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Austin E. Knowlton Honors Program

First-Year Honors Program and Interdisciplinary Honors Minor

The Austin E. Knowlton Honors Program is a special academic opportunity for high-achieving students. It is a carefully planned sequence of interdisciplinary first-year honors courses plus an option for an interdisciplinary honors minor.

Students admitted into the honors program take a First-Year Honors (FYH) class each semester during the first year at Augustana. These two classes replace the First-Year Inquiry (FYI) classes required of all students.

In the honors classes, students and faculty use ideas from many different fields to address challenging topics, form new ideas and discussions, address issues using different perspectives, and solve problems in new ways. 

If you are an intellectually curious, highly motivated student, First-Year Honors is a great way to start your college career. You will take part in seriously fun discussions, read thought-provoking texts, and advance your reading and writing skills in ways that will impact any major you choose. 

    What is First-Year Honors?

    First-year honors (FYH) courses:

    • Take the place of First-Year Inquiry (FYI) courses required for all students
    • Develop communication and critical thinking skills
    • Offer an exceptional foundation for a college education and future career
    • Connect students with engaged mentors
    • Involve a special sense of community

    Any incoming first-year student interested in FYH visits campus and interviews with a professor. The interviews are friendly and relaxed, last about half an hour and involve discussion on what you like to read, write and think about. Find out how to apply below.

    What is the Interdisciplinary Honors Minor?

    The 16-credit honors minor: 

    • Consists of four courses plus a capstone project
    • Focuses on critical analysis, reflective writing and research 
    • Interconnects topics from across the liberal arts
    • Is team-taught by professors from different fields
    • Enriches all majors, supports any career, and stands out on a résumé

    Any first-year student with a B+ or higher in first-semester courses (either FYH or FYI) or transfer student with a B+ or higher in an equivalent first-semester class may apply for the interdisciplinary honors minor. Talk with your first-year or transfer advisor about how to apply.

    Browse through course descriptions for the interdisciplinary honors minor beginning in 2020. 

    How to apply for First-Year Honors

    Step 1. Tell us you’re interested.
    Make sure your admissions counselor knows you are interested in FYH instead of FYI. The admissions committee also may identify you as a potential honors student.

    Step 2. Register for an honors interview and submit a writing sample.
    All accepted first-year students are eligible to interview for FYH. For the writing sample, please tell us about a book, preferably not one assigned in a class, that has had a profound impact on your life or way of thinking. How did this book contribute to some change in your outlook? (1-2 pages, double-spaced).

    Step 3. Interview on campus.
    Admission to the program is competitive, and the on-campus interview is integral to the application process. Interviews are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. It’s a good idea to apply as early as possible. The deadline to apply is one week before the event you plan to attend, or until registrations are full.

    International students and students who live more than five hours away also have the option to interview by phone or by Skype. 

    Interview dates for 2020

    Friday, Feb. 7

    Saturday, Feb. 8 (after the Departmental Open House and Scholarship Competition)

    Monday, March 16

    Monday, March 23 in the Chicagoland Lombard Office ONLY

    Friday, April 3

    Friday, April 17

    About Austin E. Knowlton

    A lifelong resident of Ohio, Austin E. “Dutch” Knowlton was a successful businessman, avid sportsman and philanthropist. He established the Austin E. Knowlton Foundation. One of the primary purposes of the foundation is to advance higher education. Augustana College is one institution to benefit from the generosity of this philanthropist.