The mission of the Thomas Hunter Honors Program is to nurture and support outstanding students who wish to challenge themselves through interdisciplinary studies. By "interdisciplinary," we mean the kind of studies that involve two or more academic areas of knowledge. Thinking in an interdisciplinary way often requires drawing on methods and analytical frameworks from more than one area of knowledge (the social sciences, the physical sciences, and the humanities) or specific field (e.g. philosophy or history or physics) to examine a topic or solve a problem. The Special Honors Curriculum allows students to either create their own interdisciplinary major or pursue their studies within a traditional departmental major or minor. The Program facilitates scholarly focus and provides a sense of belonging to a unique community.
The THHP offers students the opportunity to design individualized curricula with caring, attentive faculty advisors, and helps them find professors interested in working with them. The Program assists them in defining and achieving their academic goals in a timely and efficient manner. Students in the THHP know that they have almost immediate access to an advisor when they need help with academic and bureaucratic problems, or when they wish to discuss more general questions and long-range goals, such as applying to graduate and professional schools. To make certain that all members of the Program are following a coherent curriculum, each student is required to see an advisor at least once a semester to discuss his or her general progress, and in addition, all students must have their academic programs approved every semester.
THHP students and faculty meet every semester at a party during which the following semester's colloquia are presented. Students have the opportunity to meet their instructors, ask questions, and interact with fellow students. In addition, the Program hosts graduate school prep and scholarship informational sessions, graduation parties, and other social events.
THHP students are often valedictorians and salutatorians at graduation, and typically constitute about half of the students inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. They successfully apply for undergraduate and graduate scholarships and fellowships and are usually accepted for admission to the graduate and professional schools to which they apply, including Harvard, Yale, University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins, Columbia, and NYU — usually with significant funding. Besides the many students who go on to become professors, doctors, lawyers, scientific researchers, and public servants, THHP graduates also go on to careers as novelists, film-makers, playwrights, dancers, actors, musicians, and journalists.