Honors Program

Penn State Harrisburg offers two honors programs for students who are highly motivated to achieve academic excellence and want more out of their college education. The two programs are the Capital College Honors Program and the University’s Schreyer Honors College. Both programs provide students with special honors courses in a wide variety of disciplines, supervised research opportunities, and support for international travel and study abroad. The Honors Programs aim to build a learning community that provides unique learning experience for motivated students.

Mission of the Honors Programs

The Honors Programs at Penn State Harrisburg are a learning community of students who have demonstrated a commitment to learning and distinguished themselves through high academic achievement in various academic programs. The Honors community, in partnership with faculty, staff and other stakeholders, seeks to:

  • Explore sources of knowledge beyond the standard curriculum while maintaining the highest standards of excellence in all academic endeavors.
  • Develop both interdisciplinary and global awareness, leading to the ability to understand and collaborate with individuals having different intellectual and cultural perspectives.
  • Actively engage with diverse college and local communities in the discovery and application of knowledge to benefit these communities.
  • Conduct all activities with the highest standards of personal integrity.


In order to enact the mission statement, the Honors Programs at Penn State Harrisburg have adopted the following objectives so that each honors student will:

  • Develop and implement a rigorous program of study that will include the opportunity for enhancing personal creativity.
  • Write an honors thesis or pursue a scholarly creative project as part of their program of study.
  • Incorporate an interdisciplinary perspective within their program of study.
  • Seek to develop an understanding of cultural differences inherent in, but not limited to, international relations.
  • Seek out extra-curricular opportunities in collaboration with School and College administrators that will enhance intellectual and interpersonal skills, including the ability to work well in teams and to take on leadership roles.
  • Apply their knowledge and critical thinking skills while enhancing personal growth by seeking out campus leadership roles.
  • Develop and implement a service learning plan that applies knowledge gained in an academic setting to the solution of community problems.

Vision Statement

Graduates of the Penn State Harrisburg Honors Programs will become:

  • Dedicated life-long learners who have developed a love for acquiring new knowledge.
  • Engaged citizens who take a leadership role in the affairs of their community.
  • Creative problem-solvers who apply their knowledge to the betterment of society
  • Individuals who adhere to the highest standards of ethics and conduct themselves with integrity in all aspects of their lives.

Capital College Honors Program

The Capital College Honors Program is designed to meet intellectual needs of highly motivated students.  The Program focuses on first- and second-year students.  At the end of the sophomore year, students who successfully complete fifteen or more honors credits while maintaining a good standing in the Program will be awarded the Certificate of Achievement.  Sophomores who meet eligibility requirements of Schreyer Honors College are encouraged to apply to Schreyer Honors College at the end of sophomore year.  Students who do not wish to enter Schreyer Honors College after sophomore year could still participate in honors related courses as they pursue their degree if their cumulative GPA is 3.4.

Program Requirements

First and Second Years

  • Complete at least three honors credits per semester or six honors credits per year.
  • Maintain a 3.3 cumulative GPA.
  • Be active in the Program by participating in at least one honors event per semester.
  • Certificate of Achievement will be awarded at the end of the sophomore year for students who complete the above requirements and also complete a total of fifteen honors credits during their first and second years. Students who are admitted to the Honors Program during sophomore year must complete a total of nine honors credits, rather than fifteen.


  • Only students with a 3.4 cumulative GPA or recommended by a Penn State Harrisburg full-time faculty member are allowed to continue in the Program after their second year.
  • Rising juniors who meet Schreyer Honors College’s eligibility requirements should apply to be admitted to Schreyer Honors College.

Junior and Senior Years

  • Complete a minimum of fourteen honors credits, including HONOR 301H (Knowledge in Society, three credits), HONOR 493H (Service Learning, one to three credits), HONOR 494M/495H (Thesis Preparation, three credits combined), and HONOR 496H (Thesis, three credits).
  • Maintain a 3.3 cumulative GPA.
  • Complete and present an approved honors thesis prior to graduation.
  • Be active in the Program by participating in at least one honors event per semester.


Applicants must:

  • Have a 3.5 cumulative GPA or be nominated by a full-time faculty member of Penn State Harrisburg.  Incoming first-year applicants must have a 3.5 GPA (out of 4.0 scale) or 1,650 on the SAT.
  • Have desire and motivation to learn.
  • Have good writing skills especially for third-year applicants.
  • Have at least two semesters remaining at Penn State Harrisburg for first- and second-year applicants, and have at least three semesters remaining at Penn State Harrisburg for third-year applicants.  Seniors should contact the Program before applying.

How to Apply

Complete the appropriate online form during the application period (see below).

Before you begin, be sure to have the following prepared; the form cannot be saved:

  • Two-page, double-spaced, personal statement, addressing at least the following:
    • one to two achievements,
    • career and/or personal goals, and
    • how the Capital College Honors Program can help you achieve your goals.
    Your personal statement must be original.
  • Name and contact information for two references.
  • Incoming first-year students must submit at least one letter of reference from either a high school teacher or guidance counselor. 
  • Transfer students must submit at least one letter of reference from a college professor.

Schreyer Honors College

The Schreyer Honors College at Penn State Harrisburg is the University’s Honors Program.  Like the Capital College Honors Program, the Schreyer Honors College is designed to meet the intellectual needs of highly motivated students. Prospective first-year Penn State Harrisburg students can apply to the Honors College through incoming first-year applications, and current Penn State Harrisburg students can join via gateway applications.

Program Requirements

First and Second Year Students

Review the full requirements at shc.psu.edu/future/apply

Juniors and Seniors

The major requirements include:
  • Complete a minimum of fourteen honors credits during junior and senior years. The honors credits must include HONOR 301H (Knowledge in Society, 3 credits), HONOR 493H (Service Learning, 1 credit), HONOR 494M/495H (Thesis Preparation, 3 credits combined) and HONOR 496H (Thesis, 3 credits).
  • Submit a thesis proposal one year prior to graduation (must be approved by thesis readers and an honors advisor by deadline).
  • Complete and present an approved honors thesis prior to graduation.
  • Submit an advisor-approved Academic Plan on time.
  • Attend at least one honors event per semester.
  • Maintain a semester and cumulative GPA of 3.4.
  • Attend Honors Orientation in the fall (for new honors students only).
For other requirements, see www.shc.psu.edu. 


Gateway Applicants

Gateway applicants must:

  • Be in their fourth semester standing, have been at Penn State for at least two semesters, and have four full semesters remaining.
  • Have a 3.7 cumulative GPA at the time of application.
  • Earn a 3.5 GPA at the application semester for rising juniors and a 3.7 GPA at the application semester for rising sophomores.

If you are a rising junior and you do not meet all of the eligibility requirements of gateway applications, you should seriously consider applying to the Capital College Honors Program.  If you are admitted to the Capital College Honors Program, you will have another opportunity to apply to Schreyer Honors College at Penn State Harrisburg through expedited applications when you are a rising senior; contact the Capital College Honors Program at hbghonors@psu.edu for more information.

First-year Applicants

For incoming first-year applications, see shc.psu.edu/future/apply

Application Requirements for Current Penn State Students

For gateway applications:
  • Complete an online application form at shc.psu.edu/future/gateway.
  • Submit an essay. (See essay questions at the application website.)
  • Provide a reference.

For expedited applications, contact the Capital College Honors Program at hbghonors@psu.edu.

For incoming first year applications, see shc.psu.edu/future/apply.

For transfer students, you must apply to be in the Capital College Honors Program before you are eligible to apply to Schreyer Honors College.

Application Periods and Forms

Program Student Status Deadline Form
Capital College

Incoming first year student

Apr. 21 (if requesting on-campus housing)

Apr. 30 (if no on-campus housing requested)

Decisions will be made by May 31.

First Year Student application

Transfer student

July 15

Transfer or Current Student application

Current Penn State Harrisburg student

For Fall: Apr. 30

For Spring: Dec. 7

Schreyer Honors College

see shc.psu.edu/future/apply

Privileges of Being Honors Students

Honors students who maintain good standing in the Honors Programs enjoy the following privileges:

  • Advanced registration
  • Honors courses, including interdisciplinary seminars and current issues
  • Honors options, wherein students “honorize” courses and work one-on-one with faculty
  • Opportunities to work one-on-one with faculty on honors theses or creative projects
  • Monthly Honors events, including trips, guest speakers, and research discussions with faculty
  • Service learning for credit
  • Honors Student Club
  • Access to the Honors Lounge in the Library
  • Eligibility for the Harter Family Trustee Scholarships, awarded each fall to students in need of financial assistance
  • Eligibility for the J. Alex Hartzler Program Fund in Honor of Dr. Jefferson Hartzler, supporting those who wish to travel abroad as part of their education
  • The International Travel Fund, currently awarding a minimum of $500 for international travel/study abroad
  • Priority funding for research and conference travel
  • Guaranteed space for on-campus housing for four years. (A request for a housing contract must be received by Housing and Food Services by their deadline and through their normal process.)

The most important reason for joining honors is to become a part of a community of student scholars who study subjects deeply and hence set themselves apart from other students with whom they must compete either in the market place or for graduate education.

For More Information

Mailing address:

The Honors Programs at Penn State Harrisburg
C-114R Olmsted Building
777 West Harrisburg Pike
Middletown, PA 17057