Honors Program

Western's Honors Program welcomes students seeking academic excellence with special housing, priority registration and special programs.

Honors Program at Western State Colorado University - Honors Students Meeting
While Honors students receive encouragement to form their own tribe of special learners, they are very much a part of all the communities that make up Western.

The Western State Colorado University Honors Program provides enhanced and challenging academic programming to a carefully selected group of highly motivated and accomplished students from all disciplines who have performed well academically in high school or at Western State Colorado University.

Small class size, extensive interaction among peers and teachers, experiences outside the traditional classroom, and interdisciplinary approaches to education are all features of the program.

Program Goals

"The Good"

While scholars may debate the "Form of the Good", the Honors Program at Western sees it as deeply connected to the  purpose and values of a Liberal Arts and Science education. We seek to create opportunities for our students to develop into virtuous, knowledgeable and articulate citizens for whom the pursuit of knowledge is integral to human development.

Citizenship and Community

We seek to create elite learners without elitism and a cohort of students who learn to develop the deep connection between higher education and citizenship within a supportive academic community.  Our community members are highly motivated students, faculty and staff who share an intellectual curiosity about the world around them.


Honors courses are designed to promote cross discipline exploration and discovery. You will find students and faculty of a multitude of majors and interests in Honors classes providing an extremely fertile and complex environment for discussion and analysis.

Risk Taking and Autonomy

While our program demands high academic achievement, it does not mean that our students play it safe academically. Honors at Western encourages students to take the initiative in the ownership of their educational experience.  Honors courses present students with opportunities to think for themselves free from internal or external constraints on intellectual inquiry. We encourage students to take the initiative in their own education and support them in developing the resiliency needed when stepping out of one's academic comfort zone.

Social Intelligence

It is not enough to be the "smartest one in the room" if you lack the intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence to communicate your ideas and listen to the ideas of others.  Our program and its educational opportunities encourages students to develop the capacity to negotiate and navigate complex social and intellectual environments so Honors students are not just "the smartest ones in the room' but the most effective communicators and collaborators in the room.

Program Benefits

Honors students have the opportunity to become a part of a scholarly community consisting of faculty and students committed to the pursuit of intellectual inquiry and academic excellence. Benefits of membership in the Western State Colorado University Honors Program also include automatic eligibility for honors classes, use of the Honors Center and Computer Lab in Taylor Hall, participation in honors activities, priority registration and special recognition at graduation. Have questions? Contact a student currently in the Honors Program.

Admission Requirements

  • Students are invited to join the program as incoming first year students or in their first or second year of study at Western State Colorado University (transfer and upper-division students are considered on an individual basis). Admission is based on achieving an overall 3.5 GPA.
  • Students must successfully complete Honors 100, the Gateway Course, to receive full admission into the program. To remain in the program students must maintain a 3.5 GPA and complete a minimum of 21 credit hours of Honors courses. Those honor students who complete the 21 credit Honors curriculum are recognized at graduation.

Program Requirements

  • Honors students are expected to complete a minimum of 21 credit hours of Honors courses and to maintain an overall cumulative 3.500 grade point average in order to remain in the program.
  • The 21 credits of Honors courses are built into the 120 credit hours required to graduate from Western.
  • Students are also strongly recommended to take a minimum of one honors course per academic year to remain in good standing.

National Organizations

Western State Colorado University is a member of the National Collegiate Honors Council, the Western Regional Honors Council and the Rocky Mountain Honors Council.


PLEASE NOTE: Scholarships associated with academic programs usually have a specific scholarship application form that can easily be obtained by contacting that academic program's office or visiting that academic program's web page.

If you have any questions, please contact the Financial Aid office at 970.943.3085 or 800.876.5309.

 Dolezal, Gary Memorial Scholarship

Gary Dolezal Memorial Scholarship Available to:

Men and women from high school seniors to college seniors. Must have been involved in scouting program and attained rank of First Class Scout; must be a graduate of a Western Slope high school. Gunnison High School graduates who meet the criteria will be given first preference.

Provided by:

The family in memory of Gary Dolezal, who was an example of scouting, citizenship and scholarship.


Award depends upon funds available.


Complete and submit Western's Common Scholarship Application.

Selected by:

Gary Dolezal Scholarship Committee.



Professor of Biology
B.A., University of Vermont; M.A., Ph.D., University of Colorado.
Phone: (970) 943-3355
Office Location: Hurst Hall 222
Chair: Department of Communication Arts, Languages, and Literature; Professor of Communication Arts
B.A., St. Michael's College; M.A., State University of New York-Albany; Ph.D., University of Colorado.
Phone: (970) 943-3042
Office Location: Taylor Hall 218
Professor of History; Director of the Honors Program
B.A., University of Saskatchewan; M.A., Flinders University of South Australia; Ph.D., Tulane University.
Phone: (970) 943-7128
Office Location: Kelley Hall 225