Honors Program

Conduct research in your field and become part of an intellectual community dedicated to academic leadership on campus.


The Honors Program encourages Buena Vista University’s best and brightest students to develop their academic talents beyond the regular curriculum through specialized courses and an extensive research project under the direction of a faculty mentor. Participation in the program cultivates critical thinking skills and the development of a sophisticated intellectual disposition.

"Partnering a unique, challenging classroom experience with the opportunity to perform research with a faculty member, students in the Honors Program routinely exceed even their own expectations in what they can accomplish in their time at BVU."

Dr. Thomas Bonagura, associate professor of biology


Students are selected for the program based on academic achievement and potential, and by displaying an interest in completing research at the undergraduate level. Students must have an ACT composite score of 28 (SAT combined of 1300) or higher, along with one of the two criteria below, in order to qualify for the Honors program:

  • 28 ACT or higher
  • High school rank in top 10 percent
  • 3.75 grade point average


  • An enriched intellectual experience
  • Priority registration for classes
  • $500 to support research expenses
  • Program credit at graduation and a permanent designation on their academic transcript (for students who complete the program)
  • $2,500 travel stipend to be used for credit-bearing travel expenses (for students enrolled in the All College Honors track)


Making and sharing discoveries

Whether you want to learn more about amino acids or art history, ecology or econometrics, your honors research project is what you want it to be. Whatever your passion, your faculty mentor will equip you with the tools you need to design and execute your study. Honors research is your opportunity to make discoveries for yourself and to teach others what you have learned.

“Graduating from the Honors Program is an achievement to be proud of, but finding out what you are truly capable of is the real reward.”

Jacob Simonsen, biology major
Track 1: All College Honors

A research sequence and explorations courses. Students will also receive a $2,500 travel stipend to be used for a travel experience of their choosing. First-year students should plan to pursue this track.

Track 2: Honors Research

This track consists of the research sequence only. The Honors Research track may be a good choice if you are a transfer student, or if your major requires a large number of credit hours.