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Honors Program

There are two major categories of awards and honors at El Centro College. The Honors Program includes classes in which students may receive honors credit that is annotated on transcripts. In addition, honors scholars receive additional acknowledgement at graduation. The second category of awards and honors are Academic Transfer Awards that recognize students who have demonstrated scholarship in particular fields of study. Below, you will find detailed information and requirements for these honors and awards programs. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Mark Curtis-Thames at His office is A559.


  • Honors Contract PDF - Both student and professor should download, print and fill out this document. Each copy should be sent by interoffice mail or hand delivered to the Director of the Honors Program, Dr. Mark Thames, C352.
  • Honors & Awards Brochure


Q: What is the Honors Program?

A: The Honors Program has been in existence at El Centro College since 1986. It is a program which affords the talented student an opportunity to earn honors credit in almost any course that is not developmental. The student is given the opportunity to do extra, in-depth study in a particular subject of interest. In addition, the student has close and frequent contact with the instructor and with fellow students who have like interests. The Honors Program provides a forum for collegiality and opportunities for intellectual and personal growth.

Q: What is "Honors Credit"?

A: When a student is awarded "honors credit" in a class, that class is annotated on the student's permanent academic transcript with a pound sign (#). In addition, the student is awarded an honors certificate, signed by the college president and the instructor. The certificate is suitable for framing.

Q: What are the criteria for a student to be an "honors student"?

A: An applicant for honors credit must meet at least ONE of the following criteria in any TWO of these three groups:
  • GROUP A: 3.5 overall final GPA from high school (must be supported by a high school transcript)
    3.5 GPA on college level work attempted so far (with less than 30 hours)
    3.25 GPA earned on all collegiate work attempted to date (with more than 30 hours)
    Be in the top 10% of high school class (entering students only)
  • GROUP B: 37 on the DTLS (MAPS) Reading Test
    270 TASP Score (on either Reading or Writing portion)
    1177 SAT Score (Combined Score) (No older than 5 years)
    27 ACT Score (Enhanced Score) (No older than 5 years)
    1894 on TAAS Writing and 95 TLI in Reading
  • GROUP C: Recommendation from an El Centro Instructor
    Other special abilities or completion of exemplary projects
    Participation in other collegiate Honors Programs

Q: What is the difference between an HONORS COURSE and a course with an HONORS OPTION?

A: HONORS COURSES contain ONLY honors students. They have a section number of 5050 or 5051. They have an apple log beside them in the class schedule.

HONORS OPTION COURSES have both honors and non-honors students who attend the same class sections. The honors students work independently with the instructor on honors projects. Classes with established honors options may have an indication of this in the class schedules, but almost any non-developmental studies course may have an honors option component with permission of the instructor. If interested in an Honors option, please consult with your instructor or contact Dr. Mark Thames, Director of the El Centro Honors Program, at

Q: In what disciplines are honors/honors option courses offered?

A: Instructors of art, English, philosophy, humanities, sociology, government, history, speech, and sonography generally offer honors options on a regular basis. In addition, accounting, biology, invasive cardiovascular technology, nursing, radiography, Spanish, psychology, and statistics instructors have offered honors options. El Centro College is dedicated to expanding the Honors Option opportunities, so even if your course is not listed, there is a possibility that your instructor might be willing to offer an Honors Option on a student by student basis.

Q: What are some typical projects or special assignments honors students do?

A: Honors projects and assignments vary from class to class and depending upon the requirements of the instructor. In the past, honors projects or assignments have included:
  • A class presentation on a well researched topic
  • Video productions (Speech)
  • Projects done in association with the Praxis Program
  • Discussions at philosophy lunches (based on the model of Ludwig Wittgenstein's "at homes")
  • A full-fledged formal research paper
  • Extra reading and discussion with the instructor and/or fellow students (Focus Groups)
  • A slide collection on a particular person or idea
  • Volunteer work
  • Journal keeping
  • Website creation
  • Field trip to historical site with report and illustrations

Q: What is the relationship between the Honors Program and Phi Theta Kappa, the Community College Honor Society?

A: There is no formal relationship, although many honor students are members of Phi Theta Kappa. Even if you are not a member of Phi Theta Kappa, you may participate in honors classes or the honors scholars program.

Q: What advantages are there to being in the Honors Program?

A: The Honors Program usually has a special program and/or luncheon during the semester. Students have also reported that participation in the Honors Program has been an asset to them on resumes, scholarship opportunities, and admission into highly competitive university programs.

Q: What has become of some honors students of the past?

A: Many have gone onto such schools as Southern Methodist University, Hunter College, New York State University, University of Minnesota, University of Texas at Austin, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Nevada at Las Vegas, University of North Texas, University of Dallas, and University of Texas at Arlington. They have majored in such diverse areas as classics, philosophy, English, French, history, anthropology, religion, education, engineering, and education. Almost all have continued to turn in exemplary academic performances at the collegtes and universities they have attended and a large majority have opted to attend graduate and professional schools. Many have developed leadership skills in the community and devoted themselves to helping others in community service programs. There is also a more abstract outcome in that students have more confidence in there abilities and pride in their accomplishments.

Q: How do I apply for Honors Option?

A: Instructors offering an Honors Option have a contract for students to complete. The contract describes the work to be done and when the work should be completed. If the work is not completed, the student will receive a non-honors grade in this class but no penalty.

Q:Whom do I contact for more information?

A: Dr. Mark Curtis-Thames is Director of the Honors Program. His email is and his office is A559.

Q:What are honors scholars?

Honors Scholars are students who take at least four courses for honors--whether in one discipline or in any combination of disciplines--in addition to the Honors Capstone course, HUMA 2323 World Cultures. Honors Scholars receive special recognition at commencement, and their transcript reflects their accomplishment.

Q:What is Humanities 2323?

A: Humanities 2323, World Cultures, is the Honors capstone course. An honors section of it is offered every spring semester. It considers the history and cultures of the Americas, and asks the question, "What is it to be human in the Americas today?" The class meets on the main campus, and at the Dallas Museum of Art, the African-American Museum, the Latino Cultural Center, and other locations.

Academic Transfer Awards

Typically, community college students in academic transfer programs do not declare majors. However, El Centro College realizes that it is fortunate to have a number of students who take twelve or more hours in one field of study or in related fields. The El Centro faculty believes these students should be recognized for their hard work. Perhaps when these students transfer to a four year collage or university, many of them will major or minor in the fields in which they have earned twelve or more hours of credit at El Centro.

There are TWO categories of Academic Transfer Awards. Discipline Studies Awards focus on one particular subject while Interdisciplinary Studies Awards include several sub-topics within major fields of study.
  • Discipline Studies Awards include English, Music, Philosophy, Spanish, Speech, Sociology, and History.
  • Interdisciplinary Studies Awards include Performance Arts (Drama, Music, and Dance Performance Courses); Physical Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics or approved others); Social Sciences (Sociology, History, Government, plus a second course in one of these)

Q: What do I have to do to qualify for one or more of these award?
  • Complete a total of twelve (12) credit hours of selected academic courses with a minimum grade of a "C" in each course.
  • Complete all courses for the award with a five (5) year time span.
  • Complete at least nine (9) credit hours of the required courses at El Centro with the final course in the series taken at El Centro the semester the degree is awarded.
  • Understand that no course may be counted more than once for an El Centro Academic Transfer Award.
  • For an Interdisciplinary Award, take at least one (1) course in each of the areas listed under the award on the reverse side of this flyer. The fourth course is a second semester of study in any of the listed courses.

Q: What are the benefits to me for earning such an award?
  • You will receive a certificate, suitable for framing and signed by college officials recognizing your achievement.
  • You will be recognized during our Student Recognition Day assembly.
  • You will be well on your way to a major or minor when you transfer.
  • You will have the opportunity to explore a field in which you think you might be interested in some depth before you transfer.
  • You will study with classmates with like interests and educational goals.

Q: How do I apply for my award?

A: When you begin taking the final course required for an honors award, contact Dr. Mark Curtis-Thames,, office A559 for an application to be filled out and returned to him.

Q: Whom do I contact for more information?

A: Please contact Dr. Mark Curtis-Thames, Honors Coordinator. His email is and his office is A559.