Frequently Asked Questions

For questions pertaining to the admissions process, please check the admissions FAQ page.

Click on your question to get an answer:

Will being in the Honors College affect my plans to major in the field I choose?

A: The Honors College curriculum is completely independent of your major (at present, Honors College students are enrolled in 34 different majors!). You'll need to make sure to set aside time in your senior year for your senior project - but that's commonly part of the program for graduating with departmental honors anyway.

If I am in the Honors College will I have a better chance of getting into medical school?

A: Although acceptance into a Medical Program cannot be guaranteed (except for those in Scholars for Medicine), being an active member of the Honors College has many benefits. Honors College students certainly have an advantage over other students applying for medical school because they are more prepared to meet the growing demands expected of prospective applicants. Often, Honors College students have personal relationships with both staff and faculty who support their goals and aid in their achievements. In addition, Honors College students have the opportunity to gain the confidence which results from completing such an academically strong program.

What if the major I'm interested in has an honors program? Do I have to choose between that and the Honors College?

A: No. Many Honors College students are also in departmental honors programs, and many (but not all) of the students in departmental honors programs are also in the Honors College . In academic departments that offer departmental honors, students often take honors sections of courses in that major and carry out research or creative activities in that field. All of this is compatible with, but distinct from, the Honors College curriculum. If you are in both the Honors College and a departmental honors program that requires a senior project/thesis you will, however, need to do only one senior project.

I'm interested in WISE (Women in Science and Engineering). Which is better for me, WISE or the Honors College?

A: It depends. Whereas the Honors College program includes a diverse range of students (male as well as female) interested in the arts and humanities as well as science and engineering, WISE concentrates on providing a single-sex environment for young women in science and engineering who think that would be best for them. It's a matter of personal taste. The four years of seminar-based courses offered by the Honors College , is very different than the WISE program . The minimum admission requirements for WISE (a combined score of 1240 on the critical reading and quantitative SAT and a high school average of 91) are also different than the requirements for the Honors College .

Can I be in both WISE and the Honors College?

A: No, you can only be in one or the other. Generally, students are admitted to one of the programs, but not both. Even if a student were to be admitted to both WISE and the Honors College, she would need to choose between them.

Is there a minimum GPA to remain in the Honors College?

A: Yes. You are expected to maintain a GPA of 3.0 to remain in good standing.

Is it true that I will have more homework because I am an Honors student?

A: This is a common misconception. Honors courses are designed to give students an intellectually simulating college experience that requires them to analyze lessons in a different way than non-honors courses. Although the number and scale of assignments are not necessarily greater, a higher standard of quality is expected.

Will I only take classes with other Honors College students?

A: Although the Honors College classes and mini-course are only open to students within this program, they make up only about one quarter of your academic credits. All other classes will be taken with regular SBU students. This gives the HC students an opportunity to feel a sense of closeness and community with their fellow HC peers, while encouraging potential friendships outside of the Honors College as well.

I've heard that the Honors College curriculum essentially replaces the DEC. What is the DEC?

A: To graduate from the university, you need to do two things: complete the requirements for your chosen major (as determined by the faculty of that department), and satisfy an additional set of university requirements that are unrelated to your major. At Stony Brook, those university requirements are called the DEC (Diversified Education Curriculum). The DEC includes categories of courses covering the full range of the academic disciplines offered at the university. With a few exceptions, the Honors College curriculum replaces all of the requirements of the DEC.

Honors College courses are described as being in a ‘seminar' format. What does that mean?

A: They meet as small-enrollment classes (about 20 students), in a format that emphasizes discussion and student participation, as opposed to lectures. Instead of tests, Honors College courses involve quite a bit of reading, analysis, discussion, and critical writing. There is a great deal of interaction among the students and between the students and professors.

Why have an Honors College?

A: Beware of the difference between an honors program and a true Honors College . Honors programs typically do not offer a four-year series of dedicated seminars outside of a student's major. Nor do they typically offer the opportunity for housing as a group, or the four years of special advising, early course registration, cultural enrichment, and scholarships that characterize Stony Brook University 's Honors College .

What are the ‘minicourses'?

A: The minicourses are 1-credit ‘topics' courses taken each semester during the first two years in the Honors College. Honors College freshmen and sophomores each get to choose among a constantly changing set of minicourses - eight of them are offered per semester. They offer the opportunity to explore a diverse range of topics in small groups, with an average enrollment of 15 or 16.

Do I have to live on campus if I am in the Honors College?

A: Students who choose to live on-campus will receive priority housing and will reside in the same Residence Hall. Although some students choose to commute, they are still very much a part of the Honors College community. Students participate in the same events, campus organizations and courses regardless of their commuter status.

In which dorms do Honors College students live?

A: Honors College students are offered the opportunity to reside together in a residence hall dedicated to fostering a close-knit community of high-achieving students. Although they are free to live elsewhere or to commute from home, most Honors College students choose to stay there throughout their four years at Stony Brook.

What are the ‘Undergraduate Colleges', and how are they related to the Honors College?

A: The Undergraduate Colleges are a series of theme-oriented programs and living colleges that Stony Brook University has created to help freshmen make the transition to college. Although Toscanini, the Honors College residence hall, is part of ACH (College of Arts Culture and Humanities), the intense Honors College programs replace for them virtually all of the programs offered by ACH.

What is the Scholars for Medicine program?

A: The Scholars for Medicine program allows a small number of incoming freshmen to be admitted to Stony Brook's medical school straight out of high school. This is a serious commitment - both for the student and for the medical school. To learn more, click here.

Why is SBU’s Scholars for Medicine Program eight years and not six or seven?

A: Stony Brook University is committed to giving students the highest standard of education as possible. We feel that it advantageous to the student to complete a four-year undergraduate program to allow them to be better prepare for the training they will receive in the extremely competitive field of medicine. We believe that the undergraduate experience should be an opportunity to explore different interests. Making the most of such opportunities will result in a better educated individual and citizen.

If I am in The Scholars For Medicine Program, do I have to major in Pre-Med?

A: Like anyone interested in medical school, students who are accepted into the Scholars for Medicine Program can pursue any of Stony Brook’s more than 50 majors in the arts, and humanities, aw well as the sciences. The limited number of courses required by medical schools can be taken along with any major a student might choose.