Honors Program

The VCUarts Qatar Honors Program is designed for those students who are academically strong and looking for an opportunity for enhanced learning and intellectual stimulation. Experiences gained through the Honors Program provide the foundation for advanced academic success and set the stage for lifelong learning.

The Honors Program fosters innovative exploration of yourself and your talents, as well as the changing world around you. From engaging discussions with VCUarts Qatar’s finest faculty members, to interactive multidisciplinary courses, to hands-on research projects, the Honors Program offers opportunities for every student to discover his or her own interests.

The VCUarts Qatar Honors Program is affiliated with the VCU Honors College at Richmond. Students accepted into the VCUarts Qatar Honors Program are automatically accepted into the VCU Honors College but they must apply to each separately.

Entering the VCUarts Qatar Honors Program

Entry to the VCUarts Qatar Honors Program is by invitation only. Students interested in applying need to speak with a faculty member and ask for a letter of recommendation into the program.

Students from all design majors, as well as the painting, printmaking, and art history programs, are able to enter the honors program if they meet the criteria. To be eligible, students must:

  • have a minimum 3.5 Grade Point Average (GPA);
  • submit a letter of endorsement from a VCUarts Qatar faculty member; and
  • complete the application and essay (available on the VCU Honors College website), submitting one copy online to the VCU Honors College and one printed copy to the coordinator of the VCUarts Qatar Honors Program, Dr. Byrad Yyelland.

Students may apply for entry into the VCUarts Qatar Honors Program during the second semester of their freshman year or the first semester of their sophomore year and must apply to both the VCUarts Qatar Honors Program and the VCU Honors College.

The Program Curriculum

The Honors curriculum has evolved over time. The program required 18 honors credits until 2012, but as of September 2012 that number has increased to 24. Eighteen of these credits are in Core Education Program (CORE) courses required for all students. The list below identifies the CORE honors courses, all of which are three-credit courses.

  • UNIV 112 – Focused Inquiry II
  • UNIV 200 – Writing and Rhetoric
  • ENGL 215 – Textual Analysis
  • ENGL 388 - Writing in the Workplace
  • PHYS 107 – Wonders of Technology
  • SOCY 100 – General Sociology

In addition to the 18 core credits, students are required to complete three credits in their major.

  • Art History: Art Historical Methods
  • Fashion Design: Business of Design
  • Graphic Design: Business of Design
  • Interior Design courses: Business of Design
  • Painting and Printmaking: Concepts and Issues (2 credits rather than 3)

Honors students may fulfill the remaining honors credits, to achieve a total of 24, in any combination of the following courses:

General Education courses:

  • Art History Survey II
  • Honors-Only Topics (when offered)
  • Introduction to Contemporary Math

Courses in the major:

  • Senior Seminar (capstone)
  • Senior Studio (capstone)
  • Senior Design Studio II (capstone)

The program offers two additional ways for students to earn honors credit:

First, students may work with a willing faculty member to develop an honors component in a course that does not already have an approved component. This is known as a non-honors-to-honors course contract. Students can earn a maximum of six credits with this option.

Second, students have the option of developing an Honors Independent Study and presenting it to a faculty member. Should the faculty member agree to work with the student in supervising and grading the work, and should the contract be approved by the VCUarts Qatar Honors Program coordinator and the VCU Honors College, the student may earn a maximum of nine independent-study credits, thus potentially capitalizing on unique study opportunities that might develop external to the honors curriculum.

Maintaining Honors Status

In order to continue as a member of the VCUarts Qatar Honors Program, students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher, as well as enroll in at least one honors course or module each academic year. If your cumulative GPA drops below a 3.5, the Honors Program will place you on honors probation to allow you one semester to pull up your cumulative GPA, provided it is mathematically possible for you to do so. If it is not mathematically possible to do so or if you fail to pull up your cumulative GPA to a 3.5 or higher during your probationary semester, you will be notified that you are no longer a member of The Honors College.

Graduating With Honors

In order to graduate with honors, students must meet the following criteria:

  • 24 honors credits
  • 3.5 overall GPA (including every course attempted)
  • 3.2 honors GPA (including every honors course attempted)
  • Successful completion and submission of an honors dossier.

The dossier is a form of “capstone or thesis project (and is) one of the most pervasive characteristics of honors education” (Schuman 50). (

Students in the VCUarts Qatar Honors Program who have completed the rigorous course requirements and maintained an active role in the Honors Program are eligible to graduate with University Honors. In order to earn this distinction, you must adhere to the following four guidelines established by the Honors Council: (should there be a fourth heading below Byrad?)

Cumulative and Honors GPA

To graduate with University Honors, you must have at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA and 3.2 GPA in honors courses. This is a non-negotiable requirement.

When calculating your GPA, there is no rounding. The number of quality points is divided by the number of credits attempted and the quotient must be greater than or equal to 3.5. Your GPA is calculated by factoring all courses attempted at VCU; the “repeated course option” does not apply. If a course is retaken, both the original and the subsequent grades are used in the calculation of the GPA.

Standard of Excellence

As an Honors student, you are expected to achieve a standard of excellence in general education as well as in your major field. Your grades and course selection in your major field should reflect an ongoing quest for advanced study and intellectual ability.

Honors Course Work

Current honors students who wish to keep track of their honors requirements should print out and use the graduation worksheet appropriate for their semester of entry. These worksheets can be found below under Honors course work.