Coursework - The Best Classes with the Best Teachers
In their first two years, honors students at USA take many of their required courses in special “Honors” sections that are limited to a maximum of 18 students (all of whom are fellow Honors students), and taught by faculty who have been chosen for their expertise and teaching ability. While these sections typically don’t require more work than their non-honors counterparts, they do engage the material at a higher intellectual level. Our honors sections are thus not only more interesting and engaging, but a real asset in sometime intimidating courses like calculus and organic chemistry, since it is easy to get individual help from the professor and to study with fellow students .
As Juniors and Seniors, USA Honors students have exclusive access to fascinating interdisciplinary seminars, often on topics they have come up with. Recent seminar topics have included: Science and the Movies, War and Memory in the US, The Hero’s Journey (Harry Potter), The Chemistry of Art, and Mardi Gras.
Mentoring and Research
The hallmark of USA’s Honors Program is hands-on discovery, since every one of our students engages in original research, broadly defined. Whether that takes the form of laboratory science, field observations, library , creative writing, poetry, performance, painting, composition, during their sophomore year, everyone of our Honors students begins working with a faculty mentor to discover or create new knowledge, understanding. This work culminates in their senior Honors Thesis. In short, creators, not just consumers of culture. It is quite common for our students to graduate as a co-author on one or more academic papers. Very unusual and prestigious accomplishment.
¨ Paid research
¨ The opportunity for such hands-on research is crucial not only for the unique experience, expertise, but in the way it situates our students to be strong contenders for competitive paid internships and scholarships at the national level. In just the last few years, our students have won paid summer research internships at schools like MIT, FSU, The University of Michigan, and won prestigious scholarships like the Gilman, the Hollins, and NSF.
In addition to their major degree and supporting minors, honors students can apply their thesis hours and honors courses toward a new minor in Research and Creative Methodology – Intended to supplement/consolidate their research with a unique degree designed to help potential employers, professional schools, and graduate programs to appreciate the experiences and skills that set them apart and make them special.
USA honors students never need to worry about getting any of the courses they need at the time they want, and with the professor they want, because they register first – before athletes?...
At South, we understand that some of the most important learning takes place outside of the classroom and laboratory. Thus, our Honors Program works hard to expose our students to the widest possible variety of opportunities for intellectual, cultural, and personal growth, from conferences hosted at the Bethel and special access to visiting scholars, to annual symphony nights and service projects on campus or in the Mobile community.
Students are also encouraged to attend professional conferences to present their research - either at a regional, national or international conference in their discipline, or in at the National Honors conference.
Because international travel can be among the most powerful and transformative experiences a student can have, the USA honors program works closely with the Office of International education to help students find the right study abroad program, or international internship for them. Better yet, Honors Scholars with an ACT score of 30 or above receive an additional $2000 in scholarship money specifically for Study Abroad. Combined with their summer tuition stipend and other available SA scholarships, honors students at South find the opportunity to study abroad amazingly affordable.
Recognition and Prestige
¨ At USA, Honors students are recognized by faculty, classmates, and administrators as campus leaders.
¨ Faculty Interaction
At graduation, designated with a special Honors cord/sash in addition to magna/summa cum laude often earned