Rutgers Honors College

Rutgers Honors College Visit Review by Lisa Bleich

Rutgers Honors College

The Rutgers Honors College was created three years ago and will have its first graduating class in May, 2019.  The Honors College was formed to integrate knowledge across colleges.  In the past, the honors programs were separated by school only, but now the Honors College houses all students together for the first year into one living and learning community.

(Each individual school still has an honors program, but it is not as robust as the Honors College and does not include an interdisciplinary living and learning component.)  The Honors College is a modern, state-of-the-art living and learning community including beautiful shared study spaces, classrooms, dorms, and meeting halls for weekly cabaret style concerts.  All freshman must live together the first year and subsequent years, students may live in the honors cohort within the dorms.

Student Panel

We met a varied group of honors college students ranging from Emily a theater and education major from Minnesota to Steven, a Women and Genders Studies major who designed an app to improve literacy skills through play to Jillian, a freshman Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science major from Edison who was doing research on textile interaction.

The students all chose Rutgers because of the Honors College, some over highly select colleges including Cornell and Columbia.

Honors College Curriculum

  • Byrne Seminar: take in first year only.  Non pressure class.  15-20 students.  Can pick preference based on interest or something different.
  • Honors College Forum: Focus on Social Innovation how to impact community.
  • Interdisciplinary honors seminar.  Examples include: Music for Revolution.  Spectacle as much as art form.  Some have a travel component.


  • Summer positions
  • Aresty Assistantship Research
  • Major research
  • Capstone

Co-curricular Programs

  • Academic advisors in honors college
  • Service learning, internships, global ed (30 hour requirement of service learning)
    • Goldman Sachs came to HC
  • Have honors college alternative spring breaks


  • Honors. College, Campus Honors Cohort
  • Need to live in honors housing first year.  then have honors cohorts at all other campuses.

Honors College Admissions and Financial Aid/Scholarships

Students need to apply by December 1, but earlier is better. Rutgers Admissions automatically considers students for honors college.  Admissions pre-reviews applicants and sends the honors college academically eligible applicants. Admissions is competitive.

The average SATs are 1520 and the average ACTs are  32-33.  Most students have all A’s  and took at least 5 AP classes.  The Honors Colleges admits the top 7% of the applicant pool for all students. (Except for Nursing, which may be higher and Mason Gross who also looks at talent.)  Once students have met the bar academically, they look at jobs, leadership, extracurricular activities and family obligations. Every student gets a merit scholarship between $10K to $26,700.

The Honors Difference

Smaller classes. 

  • Regular engineering class 500 students vs. 100-150 in an honors class
  • Regular Intro to Microeconomics has 200 students vs. 15-20 for honors

Degree Designation

  • Honors College noted on degree and transcript

Pace and depth of learning

  • Honors classes are more accelerated. 
  • Students perform more in-depth analysis
  • Papers vs. tests.

Live and Learn with Professors and Students

  • Three faculty fellows live in honors housing
  • Helps students connect with faculty more easily
  • Honors college students required to live together first year and have honors cohorts subsequent years


Rutgers Honors College is a great option for students who want to challenge themselves intellectually, enjoy interdisciplinary learning, and want the resources of a large college with the intimacy of a small college.


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