This guide contains almost everything you need to know about the program. Please keep it handy. It supersedes the earlier version of the guide and, we hope, makes requirements and procedures clearer.
The Program and its Mission
Acceptance in the Thomas Hunter Honors Program
Thomas Hunter Honors Program Obligations
Thomas Hunter Honors Program Requirements
Scholarships, Fellowships, & Financial Aid: Undergraduate & Graduate
Significant Odds and Ends
The Thomas Hunter Honors Program is an interdisciplinary program designed to provide superior students with an individualized course of study suited to their needs and interests. Open to students of high intellectual ability and interdisciplinary interests, it permits them to replace some of the usual College requirements with a Special Honors Curriculum under the supervision of the Council on Honors. It also provides its participants the chance to study with outstanding faculty members who have indicated an interest in assisting exceptional students. In general, students selected for the Thomas Hunter Honors Program must show evidence of high academic potential, diversified interests and intellectual curiosity, willingness to challenge themselves, and sufficient maturity to plan and carry out an individualized program of study in semesterly consultation with a Council on Honors faculty advisor.
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The Council on Honors is the interdisciplinary faculty body that governs the Thomas Hunter Honors Program. The current members list can be found on the Council on Honors page.
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Your initial admission into the Thomas Hunter Honors Program is provisional. This period lasts a minimum of 2 full semesters, or until you have completed 24 credits in semesters after being admitted to the Program
Final certification into the Program, with the privilege to have Special Honors Curriculum on your record as a major, is usually made after two full semesters (24 credits) in the Program. For part-time students, certification will, of course, take longer.
You will be considered for certification if you have:
a. maintained a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 or better;
b. completed one THHP colloquium at the 200-level with a grade of B- or better;
c. declared your 9-credit secondary concentration (“mini-concentration”) with your THHP advisor, and have completed at least one course in the sequence. [see page 4];
d. completed 18 credits of 200- and/or 300-level courses in a variety of disciplines, with at least 6 credits in a subdivision of Arts and Sciences other than that of the major. THHP colloquia do not count towards these 18 credits;
When you have completed all of the above requirements the Council reviews your record. If your academic record and your compliance with the interdisciplinary principles of the Program so warrant, the Council certifies you as a permanent member of the Program. Once that determination is made, the transcript comment “Special Honors Curriculum” is placed on your record by the Office of the Registrar.
A student who has failed to maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.5 at the time when certification should occur, is given one semester in which to raise his or her cumulative grade point average. One of the good things about being certified is that should your GPA drop below 3.5 after certification, you can no longer be dismissed from the Program for this reason, although you may be dropped if you do not continue to abide by the regulations of the Program and its interdisciplinary principles. Another benefit of certification is that you may be eligible for certain scholarships. (See “Scholarships and Fellowships”).
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All students in the Program are required to register for a minimum of 4.5 credits each semester. Any waiver of this requirement must be approved by an advisor during your registration conference.
You are required to meet with an advisor for general academic advising at least once per semester. During the semester in which you are accepted into the Program, we request that you meet with an advisor twice (once for a welcome session immediately after you are accepted, and the second time for registration advising). At least four professors advise for the Program each semester. You may see any or all advisors. You can choose an advisor because he/she interviewed you, or you have taken a class with him/her, or because you like him/her, or perhaps only one advisor’s schedule suits yours. If you fail to meet with an advisor once a semester, the designation “HP” will be removed from your record. You would lose all the privileges granted to members of the THHP, including priority registration. You are required to see an advisor every semester even after you have been certified in order to avoid any academic or bureaucratic problems that might come up, and to avoid nasty surprises at graduation audit time. It is too late to find out in your last semester that you haven’t done something essential. You should make sure your advisor reviews all requirements with you several semesters before you plan to graduate. Your advisor can also help you with your personal statement for scholarships and graduate applications
You are expected to keep yourself informed about opportunities and requirements of the Program.
a. Sign up for honors-l and review notices posted there.
b. If you change your address, phone number, or e-mail address, please tell our office in addition to notifying the Registrar’s office. Our databases are not connected. In addition, for those who list the dormitory as a permanent address, please remember to let us know your new address when you graduate.
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To graduate from the THHP you must complete the following
1. Three integrative interdisciplinary colloquia:
These colloquia are the core of the Special Honors Curriculum. Although they change every semester, all attempt to demonstrate how knowledge gained from a variety of disciplines can be related and integrated in an effort to understand complex processes and phenomena. Fostering the capacity for such integrative thinking is the primary goal of the Thomas Hunter Honors Program. You must take a 200-level colloquium by your second semester in the Program. You must also subsequently take a 300-level colloquium. The third colloquium may be at either the 200- or 300-level. You may not take more than one colloquium in any one semester. If you are a part-time student, you must take the first colloquium by your third semester in the Program. While the specific content of these courses varies from semester to semester, the underlying principles remain the same.
a. The 200-level colloquium is always taught by one professor who approaches a specific problem using materials and methodologies of two or more disciplines.
b. The 300-level colloquium usually involves two professors from two different areas who focus on a given topic. Occasionally, 300-level colloquia are taught by only one professor, but in those cases there are invited guest speakers from different disciplines.
c. For a colloquium to be counted toward the requirement of three, you must have earned the grade of B- or better.
2. Nine-credit secondary ("mini") concentration:
For purposes of this requirement, we consider the College of Arts and Sciences course offerings to be divided into Science and Mathematics, Social Sciences, and Humanities and Arts.
You are required to take a set of three related courses from the same division (usually the same department) of Arts and Sciences. The 3 courses should constitute a coherent concentrated area of study and must be in a division other than that of your major or primary concentration. For example, if your major is in the Social Sciences, your area of secondary concentration must be either in the Humanities and Arts or in Sciences and Mathematics; if your major is in the Humanities and Arts, this area of concentration must be either in the Social Sciences, or in Sciences and Mathematics; if your major is in Science and Mathematics, your “mini concentration” must be either in Humanities and Arts, or Social Sciences. This usually means 3 courses in a single department; 2 of which are at the 200- or 300-level, or above. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that you do not over-concentrate in closely related disciplines and that you achieve more than an entry-level knowledge in at least one field or discipline from a second of the three major disciplinary groupings of the Arts and Sciences. If you are planning to complete a departmental minor and it is in an academic division other than the one to which your disciplinary major belongs, see a THHP advisor to see whether it also satisfies our “mini-concentration” requirement. This “mini concentration” must be approved by a THHP advisor. You should have completed at least one course in your “mini concentration” by the time you are reviewed for certification. (See page 2, “Certification” for clarification.
3. Breadth in your curriculum:
The Council expects that you will choose courses in each of the three divisions of the Arts and Sciences: Humanities and Arts, Social Science, and Science and Mathematics, which will provide a solid, wide-ranging introduction to the materials and methodologies characteristic of each branch. You are further advised to make sure that you take some courses that provide a sense of historical development and some knowledge of the fundamental background texts and materials essential to general culture and to the disciplines that most interest you.
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1. Departmental Major
Although the Thomas Hunter Honors Program is considered a major and will appear as such on your final transcript (it will state "Special Honors Curriculum" when you graduate), most students in the Program also complete one, or sometimes even two, departmental majors. If you want to major in English, for example, you declare a major with the English Department and are responsible for completing all departmental requirements. You are expected to sign up for "honors" work in at least one of your major departments, if it is available. Find out what your major department requires for honors when you declare the major. Do NOT wait until your senior year to do so. It is important that you consult with a Thomas Hunter Honors Program advisor about how you intend to complete this requirement. (See the handout "Requirement of Honors in Departmental Major.")
2. Individual Majors:
Should you prefer to create your own personal, interdisciplinary major instead of doing a departmental major, you must work out and submit an academic plan and have it approved by a Thomas Hunter Honors Program advisor. This may not be done at the last minute, and you must submit a proposal by the time you have completed 90 credits, or no later than the second to last semester before you intend to graduate. You may not decide just before graduating that you are going to have only an interdisciplinary Honors major. In addition, if you choose this option, you must complete either HONS 301.99 or HONS 491.51 and produce a substantial piece of writing that reflects and pulls together the knowledge acquired in the interdisciplinary course of study you have been pursuing. If you choose this option, only "Special Honors Curriculum" will appear in the slot for majors on your final transcript. If you have several majors, they will all appear. You do not have to formally declare your Individual Major (Declaration of Major form with OASIS), but you do have to complete and submit to a THHP advisor the "Contract for Individual Major", which is available in the THHP office. We notify the Registrar when you are certified (see paragraph below).
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Students who enrolled at Hunter College prior to Spring 2009 have the option, but not the obligation, to complete any minor sequence that was declared and approved by the students' major department prior to the last day of the spring 2009 semester. For all other students, or for pre-2009 students who did not declare a minor before May 2009, the minor is also optional, but only courses of study approved by the minor department may be declared as minors. If you have not yet completed all four courses of your declared minor and have decided not to complete the minor, you must delete your minor by submitting the "Minor Declaration" Form, available on-line at
Please note, THHP students still must complete the mini-concentration (sometimes referred to as a "mini-minor"), in an academic division other than the one to which your disciplinary major belongs. Even if you decide to cancel your minor, but have completed at least 3 courses, (two at the 200-level or above), check with a THHP advisor to see whether they satisfy our "mini-concentration."
As a member of the THHP, you are released from some aspects of the General Education Requirement. This gives you additional flexibility, but not absolute freedom. In order to graduate with a degree from Hunter College, you are still required to complete the following:
1. English 120
You are required to complete or be exempt from English 120. If you feel you should be exempted, submit a well-written paper for an advanced course to the appropriate person in the English Department (currently Professor Trudy Smoke) with a request for exemption. Make sure the Registrar posts this exemption on your transcript.
2. Quantitative Reasoning and History
You are expected to take one course in something "quantitative" which must be approved by a THHP advisor. You are also expected to take one history course or POLSC 110.
3. Lab Science
You are required to complete a lab science course*. 100-level courses that satisfy the Special Honors Curriculum lab requirement are:
ANTHP 101 or 102
BIOL 100 or 102
CHEM 100 and CHEM 101 (lecture and lab)
PHYS 101 (lecture and lab)
*Higher-level lab courses are also acceptable.
Equivalent courses taken at other universities and AP courses accepted by the relevant department and which include a lab may be used to satisfy the lab science requirement. Please schedule an appointment with an advisor if you have any questions about your lab science requirement. We strongly advise you NOT to wait until your last semester to take your lab science course.
4.Foreign Language Requirement
Students who entered Hunter College in Fall 2001 or thereafter are required to complete the 2-year foreign language requirement. If you have proficiency in a language (native language other than English, four years of a high-school language, etc.), please make sure it shows on your transcript. Take some form of proof to the appropriate language department advisor if you are a native speaker of a foreign language, or if you have completed four years of a high school language, see either Ilene Drapkin or Bonnie Polis in Student Services. In either case, ask to have the proficiency indicated on your transcript. If you are beginning a language at Hunter, you are urged to take your first language course as soon as possible, and not to leave substantial time gaps between levels. Please note that even if you have satisfied this requirement, if you want to take another language, you will not receive credit for completing the first semester of the language unless you also complete the second semester.
5. Pluralism and Diversity
This is a College graduation requirement for everyone. If you entered Hunter in Fall 1993 or thereafter, you must fulfill it. If you believe that you have taken courses that should be acceptable for this requirement but have not been approved for it, there is an appeal process through a committee of the Hunter Academic Senate. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL YOUR FINAL SEMESTER TO APPEAL, SINCE APPEALS ARE NOT ALWAYS GRANTED.
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All forms are available online at the following address:
You should make an appointment with a THHP advisor in the semester preceding the semester in which you plan to graduate for a "pre-audit" meeting. After this meeting, see Sarah in the Program office. She will assist you in filling out the form properly. Degree Audit Application Forms (DAAF) are generally due in the Registrar's Office by the fourth week of the semester in which you plan to graduate.
Schedule an appointment with a THHP advisor at the start of the semester in which you plan to graduate, and present all of your filled-out forms to your THHP advisor. You should meet with a THHP advisor before you see your departmental advisor, since the THHP advisor will stamp the GER area on page 1 of the form and sign off on your Thomas Hunter Honors Program courses on page 2 of the form. Next, you will need to make an appointment with your non-Honors department advisor(s) to get a signature and stamp underneath their respective courses on page 3 and/or page 4 of the graduation audit form(s). We advise you to do this as early as possible. If there are problems, there will be time to have them resolved well before it is time for you to graduate. If, after you have filed for graduation, you cannot complete all of your graduation requirements, notify the DegreeAudit division to cancel your graduation, and file to graduate in the following semester. You will not be able to register for courses unless you cancel your audit.
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Even if you are not presently receiving financial aid, you should have a completed and current FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) on file with the financial aid office. Scholarships and fellowships cannot be awarded without a properly completed FAFSA. http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/
Attention all students receiving TAP: As you plan your course schedules, please take into account the stringent guidelines that are currently being enforced. See the information posted at the following website: Financial Aid Applications Information. Please make sure that you view the TAP tutorial and complete the TAP quiz. Otherwise, a STOP will be placed on your record, not by us, but by the Registrar's Office.
You should periodically consult the Hunter Gatherer (http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/studentservices/events) for interesting scholarship and internship opportunities. It is a very useful tool.
Undergraduates - Myrna Fader's office in Student Services, 11th floor East is where you can find out about the Charlotte W. Newcombe, Fulbright, and Belle Zeller scholarships, etc., pick up helpful information and perhaps schedule an appointment with Myrna Fader. Her Undergraduate & Graduate Grants Guide details a variety of scholarships (not TAP, etc.) for which you may be eligible. It is also available on-line at http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/studentservices/scholarships/repository/files/GrantsGuide.pdf. Ms. Fader also produces a Planning for Graduate School booklet, which is available in her office.
If you intend to go on to graduate school, do not forget to file an application for a Scholarship and Welfare Fund Senior Scholarship for Graduate Study by the deadline (usually in February) of the academic year in which you plan to graduate. This scholarship for first-year graduate study may be used anywhere and is independent of anything your graduate institution may give you. Apply for it even if you are going to take a year off. The scholarship may be deferred for one year.
The Scholarship and Welfare Fund of the Alumni Association also provides small scholarships for excellent undergraduate students. Apply through the Office of Student Services. (Deadline is May 1st.) In addition, they award a small number of larger scholarships to Thomas Hunter Honors Program students recommended to them by members of the Council on Honors.
Members of the Thomas Hunter Honors Program intending to graduate in January or June who are majoring in one of the humanities or arts, or history, and who plan to go on to graduate school, should tell our office by September of their intention to graduate, so we will think of them when we are asked to nominate students for certain fellowships, the deadline for which occurs in the early fall. Outstanding students contemplating applying for very special scholarships for graduate studies (e.g., Javits, NSF, Jack Kent Cooke) should see the Chair or an advisor, as well as Dean Roblin Meeks, Acting Director of Curriculum and Student Opportunities, or in the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences, early in their junior year (at the 60-70 credit point) for assistance during the application process.
All certified Thomas Hunter Honors Program students are eligible to apply for several special scholarships reserved for THHP students. If you expect to receive certification in a given semester, you are also encouraged to apply then. In addition to an outstanding academic record at Hunter, the other criteria for the scholarships are:
1. a transcript showing intellectual commitment to the interdisciplinary principles of the Thomas Hunter Honor Program
2. financial need
3. If you should find yourself in real financial difficulty, see the Chair, or just speak to an advisor.
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1. Incompletes and FINs:
a. The Thomas Hunter Honors Program strongly advises against taking an Incomplete in any course. However, if you find yourself in the situation in which that is your only option, and your instructor(s) agree(s), fill out a "Contract to Resolve Incomplete Grades" with your instructor(s) and give the THHP office a copy. This will encourage you to complete the course requirement(s) in a timely manner, and will also give us a record of your intention. If you take an Incomplete in any course, you will not be on the Dean's List for that semester.
b. An Incomplete in a THHP Colloquium will prevent you from being certified in the Program.
c. A FIN in a THHP Colloquium will prevent you from registering for another THHP Colloquium until the FIN is resolved. If you have an Incomplete, you are placed on the wait-list for any new THHP colloquium until the work for the previous colloquium has been completed. Please note that if an IN turns into a FIN by the end of the semester in which you plan to graduate, and if the FIN is not resolved before the deadline, you will need to cancel your grad audit and your graduation will not be in effect until the work has been completed and the change of grade form has been submitted to the Registrar's office.
2. Credit/No Credit Grades (CR/NC):
You must maintain a 3.5 GPA to be certified in the Program. The use of CR/NC is discouraged by the Council on Honors, except in special circumstances and with the permission of an advisor. If you opt for a CR in one of your THHP colloquia, it will not count towards the three THHP colloquia you need. In addition, while CRs and NCs are not averaged into your Hunter GPA, you will not be on the Dean's List in a semester in which you take a CR/NC. Medical schools and many graduate schools consider CRs taken in courses where letter grades are available to be the equivalent of a C, and law schools may factor in NCs as though they were Fs. (None of this applies to internships, etc., where CR and NC are the only grades given.)
3. Leaves of Absence:
a. The College does not recognize leaves of absence. If you leave for more than one semester, you are technically 'not on file' and you must apply for readmission to Hunter. Deadlines for readmission are July 1 for Fall, December 1 for Spring, and April 1 for Summer admission. You are required to pay a $10.00 fee. If you are not on file for two consecutive semesters, the THHP designation will be removed from your record. Make sure you come to the Thomas Hunter Honors Program office and notify us that you are planning to be readmitted. If we don't know that you are planning to return, you will lose priority registration for the semester that you do return. You must also see a THHP advisor.
b. If you have been certified in the Thomas Hunter Honors Program, you will be readmitted to the THHP automatically if your GPA was 3.5 or better when you left.
c. If you have not yet been certified in the Thomas Hunter Honors Program, you will be readmitted to the THHP automatically if your GPA was at or above the entering eligibility requirement (currently 3.65).
d. All other cases will be reviewed individually.
4. If you need money and are interested in part-time jobs:
Please tell our office so we will think of you when people call. Conversely, if there is a position available where you work, please let us know! We do keep an active list of students who are looking for work. Foreign students on student visas may work on campus only.
5. GRE, MCAT, and LSAT preparation:
If you are going to take a preparatory course, Princeton Review gives all Hunter students a 30% discount.
6. Pre-Professional Programs:
a. The Pre-Health Professions Office provides services to students who intend to go to medical school, vet school, dental school, and any other doctoral level health profession. They guide students through the application process including personal statement assistance. It is recommended that you open a file with the Office of Pre-Health Professions Advising as early as possible so you can take advantage of their services. www.hunter.cuny.edu/prehealth
b. If you are interested in attending Law School when you graduate, you should visit the Pre-Law Advising website for a wealth of information, including how to register with the Pre-Law Advisory Office, and schedule an appointment with Elise Jaffe, the Director of Pre-Law Programs and Pre-Law Advisor. www.hunter.cuny.edu/prelaw
c. Students planning to pursue an MBA are encouraged to meet with Grace Trewartha, the Pre-Business Advisor. www.hunter.cuny.edu/prebusiness
7. Phi Beta Kappa and other Honor Societies: Many of our students are invited to join prestigious national honor societies such as Phi Beta Kappa. If you receive an invitation to one or more of these please do not disregard it, as admission to such societies is definitely a feather in one's cap. If you have doubts about whether you should join or not, see an advisor and discuss the matter. Do not simply dismiss the invitation.
8. Web site: Periodically check out our website. It includes a "late-breaking news" section which will keep you up-to-date on the latest "need to know" information on the Program.
9. Once you graduate, make sure to visit the Hunter College Alumni Office, room 1314A East. We have established a Thomas Hunter Honors Program chapter of the Alumni Association, so please join and do keep in touch!! We always want to know where you are, what work you are doing, and how well you think Hunter College and the Thomas Hunter Honors Program prepared you for life after the undergraduate experience. Please let us know your e-mail address and telephone number, so that we can reach you if necessary.
This is how we communicate with you. We frequently hear of interesting scholarship opportunities and prizes or other items that would be important for you to know about, but we have neither the time nor the budget to send out frequent mailings, and by the time we can, it may be too late. We do post such information on our honors-l email list. You will need to subscribe to this list in order to receive these e-mails from us. Please read the enclosed instruction sheet and subscribe immediately. In addition, we sometimes send e-mails individually; please make sure we have a current e-mail address for you. All Hunter students have an internal e-mail account, if you don't have an e-mail account of your own. Let us know if you need help accessing your account. If you change your mailing address, phone numbers, and/or e-mail address, please notify us so that we can update our records.
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This guide was last updated as of March 12, 2013