The Honors Program is designed to encourage and serve students desiring a challenging academic program, embodying Bethel’s long-standing commitment to the integration of faith and learning. This program provides an educational experience that moves from a generalist emphasis in the first two years to a discipline-specific focus, in the field of the student’s choice, in the last two years. The program is designed to provide an enriched educational experience for students with exceptional academic ability, to create a social network for such students, to enhance their preparation for and admission to graduate school, as well as to enhance the general academic environment of the university.

The program consists of two honors courses in the freshman year, one honors course in the sophomore year, and one honors course in the junior year. Students complete these courses in place of the Nature of Persons (N) course; World Cultures (U) course; Comparative Systems (G) course; and Science, Technology, and Society (K) course requirements of the General Education curriculum. Students also take two regularly offered courses—one at the 200 level or above and one at the 300 level or above—on an honors basis, in which they develop individual contracts with a faculty member for an enriched experience in that class. Students complete an Honors Senior Project in their major during the senior year. In addition to the courses, there are Honors Forums, which students are expected to attend in all four years.

Students interested in applying for the Honors Program should contact the director of the Honors Program.

Honors Program

HON160Pietas Seminar I3
HON205UFinding Community on the Margin 13
HON300GPietas Seminar II 13
HON305KIssues in Science, Technology and Society 13
HON464PPietas Seminar IV3
Choose one tagged honors course at the 200-level or above3-4
Choose one tagged honors course at 300-level or above3-4
Honors Senior Project (as part of departmental culminating experience)
Total Credits21-23

This course meets a General Education requirement.


HON160 • Pietas Seminar I. 3 Credits.

An introduction to the meaning and value of a liberal arts education in the Christian tradition and to key facets of the Pietas Program. While exploring a specific topic of interest, the seminar promotes the establishment of community among students, faculty, and varying aspects of student life. Students are also provided with instruction and practice in writing, as well as preparing and delivering oral presentation, in a manner that addresses the strengths and needs of Pietas Program students. PW: Admission to the Pietas program.
Offered: Fall, spring.

HON205U • Finding Community on the Margin. 3 Credits.

Exploration of community building that occurs in situations of oppression and exploitation along the lines of ethnicity, religion/culture, and/or economic life. With a focus on a people group found outside the dominant cultures of Europe and North America and living in a situation of marginalization and oppression (e.g., Dalits in India or Roma in Europe), understand the larger social, religious, and economic forces that shape the world of this group. Explore the cultural and personal perspectives of the members of this group. Study programs that address these situations and attempt to break the bonds of oppression and exploitation. Seek a faith-based response to these issues.
Prerequisites: GES130 (may be taken concurrently) or GES244 (may be taken concurrently); admission to the Honors Program. Offered: Spring

HON300G • Pietas Seminar II. 3 Credits.

Analysis and evaluation of community in varying contexts. Investigation of different models of community through reflection, experiential learning, film, fiction, and non-fiction.
Prerequisites: Pietas Seminar I; admission to the Honors Program; [GES130; GES160; Contemporary Western Life and Thought (L) course; World Cultures (U) course] or [GES244; World Cultures (U) course]. Offered: Interim or spring

HON305K • Issues in Science, Technology and Society. 3 Credits.

Contemporary and historical topics are chosen to illustrate societal and cultural interactions with concurrent developments in science and technology. Examples of personal and corporate decision-making processes are stressed, thereby working toward a goal of preparation and motivation for responsible citizenship.
Prerequisites: Laboratory Science (D) course; Mathematics (M) course; admission to the Honors Program. Offered: Fall, Spring

HON464P • Pietas Seminar IV. 3 Credits.

As a capstone experience, seniors in the Honors Program will work collaboratively to research, discuss, evaluate, and address an interdisciplinary issue of contemporary civic importance. Through this work, students will have the opportunity to synthesize work completed in other Honors courses and projects as well as give mature reflection on the role of faith in the life of Christian scholarship.