Joe C. and Carole Kerr McClendon Honors College 

David L. Boren Hall, 1300 Asp Avenue
Norman, OK 73019-0385
Phone: (405) 325-5291
FAX: (405) 325-7109

Honors Building

general information

Administrative Officers 

David H. Ray, Ph.D., Dean and Carol Elizabeth Young Chair in Honors
Ralph R. Hamerla, Ph.D., Associate Dean and Reach for Excellence Professor of Honors
Melanie L. Wright, Ph.D., Director of Honors Curriculum
Lori Kemmet, Coordinator for Honors College Recruitment
Brian Johnson, Ph.D., Director, Honors College Writing Assistant Program
Anne Hedrick, M.S., Director, OU Scholars Program

Faculty Roster 

Professor Ray; Associate Professors Alpers, Dallam, Ehrhardt, Hamerla, Lifset, Minks, Tracy; Assistant Professors Johnson, Mains, Prichard. 

General Information 

The Honors College Curriculum at the University of Oklahoma provides academically talented students with the opportunity to develop their intellectual potential to the fullest. The Honors College has its own faculty but also draws from the best research and teaching faculty from all undergraduate colleges of the university to offer an enhanced curriculum at both the lower and upper divisions. Students can enroll in the small sections (generally 19-22) of honors-designated general education courses, interdisciplinary Honors classes developed by the Honors faculty, team-taught colloquia, the Oxford University summer program, and independent study and research with faculty in the student’s major discipline. The Honors College also encourages active participation in OU’s Education Abroad program, the Oklahoma Scholar-Leadership Enrichment Program seminars taught by nationally recognized scholars, and the Feaver-MacMinn Seminar. 

The Honors College does not confer a degree. It confers the cum laude designation upon graduation. Students in the Honors College can major in any of the academic disciplines offering undergraduate bachelor’s degrees at the University of Oklahoma. Those who complete the Honors College curricular requirements and achieve a final cumulative grade point average of 3.40 or higher will earn a degree designation of either cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude. This is the most prestigious undergraduate degree designation attainable at the University and is indicated on both the final transcript and the diploma. 

The Honors College also administers a talent-based academic scholarship program for direct-from-high school freshmen, the OU Scholars Program. Qualified applicants are awarded one of five levels of scholarships: Regents Scholar, Award of Excellence, Distinguished Scholar, Valedictorian/Salutatorian Scholar, and University Scholar. 


Any student interested in applying for the Honors College must fulfill the following requirements:

  • have already been accepted into the University of Oklahoma. We cannot process your application without an accepted common application on file. Please visit Admissions & Recruitment to apply for the University of Oklahoma.
  • submit a 400-500-word essay based on one of the provided topics.

Freshmen entering the University of Oklahoma are eligible to apply to the Honors College if they have

  • an ACT Composite of 30 or higher OR a SAT Critical Reading and Mathematics Total of 1330 or higher. The Honors College does not accept superscores of either test.
  • an unweighted high school GPA of 3.75 OR rank in the top 10% of graduates of their high school class.

Transfer students entering the University of Oklahoma are eligible to apply to the Honors College if they have

  • earned 15 or more hours of total transfer credit
  • maintained a transfer GPA of 3.40 or higher

Students currently enrolled at the University of Oklahoma are eligible to apply to the Honors College if they have

  • earned 15 or more hours of OU credit.
  • maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.40 or higher

Final admission into the Honors College is determined by evaluation of the Honors College application form, which includes a written essay of 400-500 words. 

Continued good standing in the Honors College requires an OU retention/combined retention grade point average of 3.40 and progress towards completion of the curricular requirements of the Honors College. 

Honors Curriculum 

Honors courses are intended to be included in the hours earned toward completion of the student’s undergraduate degree.

Graduating with Honors requires: 

  • at least 9 hours of Honors credit which can include Honors designated courses, study abroad programs sponsored by OU, and OSLEP, Feaver-MacMinn, Puterbaugh or Neustadt seminars
  • Hon 2973, Perspectives on the American experience, 3 hours
  • Hon 3993, Colloquium, 3 hours
  • Honors Reading & Research:  All students MUST take 3 hours of 3980 (Research).  Honors Reading (3960) is usually waived if the senior capstone seminar is research oriented. Some departments do require reading and more research hours (e.g., Biology). Please contact your major department for details. Reading and research do not count for honors elective credit. 
  • C or higher in all HON classes
     filing an honors thesis (the end result of the honors reading and research project or other thesis-worthy work) with the Honors Office. 
    both an OU Retention GPA and a Combined Retention GPA of 
  • 3.40-3.59 for cum laude 
  • 3.60-3.79 for magna cum laude 
  • 3.80-4.00 for summa cum laude


special programs

Special Programs 

Medical Humanities Scholars Program

The Medical Humanities Scholars Program is a highly selective, sequential BA-MD program that prepares 5-8 incoming high school seniors per year for a career in medicine through an enhanced pre-medical curriculum (MH Minor) that includes extensive coursework in history, literature, fine arts, philosophy, ethics, sociology, anthropology, economics, spirituality, and politics as they relate to health, disease, and the practice of medicine. MH Scholars are expected to develop proficiency in foreign spoken language. Students also engage in service learning and clinical experiences to develop an appreciation for the biopsychosocial dimensions of health and healing. Upon admission into the program, students receive provisional acceptance at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, contingent upon their GPA and MCAT scores.

Medical Humanities Minor

Any Honors-eligible (3.4 GPA or higher) student at the University of Oklahoma may minor in the medical humanities by completing 18 credit hours of coursework focused on a specific area within the medical humanities (history of medicine; bioethics; medical anthropology; literature and medicine; cross-cultural perspectives on health and disease; etc.), on spoken foreign languages, and on non-western cultural traditions. The goal is for students to prepare for the health professions and the multi-cultural clinical context by gaining a broad vision of the social, cultural, historical, economic, political, ethical, and spiritual factors shaping health, disease, and the delivery of healthcare.

Informal Reading Groups

Each semester, the Honors College sponsors a program of informal reading groups.  The groups meet just one hour per week, with 10-15 students and one faculty member from the Honors College, to discuss about 50 pages of reading from specific books. The books cover a very wide range of topics, and most have been recommended by Honors students.  To participate, the only commitment is that each student makes a good-faith effort to do the reading and come to the group meeting as often as possible, with the understanding there may be one or two weeks when students need to do other things.  This is a great chance to meet other Honors students with similar interests.  The goals of the program can be summarized as "maximum information and enjoyment, with zero stress."  

Presidential Teaching Fellows in Honors

Presidential Teaching Fellows in Honors are those faculty members who excel in all their professional activities and who relate those activities to the students they teach and mentor. OU faculty who have a demonstrated record as excellent teachers are selected to teach courses in the Honors College for a period of two years.


Honors students have the opportunity to spend a summer studying at one of the world’s premier universities. Students begin their studies in Norman and then travel to England, completing the class at Brasenose College, Oxford University. Unlike most American programs at Oxford, our students work in tutorials with distinguished Oxford professors, the traditional teaching format at Oxford and Cambridge for centuries. 


the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program offers financial assistance for scholarly and creative projects under the mentorship of a faculty member.  Dozens of research projects are funded each year so that undergraduates may undertake ambitious and exciting research endeavors. This competitive program is open to all University of Oklahoma main campus and Health Science Center students who compete for research grants of up to $1,000 each semester.  Students and faculty from across the University discover the benefits of these hands-on research opportunities in laboratories, studios, libraries, and field sites.  


David L. Boren House is a housing option for Honors students. The academic offices for the Honors College and the OU Scholars Program are housed in this residence hall. Faculty offices, seminar rooms, study areas, a computer lab, TV rooms, and a courtyard are also a part of the facility. Non-Honors students can contract to live in this residence hall. 


All Honors students are members of the Honors Student Association (HSA). The HSA is an official student organization at OU. As such, it receives funds from the University of Oklahoma Student Association to sponsor projects of interest to honors students and to the University community at large. 

National Fellowships and Scholarships 

The Honors College works with Honors students to prepare them for such prestigious competitions as the Marshall Scholarship, the Goldwater Scholarship, the Mellon Fellowship, the Rhodes Scholarship, the Truman Scholarship, the national-level Washington Center Internship Program, and other national competitions. See National Scholarship Information for more details. 

OU Scholars program

OU Scholars Program 

Cate 1, room 125
David L. Boren Hall, room 160
Norman OK 73019
Phone: (405) 325-2851
FAX: (405) 325-7191
Anne Hedrick, M.S., Director of OU Scholars Program
Dana Anderson, M.Ed., Senior Academic Counselor
Hannah Oxsen, M.Ed., Academic Counselor 
Holly Thomas, M.S., Academic Counselor 
Jonathan Fincher, M.S., Academic Counselor 
Sarah Flanagan, M.Music, Academic Counselor

The OU Scholars Program at the McClendon Honors College is the largest source of academic scholarship funding for direct-from-high school freshmen entering the University of Oklahoma. Qualified applicants are awarded one of five levels of scholarship ranging from one year to four year awards based upon both a standardized test score (ACT or SAT) and high school performance (as measured by either the unweighted high school grade point average or high school class ranking) criterion.  Scholars receive the scholarship in the form of a resident or non-resident tuition waiver based upon the student's residency status. The program provides a unique combination of services to facilitate first-year Scholars’ successful transition into the OU community.  The academic advising of Scholars at the University of Oklahoma is conducted by a team of professional advisors during Scholars Enrollment as well as during the fall and spring semesters of the students’ freshman year.


The academic advising of OU, National Merit and National Award Scholars is conducted by the OU Scholars Program advising staff of six professional advisors during the freshman year. Scholars who have declared an Allied Health pre-professional major will be advised in the OU Scholars Program until they transfer to the OU Health Sciences Center or change their major.    

The academic advisors for Scholars are interested in the overall welfare of each student they advise.  They understand the concerns of academically-talented students and the various issues involved in advising and counseling those students.  Scholars meet with their advisor to plan their course work and obtain information about such things as scholarships, degree requirements, registration procedures, and University policies. The advisor is also available to assist students with major exploration, study skills, time management, stress management, and coping with personal crises that may arise as they adjust to college life.


The OU Scholars staff conducts a Scholars Enrollment Program at David L. Boren Hall during the months of May through July to fit the specialized needs of Scholars. Students will have the option of attending a one-day program at which time they will be individually assessed, advised, and enrolled. Students who wish to advise and enroll remotely will be able to schedule a phone appointment option. The program is informal, highly interactive and serves to introduce Scholars and their parents to the University community.   


All OU Scholars participate in an orientation session held on the weekend prior to the start of classes in August. Presented by Christina Norman, OU Scholars Program Director, the sessions are designed to assist Scholars in making a successful transition from high school to college. Students learn techniques and strategies for managing time, dealing with stress, and problem solving in a new environment. Critical behaviors of successful students and campus resources are highlighted. The workshop is interactive and participatory, including lectures, discussions and exercises.

Scholar Privileges

Early Enrollment privileges 

OU Scholars are allowed to enroll early during the pre-enrollment periods for the spring semester of their freshman year and the fall semester of their sophomore year. National Merit and Regents Scholars may enroll early each of their undergraduate semesters.   

Free OU Departmental Advanced Standing Exams 

OU Departmental Advanced Standing Exams are offered by various OU departments to allow a student to earn advanced standing course credit. Fees for the OU departmental advanced standing exams are waived for Scholars. Scholars who wish to take these exams may pick up an exam application form in the OU Scholars Program office. Please note that these advanced standing exams are not the same as CLEP exams. Scholars must pay to take CLEP exams. 

Retention Scholarships 

Each year a number of Retention Scholarships are awarded to current undergraduates at The University of Oklahoma for outstanding academic performance during their freshman year.  These awards are coordinated by the OU Scholars Selection Committee.

Recipients of the University Scholar award and other students who did not receive a university-wide four-year scholarship are eligible to apply; however, students receiving OHLAP or Sooner Promise are not eligible.  In addition, students must 1) be direct-from-high school admits to OU during the previous calendar year, 2) have maintained full-time (12 hours or more) enrollment status at OU for the academic year, and 3) have a 3.80 or better cumulative GPA at the end of the spring semester to be considered for one of the Retention Scholarships.

Students may apply for Retention Scholarships by filling out the OU Common Scholarship Application available online prior to the deadline.  The selection committee meets in June to determine the recipients of these distinguished three-year cash awards.