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AcademicsUniversity Honors Program

University Honors Program in litteris fideque

The University Honors Program seeks to challenge talented students of diverse backgrounds to integrate faith and learning as they practice scholarship and service.

The University Honors Program in litteris fideque (in learning and faith) is a 34-credit General Education curriculum that consists of four 8-credit interdisciplinary courses, usually taken during the first four semesters at Concordia, and a 2-credit Honors capstone taken during the final year. Students also must fulfill a Global requirement.

Program Expectations

Students who participate in the University Honors Program will:

  • Engage in challenging intellectual and spiritual inquiry that integrates the Christian Gospel and the arts and sciences with attention to a range of global issues;
  • Examine and debate issues and ideas in a respectful and open-minded environment;
  • Explore their values and beliefs in view of the needs of the less fortunate and the impact of human life on the planet;
  • Practice action on behalf of others in a local or global context.

Courses - A Curriculum in Faith and Learning

There are four core courses for the University Honors Program in litteris fideque, offered on a two-year cycle (two courses each year). Honors students take the four core courses during their first two years at Concordia, so that each incoming class of Honors students takes these courses together with the class adjacent to theirs. The courses will focus in turn on the stated objectives of the program, each course integrating selected arts and sciences with the gospel and embracing a distinctly global perspective. As indicated by the descriptions, the courses are inter-disciplinary. Various distinguished faculty with disciplinary expertise together challenge students to inquiry, debate, self-reflection, scholarship, and service.

Each course will be administered by the faculty of the University Honors Program and will be taught by a team of faculty representing the major academic disciplines of the university.

The Theoretical Year

Fall term of even-numbered years; spring term of odd-numbered years.

  • HON110 — Perspectives, Approaches, and the Gospel (8 credits)
    Using primary texts and artifacts set in their historical/cultural contexts, students examine the ways in which peoples of the west, east, and south have apprehended their world, humanity, and God over time. Sciences, arts, and the religious texts of Christianity will serve to challenge students to develop a world view that integrates faith and learning.
  • HON120 — Hearing Their Voices: Globalism, Justice and the Lives of the Marginalized (8 credits)
    Students explore the needs of the world through the eyes of the poor and the marginalized. Students assess global conditions of population, health, economic development, ecology, and political expression in view of human responsibility for creation and the Biblical concern for the poor. Students analyze theoretical and practical approaches to addressing global inequities and needs.
The Practical Year

Fall term of odd-numbered years; spring term of even-numbered years.

  • HON210 — Being Human and Christian in an Interconnected World (8 credits)
    Students explore their values and beliefs in view of the needs of the less fortunate and the impact of human life on the planet. Particular attention is paid to the role of technology in contemporary life. Students explore Christian concepts of vocation and service. Students begin work on their Honors Projects.
  • HON220 — Scholarship and Service for the Sake of the Others (8 credits)
    Students develop and practice models of learning and service on behalf of others and the world. Students integrate their chosen discipline and their Christianity in their Honors Projects.

During the senior year, students in the University Honors Program reconvene to put their knowledge and gifts into practice for the good of others.

  • HON410 — Building for Eternity (capstone; 2 credits)
    During their senior year, honors students reconvene to explore again the integration of faith and learning for the sake of others and the world. Through a final project in their chosen discipline, students set a course for on-going learning and service in the context of the Christian gospel.

In the capstone, you will come together with other graduating Honors students during your last spring semester at Concordia University, St. Paul, to tie together what you have learned during your first two years in the University Honors Program with what you have learned in your specific major. The purpose of this class is to tie the thread of faith and learning through your core classes for your major and to continue it through your future plans.

In Building for Eternity, you will be required to choose a book in which you can demonstrate effective themes from your major as well as faith and learning and you will present your ideas to the class. In addition, you will be required to read some of the other books of your peers and to reflect on them for the benefit of those in the class who did not have a chance to read the book. You will also have the opportunity to meet with the Poehler lecturer before and after her or his speech, as well as attend the speech, in order to draw connections from the speaker’s thoughts to faith and learning in your own life. The final portion of this course will consist of writing your five year plan, keeping in mind clear goals in which you wish to incorporate faith and learning into your future.

Global Requirement

In view of the global thrust of the University Honors Program in litteris fideque, participants will complete the Language/Global Requirement prior to graduation from Concordia.The requirement may be met in one of four ways:


Prior to enrollment in the University Honors Program students may demonstrate that they have met the requirement through one of three types of testing:

  • A minimum score of 4 or 5 on a foreign language AP test
  • A minimum score of 650 on a foreign language achievement test (SAT II)
  • Students for whom English is their second language are deemed to have met the competency if they score 250 or higher on the computer-based TOEFL.

Students may meet the requirement by taking classes in an ancient or modern foreign language while at Concordia. Students using this option must complete second-year (200-level) university language work with a grade of 3.0 or above.


Students may meet the requirement by participating in a university-level semester-abroad program. Programs must be approved by the University Honors Program prior to participation. Students write and revise a reflective essay on their experience


Students may meet the requirement by doing the following:

  • Demonstrate competency equivalent by completing the 100-level of a foreign language via
    • College credit
    • CLEP exam
    • Passing the CSP Spanish placement exam at 102-level
  • Fill out the paperwork to have a cross-cultural trip of at least two weeks in a non-English speaking country approved by the University Honors Program prior to participation
  • Complete the required essay and any necessary revisions by the dates mutually agreed upon by the student and by the University Honors Program
Although some foreign language study is desirable prior to beginning the University Honors Program, ability in a foreign language is NOT a prerequisite for admission.


You are invited to apply for one of twelve slots in each yearly cycle of the University Honors Program in litteris fideque.  Demonstrated academic ability, leadership potential, and/or cultural background or experiences are factors in the selection of those who compose each cohort.

You must first complete an application for admission to Concordia University before applying for the University Honors Program.

At a minimum, you must meet one or more of these criteria:

  • ACT score of 27 (or SAT score of 1210)
  • High School GPA of 3.5
  • Letter of recommendation from a guidance counselor or teacher
  • Letter from a Concordia University faculty member

Continuation in the program requires a CGPA of 3.0.


  • The early response deadline is December 15. If your application is received prior to December 15, you will receive a response from us just after the first of the year.
  • The regular fall deadline for applications is March 15. Applications received after March 15 will be considered only on a space available basis.