undergrad students pose by an outdoor fountain

About the Program

The mission of the Aquinas Scholar Honors Program is to enrich the educational experience of academically motivated students by creating a community of scholars dedicated to academic excellence and the ideals of a liberal arts education.

One can combine a major in any academic area (both liberal arts and professional) with an honors education. The organization is inclusive, welcoming, and includes over 350 students who learn, work, serve and play together, through shared classes, scholarly events, community service, mentorship and more.

Honors Courses

Aquinas Scholars take at least four courses, which are specifically designated honors sections of broader university courses (e.g. an honors section of THEO 100).

Honors sections are distinctive from non-honors sections in several ways: they offer substantially smaller class sizes, are taught by faculty recognized for their teaching excellence and have an increased focused on student participation and in-depth topic examination.

Honors Seminars

Aquinas Scholars take at least three honors seminars. These two-credit seminars are usually team-taught, interdisciplinary courses that allow Aquinas Scholars to study more creative and experimental topics.

There is no additional tuition cost for Aquinas Scholars seminars and certain honors seminars may also fulfill the university's Integrations in the Humanities core requirement, the Writing to Learn core requirement or both.

students hold up shirts representing the living learning communities

Honors Living Learning Community

Designated first-year housing in the Aquinas Scholars Honors Living and Learning Community (LLC) allows new scholars to live on a floor with other first-year honors residents, take honors classes with students on their floor, and participate in a variety of co-curricular events designed to enrich their academic and residential experience.

The Honors LLC also counts toward the university's First-Year Experience learning community requirement.

Additional Benefits

The Aquinas Scholar Honors Program also brings together benefits that allow you to excel at your studies and make the most of your time at St. Thomas. That includes:

Priority Class Registration

Aquinas Scholars enjoy priority registration within their class standing to ensure they can enroll in the courses they're interested in.

Private Honors Lounge

Honors students have access to private honors lounge for meeting, studying and relaxing while enjoying complementary refreshments.

Unique Access to the University

Aquinas Scholars receive unique access to the university, from meetings with the president and exclusive activities around campus.

An Additional Challenge

Never sluggish or boring, honors courses are designed to engage Aquinas Scholars on a high level and providing a challenge that expands their horizons and minds.

Community and Support

Aquinas Scholars form close friendships and connections. Those looking for letters of recommendation always have a long list of contacts they can count on for support.

Graduation Honors and Prestige

Graduating from an honors program is a substantial accomplishment that can be valuable when looking for a job or gaining admission to graduate schools.

Scholarship and Fellowship Opportunities

The Honors program also can assist students in finding prestigious 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 (e.g., the Alliance for Catholic Education program).

A significant number of Aquinas Scholars alumni have been recipients of these awards during and after their time at St. Thomas.

National Collegiate Honors Council

As the undergraduate honors program of the University of St. Thomas, the Aquinas Scholars Honors Program is a member of the National Collegiate Honors Council.