Learn Together with Like-Minded Students

The Duquesne University Honors College provides opportunities for students exceptional academic talent to enrich their education. For over 30 years, honors students have accepted Duquesne's challenge to demand more of themselves intellectually, academically and morally.

We are a unique Honors College, steeped in the Catholic intellectual tradition and celebratory of the contributions our humanities perspectives can make to the professions our students choose. We seek no less than to liberate every human person from injustice, poverty, and ignorance.

At Duquesne, we say Spiritus est qui vivificat. May your search for future academic and intellectual challenges be an inspired one!

Are you up for the challenge? In the Honors College, you can:

  • Develop potential to lead your field - through academic achievement, professional development and lifelong attentiveness to the needs and gifts of others.
  • Have unique, tangible opportunities to merge your professional goals with creative work in liberal arts.
  • Absorb the Catholic intellectual tradition and the humanities perspective, which will influence your path when you graduate.

Our students:

  • Become leaders in their field
  • Participate in a unique, inspiring academic experience
  • Share their specific interests with other like-minded individuals.

A respected degree

Over our 140+ year history, we've developed a national reputation for academic excellence. For 2022, Niche.com gives Duquesne an A+ in Best College Locations, an A for value and an overall A- among colleges and universities in the entire nation.

Recruitment success

Recent student groups applying for the Honors College class are larger, more academically prepared and more diverse than in previous years.

The Honors College is for you if you're ready to:

  • Skip over the busy work and get right into the heart of what you want to study.
  • Access funding for research projects.
  • Become more sought after in graduate programs around the world.

Students must complete the University Honors College Bridges curriculum which includes:

  • Taking a minimum of 6 classes in honors-designated courses (HONR).
  • Having a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.30 in order to secure the "University Honors College" designation at graduation.

Engaging Coursework

Course description packets are emailed out before early Honors College registration. View the registration guide packet  for Honors College Students and their Advisors.

Pathways to the Honors College

If you are a prospective Duquesne student who meets the academic requirements of the Honors College, you will be recommended by the Office of Admissions and will automatically receive an invitation to join.

The "criteria" for an invitation to the Honors College is fluid, based on SAT or ACT scores, high school GPA, and other admissions data. Students must also demonstrate a commitment to our humanities curriculum when accepting the invitation to join the University Honors College.

We begin sending out invitations in early October and continue on a rolling basis throughout the spring.

We require a response to our invitation by May 1 of the year you plan to enter Duquesne University. After May 1 we cannot guarantee a place for a student who does not respond by the deadline.

If you do not receive an invitation to join but would still be interested in joining, fill out an application form. For fall incoming freshman only.

If you are not initially invited or accepted into the Honors College, you may reapply following the completion of your first semester at Duquesne. Deadline for current Duquesne students is the add/drop week of the spring semester. For current students, please submit the Honors College Admissions Application.

  • The application should be mailed to the office of the Honors College. Required supporting documentation includes:
    • An "endorsement" via email (from an academic advisor or a faculty member)
    • A statement of intent, in the form of an essay

We will review your complete application and contact you with a decision within a reasonable period of time.

Honors College students gain unique, tangible opportunities to merger their professional goals with creative work in the humanities and liberal arts. Regardless of your major, you will delve deeper into literature, history, philosophy, theology, music, arts and other humanities fields.

Students are happiest and most successful in the Duquesne University Honors College when they understand and are inspired by profound questions.

We've found that the humanities offer us the beginnings of answers to why students choose their professions, and how they will best serve other human beings - whether that be lawyers, pharmacists, speech therapists, educators, or any other career.

Honors Fellows & Special Programs

Most honors students will complete 6 honors courses and graduate from the basic honors program. Others, though, will make their mark with additional honors coursework, research projects, creative works, special internships, or service opportunities. The Honors College offers fellowships in several areas to give monetary support to students efforts.

Gordon Cortney, Music Performance Major. Research abstract below:

My introduction to ethnomusicology began with a trip to Ghana during June and July 2022. I was awarded a fellowship through the Honors College at Duquesne University to study gyil, or Ghanaian xylophone, repertoire at the Dagara Music Center in Medie, Ghana. While abroad, I attended a funeral where I heard gyil music and ate dog meat, all while sporting my very own smock. I was even given a nickname, Bunb3kpi3r, meaning “Everything goes in” which described how I was consuming “everything” in my surroundings—food, clothing, music, and all. New experiences generated new ideas for research, and more specifically guided my current focus on the social aspects of the gyil tradition.

My research has ultimately culminated in an undergraduate thesis consisting of the following studies: first, a gastromusicological analysis of funerals and recreational events, showing how dog meat and saab cuisines relate to musical style; and second, a recontextualization of the smock as more than just a performance costume but rather a vehicle to express personal and collective identities. I view the gyil through two different lenses to not only reinforce the centrality of the gyil in Dagara culture, but reveal the impact change in gyil practice has had and will continue to have on the greater Dagara culture.

Arian Hajihassani, Biochemistry Major. Research abstract below:

The pancreas, crucial in regulating blood sugar through insulin production and producing digestive enzymes, undergoes significant dysfunction in diseases like diabetes and cancer. Diabetes affects approximately 38.4 million individuals, while pancreatic cancer ranks as the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the USA. My research centers around comprehending underlying biochemical and biological pathologies of these pancreatic diseases.

Throughout my undergraduate years, I studied potential therapeutics for diabetes at UPMC Children’s Hospital. My project has focused on using a small molecule to inhibit a key cell-differentiating signaling pathway, aiming to convert cells producing digestive enzymes into insulin-producing cells. Also, summer internships has allowed me to study deeper into pancreatic cancer. At Case Western Reserve University, I studied enhancing chemosensitivity in pancreatic tumors by targeting wtIDH1, an enzyme protecting pancreatic tumors from chemotherapy-induced oxidative stress. The combination treatment of chemotherapy with wtIDH1 inhibition showed a synergistic effect in combating malignant tumors. Intrigued by how pancreatic tumors sustain themselves, I pursued undergraduate summer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center/Weill Cornell Medicine, exploring the utilization of the sweetest of all-natural sugars, fructose, by pancreatic tumors.

I investigated how pancreatic tumors gain a competitive advantage through utilizing fructose for energy production, leading to faster growth and increased lethality.


Frequently Asked Questions

If you meet SAT or ACT requirements (usually around 1360 or 30 minimum), you will automatically receive a letter inviting you to join. If your scores are lower, you may fill out a separate application.
No. You need six HONR courses for graduation, but they replace six courses that are already part of your normal schedule – the university Bridges curriculum (BRDG)
No. All financial aid is handled through the Office of Financial Aid. The Honors College provides financial support for special projects you may wish to do, though, such as Honors Fellows
No, but they’re different. They are much smaller than regular BRDG classes at Duquesne – typically around 15 students or fewer. Therefore there is a lot of interaction between students and faculty, and the learning is discussion-based. Honors classes carry much less “busy work” than regular BRDG classes, and focus on special topics. See our curriculum page for more information.
Not because of the Honors College. If you’re invited to join the Honors College, and you appreciate liberal arts and humanities, you’ll like these classes and you will do well. However, if you don’t see the connection between your future life and the benefits of in-depth humanities study, you should say no to our invitation.
Past experience says no. We have had many student-athletes in the Honors College: basketball, soccer, lacrosse, swimming, and many more. You handled high school athletics and academics very well, and you’ll do that in college as well. As a general rule, if you’re invited to join the Honors College, you can handle it.
That’s not the best route to take. It would be better to start, and then withdraw if you don’t feel the benefits of membership. If you wait, you’ll have missed at least one honors course you should have taken – and then you’ll be playing catch-up
No, it’s optional – but it’s preferable.

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Dr. Kathleen Glenister Roberts

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