Find Your Way Forward

Our Honors Programs

As a nationally renowned community of Christian liberal arts learning, IWU’s John Wesley Honors College offers eager, inquisitive students the rare opportunity to pursue academic excellence aimed at cultivating discernment, character, and a creative passion for God’s redemptive work in the world. The goal of a JWHC education is to transform how our graduates think and live so that, whatever career they eventually pursue, they will do so as an expression of a broader and deeper life calling that embodies God’s truth, goodness, and beauty.

Students participate in the John Wesley Honors College through one of three honors programs:

John Wesley Scholars

John Wesley Scholars enter the Honors College as freshmen, fulfill their general education requirements by completing the Honors Humanities major, and have opportunities to participate in spiritual formation and cultural enrichment.

Luther Lee Scholars

Luther Lee Scholars are incoming freshmen who exhibit potential for intercultural leadership and come from backgrounds underrepresented in higher education. Like John Wesley Scholars, they fulfill their general education requirements by completing the Honors Humanities major but do so as part of a comprehensive co-curricular program of intercultural learning with the IWU’s Intercultural and Global Office.

Mary C. Dodd Honors Students

Mary C. Dodd Honors Students generally enter the Honors College as collegiate sophomores or juniors and pursue a condensed version of the honors humanities curriculum. This coursework fulfills many of the general education requirements and culminates in an Honors Humanities minor.

Our Honors Humanities Curriculum

Our groundbreaking Honors Humanities major offers a unique general education curriculum, which provides preparation for a more holistic and meaningful integration of a student’s major field of study into his or her faith and life. Because the Honors Humanities major fulfills their general education requirements, John Wesley Scholars and Luther Lee Scholars have plenty of flexibility in their coursework to permit pursuits such as additional majors or minors, studying abroad, intercollegiate athletics, and/or musical performance groups.

At the heart of the Honors Humanities major is a sequence of Christian Liberal Learning and Life Calling Seminars focused on life’s big questions (What is truth? What is the good life? What is beauty? What is humanity? Who is our neighbor? How then shall we live?). Ultimately, every human being—whether consciously or not—lives his or her life as a response to these fundamental questions. In the course of these seminars, students explore the nature of these big questions, consider ways historic Christianity and our contemporary culture have dealt with them, and develop the skills of analysis and discernment necessary to become thoughtful agents of God’s truth, goodness, and love.  

Through Honors Humanities, students likewise gain a strong interdisciplinary grasp of how history and culture have shaped our present age so they can think more critically about contemporary issues within their broader contexts. Unique coursework devoted to rhetoric, writing, Scripture, and classical literature nurtures a reflective imagination and a capacity to read texts, people, situations, and events charitably and insightfully.

Working collaboratively with faculty mentors, students also hone their analytical and communication skills either by developing their own research, creative, or service-learning projects or by contributing to a faculty-led project.

Finally, students discover how to translate their classroom learning into the habits of their everyday lives through a series of Honors Practica in Christian Calling (Called to Love, Creativity, Contemplation, Reconciliation, and Social Holiness). Christian liberal arts learning is about developing an intentional and holistic way of life. By learning spiritual disciplines and personal practices that have animated the lives of many great Christians through the centuries, the practica help students to develop a practical understanding of how the logic of Christian truth should translate into good lives in the midst of everyday circumstances and personal interactions with God, others, and the broader creation. In this way, the theological truth and beauty of God’s redeeming love evolves from mere head knowledge to the practical impact of lived wisdom.