Jul 19, 2024  
2015-2016 Academic Catalog 
2015-2016 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Academic Honors


The Honors Academy

Macon Cove Campus (901) 333-4615
Union Avenue Campus (901) 333-5203


Mission Statement

The goal of the Honors Academy at Southwest is to provide a unique and challenging environment that nurtures the skills and aspirations of academically gifted students, and to encourage, support, and recognize student achievement. Designed to serve select students, the Honors Program aims to raise the intellectual and cultural climate of the total college. The program includes curricular offerings, study/travel, special recognition programs, lyceum features, and leadership activities. 

The Honors Approach

Using eclectic, student centered approaches to teaching and learning, students and faculty explore significant issues and scholarly activities both on and off campus. Study, travel and community service are integral parts of both the program and course offerings. The development of exceptional leadership, inquiry, and thinking skills in students is a primary purpose of the program. Emphasizing team teaching, interdisciplinary themes, original documents, critical thinking, and creatively researched assignments, all course offerings meet general education, major area, or elective credit criteria.


Participation in the Honors Academy creates a variety of benefits:

  • Honors diploma
  • Service Learning and civic engagement
  • Study and research abroad opportunities
  • Travel to other two- and four-year colleges
  • Participation in local, state, regional and national conferences
  • Interaction with dynamic, diverse peers from colleges throughout the region
  • Special study environments
  • Opportunities to collaborate with community leaders

The Honors Academy furthers the institutional goal of serving a diverse student body and also provides opportunities for students to work toward the betterment of their communities while preparing themselves for the future.

Eligibility Requirements

Students are selected for their ability and potential to help expand the scholarly community at Southwest. There are two categories of admission: entering students and continuing students. An entering student is a recently graduated (or soon-to-be graduated) high school senior with a 3.0 GPA or a composite score of 21 or better on the ACT. Any valedictorian or salutatorian is automatically eligible for Honors Academy participation. A continuing student must have completed all academic developmental courses and have at least a 3.0 GPA. To remain eligible for the Honors Academy, a student must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Application Process

All eligible students interested in the opportunities the Honors Academy provides are encouraged to apply. Students should ideally apply early during their tenure at Southwest, before beginning their first semester, so that they can take advantage of the entire Honors experience. Selection to t he Honors Academy will be based on academic ability, creativity, and intellectual promise. Students who wish to apply for the Honors Academy should obtain an application online at www.southwest.tn.edu/honors/.

Honors Classes

Any student who meets the eligibility requirements for the Honors Academy may register online for an Honors class, whether or not he or she has actually yet been accepted into the Honors Academy.

A listing of the offerings will be posted in Honors offices and included in the course-offering list each term. HONR 1110 Honors Inquiry , a course typically offered in the spring semester, is listed under “Honors,” and other classes, such as English, music, or psychology courses, are listed by discipline. Honors Academy students should plan their schedules so that they will be able to take HONR 1110  (a required course, but with special exceptions), for the Honors Diploma, during the spring term.

Honors Diploma

To graduate with an Honors diploma, a student must be accepted into the Honors Academy, complete a minimum of 15 hours with Honors credits including HONR 1110  with a grade of A or B and have achieved a 3.25 GPA. The 15 hours may be earned either by “contracting” for Honors credit in a section of regular classes; taking Honors sections of a regular class or a combination of these. See the Honors Academy website for details.

Dean’s List

To qualify for the Dean’s List, a student must have completed at least 12 credits of college-level courses during the term and earned a GPA of 3.0 or higher with no grade of “F” or “I”. A Dean’s List is compiled at the end of each term and this accomplishment is noted on the student’s permanent academic record.

Graduation with Distinction

  • A candidate for graduation who has completed requirements for an associate degree may earn the distinction of graduating with honors. To graduate cum laude, a student is required to have a GPA of 3.25 to 3.49 in all college-level courses. A GPA of 3.50 to 3.79 is required for the magna cum laude distinction; and 3.8 to 4.0 GPA for summa cum laude distinction. Only grades for college-level courses earned at Southwest will be used in calculating each student’s GPA for graduation with distinction.
  • A student who has completed a minimum of 15 Honors credits including HONR 1110  may receive an Honors degree. Credits can be gained either through Honors courses or Honor contracts in regular courses.

Honorary Societies


Phi Theta Kappa

Phi Theta Kappa, a national honorary scholastic fraternity founded in 1918 for community and junior colleges, has established the Upsilon Delta Chapter at Southwest. Invitations to join are extended to all students at the College who have accumulated 12 or more credits toward a degree with a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher. Students who are inducted into Phi Theta Kappa have opportunities for leadership, service and fellowship.

Alpha Beta Gamma

Alpha Beta Gamma, an international business honor society established in 1970 to recognize and encourage scholarship among two-year college students in business curricula, has established the Chi Epsilon Chapter at Southwest.  Business students who have a 3.0 GPA and at least 12 hours in courses leading to a business degree are invited to join.

Lambda Epsilon Chi

Lambda Epsilon Chi, the national honor society founded by the American Association for Paralegal Education, has established a chapter at Southwest. Paralegal Studies students who have completed a total of 40 credit hours with 24 credit hours in paralegal courses and a cumulative GPA of 3.5 are invited to join.

Sigma Kappa Delta

Sigma Kappa Delta is the English honor society for two-year colleges.  Sigma Kappa Delta’s central purpose is to confer distinction upon students of the English language and literature in undergraduate studies.  To be eligible, Southwest students must have completed at least 12 college level credit hours, have a minimum gpa of 3.0, and have completed at least one college course in English language or literature earning no grade lower than a B in English.