, help Honors students develop their own voices while understanding the professional expectations in a variety of rhetorical situations.


College is a time for growth and exploration, but can also be a time of intense pressure and stress. Every student needs to pay attention to self-care. With our new first-year course requirement, developed by Dr. Danielle Dick (VCU Psychology) and Dr. Bela Sood (VCU Psychiatry), the Honors College promotes wellness and an environment in which students can thrive. Appropriately, this class is called HONR 150: Flourishing.  

Community Engagement

College is also a time to consider how you will contribute to society and make a difference, no matter your major. The VCU Honors community is comprised of students who have the capacity to do exceptionally well, but perhaps more importantly, every student in the Honors community has the capacity to do good. Offered in partnership with the VCU Division of Community Engagement, HONR 160: Introduction to Community Engagement requires all entering freshmen to consider their roles in society and serves as a foundation for the contributions they will make as honors students and as citizens.