About the Program

Academic Aspects of the Honors Program

The academic program of Aquinas Scholars is distinguished from that of non-scholars by two main factors.

Aquinas Scholars must take at least four general education courses as honors sections. Honors sections generally teach the same material as non-honors sections, but they are distinctive in that there is a substantially smaller class size, they are taught by faculty recognized for excellence in teaching, and there is an increased focus on student participation and in-depth examination of topics. To learn more about these courses, go to the page devoted to upcoming Honors Sections.

Aquinas Scholars are required to take three honors seminars. These seminars are two-credit, team-taught, interdisciplinary courses that allow Aquinas Scholars to study more creative and experimental topics. Aquinas Scholars are allowed to take these courses free of charge, and they count toward the 132-credit graduation requirement. At current tuition rates, this means that Aquinas Scholars can save over $7,500 in tuition expenses through the course of their academic careers. To learn more about these courses, go to the page devoted to upcoming Honors Seminars.

To view a complete list of Policies follow this link.

Social Aspects of the Honors Program

Aquinas Scholars not only take classes together, they have the opportunity build community with other honors students outside the classroom.

Scholarly events include the Scholars Symposium each spring which consists of a student art exhibition, faculty presentations, and many other social activities around campus. A monthly Pizza with a Prof, where students invite a professor to share and discuss his/her current research over a free lunch of pizza and pop. Some recent topics have included "Using Exercise to Boost Your Grade Point Average" (by a Health and Human Performance professor), "The Communication Secrets to Healthy, Happy Relationships (and thus a healthy, happy life)" (by a Communications and Journalism professor), "Using Economics to Inform Public Policy" (by an Economics professor), and "Bugs and Drugs: What's in Your Water" (by a Chemistry professor).

Social events have included Twins baseball games, theme dinners, bowling, and the highly popular Freshman Retreat. These activities are all subsidized by the program, so they are either free or significantly reduced-price.

Social spaces like the provate Aquinas Scholars student lounge, and reserved group study room are enjoyed by scholars for relaxation and work alike.

The Scholars Journal is anewsletter that draws contributions from the Aquians Scholars and publishes essays, reviews, art, and more and serves to communitcate past and upcoming events. 

Service opportunitiesabound through the Aquinas Scholars program. Scholars have participated in neighborhood cleanup,tutoring, serving food at Dorothy Day Center, constructing homes with Habitat for Humanity, and many other events to build community by helping others.

The Mentorship Program pairs new Scholars with third- and fourth-year Aquinas Scholars to help them adjust to college life and succeed i nthe program.

Designated First-year Housing in the Living and Learning Community allows new Honors Scholars to live on a floor with other first-year Honors residents, will take Honor’s classes with students on their floor, and will participate in a variety of co-curricular events designed to enrich the academic and residential experience.  To learn more about the LLC, please visit: http://www.stthomas.edu/livinglearningcommunities/

Aquinas Scholars Brochure

Scholarship / Fellowship Opportunities

The Honors program can assist students in finding presteigous scholarship and fellowship opportunities, such as the Rhodes and Fullbright Scholarships, that are available to outstanding students. In addition the program can aid in finding others that are not as famous, such as the Alliance for Catholic Education program and others. A significant number of Aquinas Scholars alumni have been recipients of these award during and after their time at St. Thomas.

National Collegiate Honors Council‌

The Aquinas Scholars Honors Program at the University of St. Thomas is a member of the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC). Click here for the Official NCHC Online Guide to Honors Colleges and Programs. The Official NCHC Online Guide to Honors Colleges and Programs is the result of the requests from members of NCHC, parents, students and others interested in honors education. This initial edition is only a sample of what will be available when all NCHC members have supplied their information to us.‌

Please note that this NCHC Online Guide is still in its formative stages. Features will continue to be added as the publication grows. This guide is intended to be a comprehensive list of all honors programs and colleges and all institutions are invited to participate.

If you have questions or comments about the Online Guide, please contact NCHC at 402-472-9150 or by email at nchc@unl.edu. If you have changes to existing entries or would like to participate, please review information on the NCHC website or email nchc@unl.edu.