Loras College
Honors Program

About the Honors Program

Jacob Kohlhaas, Ph.D.

The Honors Program is designed to offer an integrated sequence of academically challenging courses unique to Honors students who wish to pursue a broadly-based, comprehensive liberal arts education. The program offers a chance to enjoy academic challenges emphasizing an analytical, synoptic, and creative approach to the various disciplines that comprise the liberal arts. Students in the Honors Program reflect on the use of imagination for problem-solving, the relevance of ideas to society, and ways to engage in the world.

The Loras College Honors Program engages students in real-world problem solving through collaborative, interdisciplinary research projects. Students bring academic research, service, and cultural awareness together to respond to the needs of their communities. As part of the program, groups of students work with faculty mentors for three years. Examples of projects include solar energy, STEM education, veterans and mental health, grant writing and many others.

Students that participate in the Honors Program will receive a $1,500 scholarship for all four years of the program.

Unique Features
  • Cohort model with other motivated students
  • Experiences outside of your major
  • Preparation for Graduate School and Professions
  • Leadership and Cultural Awareness Education and Experience
  • Scholarship of $1,500 awarded for each year enrolled in the program (not exceeding four years)
Experiential Opportunities
  • Interaction with peers and professors in lively educational environments
  • Direct engagement with professionals in various fields through community partnerships and outreach
  • Service opportunities on campus, in the community and internationally
  • Research and conference presentation opportunities
Criteria to Qualify
  • Apply and be admitted to Loras College
  • Demonstrated High Academic Achievement (3.5 GPA or higher)
  • Rolling Application and Acceptance

A great opportunity to think outside the box and get to know your peers!

Honors students graduate from Loras with a depth of experience in collaborative research and problem-solving that brings the insights of academia into conversation with the problems faced by a variety of communities. Many people can talk about what is wrong with the world; our graduates know how to analyze a problem from multiple perspectives, address root causes through community resources, and apply their research in the service of others.

When students enter the Honors program they become part of an active learning community that values intellectual curiosity and community engagement.  Foundational classes deepen students’ connections with each other and teach the values of the Honors program while developing the critical discernment, creativity, and interpersonal skills that are essential for collaborative, interdisciplinary research. In the first year, these connections are forged and strengthened through students' taking a few Honors general education courses together.

Sophomore through senior year focuses on the collaborative, interdisciplinary research project. Mentored by a faculty partner and supported by the Honors Director, students advance in discovering and applying solutions to problems through community engagement and research. Collaborative research projects have been completed in areas ranging from health education to handicap accessibility to environmental sustainability. In their final semester, research teams will present their research, implemented responses, and proposals for ongoing engagement to the campus and wider communities.

These interdisciplinary research projects, pursued over a three-year span, address a question or problem in a community to learn about the issue, connect with other interested groups, and develop a possible solution. The students work as a collaborative team, but distribute tasks amongst themselves to best use their talents and inclinations to the fullest potential possible.

Goals and Outcomes of the Honors Program

  • To provide opportunities for research for students and faculty
  • To provide  meaningful and reflective service for students and faculty
  • To encourage growth in personal compassion, empathy, and cross-cultural competence through exposure to diverse ideas and experiences
  • To provide students with opportunities for professional and/or vocational development
  • To develop in students an understanding of needs in society and the world, using their talents, abilities, and expertise to contribute in creative and positive ways
Honors Application Instructions


To Apply for the Loras College Honors Program

  1. Students admitted to the college may apply for this program scholarship. The scholarship application can be found on the Student Status page.
  2. Students must complete the FAFSA and have the results sent to Loras College (Code 001873).
  3. Write a short statement (about 2 pages) which answers the question, “Why are you interested in the Honors Program at Loras?” Upload the statement as a PDF within the application process in the student portal, or email to Dr. Jacob Kohlhaas, Honors Director.
  4. Preference may also be given to students who submit a writing sample that demonstrates their academic and/or creative potential. This sample may be original or existing work, should demonstrate effective written communication, and may be creative, analytic, or research based. Upload the writing sample as a PDF within the application process in the student portalor email to Dr. Jacob Kohlhaas, Honors Director.

For additional information, feel free to contact Dr. Jacob Kohlhaas, Honors Director at Jacob.Kohlhaas@loras.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Requirements?  What do you have to do?

  • Take 3 general education courses in special honors program sections (Engaging Communities, Engaging Diversity, Catholic Traditions) in the first and second years.
  • Engage with the local community through service learning.
  • Participate in a collaborative three-year group research project sophomore through senior years.
  • Complete a 1-credit honors seminar sophomore, junior, and senior years related to your ongoing research project.

What are the advantages?

  • The courses are challenging, experiential, and interdisciplinary
  • Other Honors students are active learners and serious about academics
  • The community of students and faculty is welcoming, inclusive, friendly, and vibrant
  • Working with a faculty mentor and peers for three years on a research project
  • An Honors education can be a benefit when applying for graduate schools or for jobs

Does pursuing an Honors degree create problems for majors?

No.  In fact, it should benefit you.

The Honors sections of general education classes provide a challenging learning environment that provides a foundation for any major. Working with your interdisciplinary research group will prepare you for research in your major, and extend and enhance your grounding in the liberal arts. Honors students have the opportunity to work with a faculty mentor and peers for three years on a research project, which involves service to community. Overall, the program enriches one’s program of study and prepares students for the challenges of graduate school or professional work.

How to Apply?

Apply for admission to Loras College, then apply for the Loras Honors Program. Both Applications are necessary.

Who can I contact for additional information?

Feel free to contact the Honors Director at Jacob.Kohlhaas@loras.edu to discuss the program or address any additional questions you may have.