Honors programs exist as a means of enhancing the educational experience of academically gifted, talented, and motivated students. Although various forms of honors programs exist within K–12 education, this entry focuses on the honors programs at postsecondary institutions, specifically 4-year colleges and universities. Characteristics of an honors program and honors students are discussed as well as effects of these kinds of programs.


All but the most and least selective postsecondary institutions in the United States have created honors programs within their academic offerings. Guided by institutionally specific admissions criteria, public 4-year institutions house most honors programs, but public 2-year colleges have rapidly increased their offering during the last two decades. Honors programs typically provide courses within the core curriculum at an advanced level, but others also ...

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