Dig Deeper and Make Connections
The Honors Community brings together highly motivated students from all majors across campus. Our vibrant, interdependent community values inclusion, creative problem-solving, critical thinking, productive collaboration, and the pursuit of intellectual passions. This honors program provides students with enriching academic challenges and learning opportunities through social activities, service, coursework, and research. By building stronger connections with other students, faculty, and staff, Wartburg’s honors students develop the critical skills necessary to address the complex problems of the twenty-first century.

Honors Director:   Dr. Rachel Clark  |   honors@wartburg.edu  |  319-352-8655

What are the additional benefits of the program?

The opportunity to live with other honors students in a living-learning community.

Interaction with other motivated students who enjoy intellectual challenges.

The Academic Scholars Project Requirement – Typically completed in a student’s senior year, this experience focuses on research or some other creative endeavor (the format of which will depend upon the nature of the project, one’s academic major program requirements, and the guiding principles of one’s academic discipline).

Smaller class sizes (typically 18 or fewer) allow for more in-depth exploration of coursework.

Seminars offered only to Honors Community students.

Special programming open only to students in the program.

High school students are eligible to apply for the Honors Community if they meet at least ONE of the following criteria:

  • are graduating in the top 10 percent of their high school class 
  • have an ACT composite score of 26 or above 
  • have a high school GPA of 3.5 or above

International students come from many different educational systems and possess different kinds of qualifications. We encourage all international students who value an honors education to apply. Transfer students who have earned a college GPA of 3.5 or above or who have a letter of support also may apply.

Interested students who do not meet any of the above requirements for application may apply to the program with a letter of support from an individual who can speak to his or her intellectual promise.The deadlines for incoming first-years are as follows:

    • Priority Consideration: May 15
    • Final Deadline: May 31

Applications for first-year students may still be considered after May 31, but after that date we cannot guarantee housing in the Honors living/learning community in Clinton Hall. 

  • Transfer student applications are considered on a rolling basis.

Freshmen live with other incoming honors students in Clinton Hall as part of a living/learning community during the first year.

Opportunities Seminar SCH 115 (first year): A 0.25 credit course taken in Winter Term.

Two Scholars Contract courses: Students convert two 200-level or above courses to Scholars Contract courses by completing a project in addition to normal coursework. Students complete the normal coursework for the grade and the extra project for the Scholars designation on the course. A Scholars contract is submitted to the director of the Scholars Program. Upon completion of the contract, Scholars credit is awarded and noted on the transcript.

Yearly team-based service projects with individual reflection culminating in a service portfolio.

Freshman Seminar SCH 101 substitutes for IS 101, which is a required course for all first-year students.

Sophomore Seminar SCH 202 substitutes for IS 201, which is a required course for all second-year students.

SCH 401 Senior Seminar: A 0.25 credit course taken in the fall of one’s senior year that is taught jointly by faculty across a spectrum of disciplines.

Participation in the Wartburg Scholars Program culminates in an Academic Scholars Project. This is typically completed in a student’s senior year and focuses either on an independent or collaborative research project or some other creative endeavor, depending upon the student’s interests. The format of the project is highly dependent upon the nature of the project, one’s academic major program requirements, and the guiding principles of one’s academic discipline. Students present their work at the annual Research, Internship, and Creative Endeavor Day (RICE Day) and submit a written thesis. In their junior or senior year, students identify research mentors and begin preparation of their proposals. Proposals are due to the program committee during Fall Term of their senior year. 

Examples of past Academic Scholars Projects:

Derek Norton, Biology
Effect of Opposite-sex Pheromones on Immediate Early Gene Expression in Castrated and Intact Male Goldent Hamsters
Mentor: Samantha Larimer Bousquet

Serena Ugoretz, English
The Young Latino American Dream
Mentor: Zak Montgomery

Brian Vachta, Mathematics/Physics
From Source to Detector: Research in Astronomy, Photometry, and the Atmosphere
Mentor: Charles Figura

Ngaire Honey, Spanish/International Relations
Educating Afro-Brazilian Girls for Citizenship in Bahia, Brazil
Mentor: Brett Billet

Allison Milner, Spanish
A Memoir of Sorts
Mentor: Amy Nolan

Abbigail Mueller, Music Therapy
The Musical Moment:  An Analysis of Paul Hindemith’s Bassoon Sonate
Mentor: Gregory Morton

Jon Juett, Mathematics/Computer Science
John Deere Driving Simulation
Mentor: John Zelle

Rebecca Fishbune, Community Sociology/Psychology
Knowledge of and Social Distance from Autism Spectrum Disorders
Mentor: Shaheen Munir

Scholars Contract courses provide students with a unique way to expand upon learning opportunities within the framework of a non-Scholars course. By contracting a course, students can add a Scholars designation to the class through the completion of an additional project that allows them to either examine course content in more depth or expand upon course material. The Scholars Contract is an agreement between the student, faculty member teaching the class, and the Scholars Program director. Any 200-level or above classroom-based course may be contracted for Scholars credit, but this does not include research, thesis, or independent study courses. 

A Scholars Contract has no impact on a student’s overall course grade. The contract is honored and Scholars credit is awarded if the terms of the contract have been met by the specified due date and the student completes the contracted course with a grade of B or better. Scholars credit is not awarded for contracted courses in which a student receives an incomplete or otherwise fails to complete the Scholars Contract per the terms outlined. 

This is an endeavor that requires time and effort on the part of the student and faculty member supervising the contracted work. Faculty who work with students on Scholars Contract projects do so out of their own free time with no additional compensation except for pleasure gained from working with curious and dedicated students. As such, Scholars students should demonstrate respect for this process and faculty time by being prompt with contract work and meeting deadlines per the terms of the contract.


Rachel Ellen Clark

Associate Professor of English

Brian McQueen

Asst. Professor of Sociology

Leilani Zart

Associate Professor of Chemistry