Join the Honors Program at St. Mary’s

Students in the St. Mary’s University Honors Program have the opportunity to study abroad, participate in research and even live with other Honors Scholars. Honors Scholars are provided with an enriching academic experience, preparing them for successful and meaningful careers.

Students in the Honors Program gain access to academic and extracurricular benefits, including a scholarship, memberships to national Honors organizations, unique research and study abroad opportunities, and a chance to grow and collaborate with their peers in a tightly knit Living Learning Community.

Many of our Honors Scholars graduate with honors, making them appealing to potential employers and prestigious graduate and doctoral programs. Students in the Honors Scholars program are prepared with the skills and education to hold leadership positions on-campus and later in their careers.

  • Contact Us

    Camille Langston, Ph.D.
    Director of the Honors Program

    Richard Cardenas, Ph.D.
    Assistant Director of the Honors Program

    Find Us

    Chaminade Tower
    Honors Suite, Room 110

Benefits of Joining the Honors Program

Students in the Honors Program receive a $2,000 stackable scholarship.

Many Honors Scholars graduate with summa, magna or cum laude honors, win the University’s highest student recognition for students — the Presidential Award — and hold student leadership positions on campus.  

Some additional benefits include:

The Honors Program has welcomed me with open arms; it has granted me many opportunities to grow as a scholar and a human. The Honors community has brought me closer to other students who care about making the world a better place and who always go beyond to achieve greatness. I am grateful and honored to be part of this amazing community!”

Erika Pineda-Horta
First-Year, Pre-Law Sociology and Criminology double major with a Spanish minor

The Honors Student Experience

Beyond the Classroom

Beyond our curriculum, the program offers stimulating group activities, from attending plays and concerts to community service projects and social events. Honors students also gain membership to the following organizations:

  • St. Mary’s Society of Honors Scholars 
  • National Collegiate Honors Council 
  • Little and Big Scholars
  • Great Plains Honors Council


The Honors Program faculty include St. Mary’s University’s tenured and most experienced educators. Faculty are committed to challenging Honors Scholars in and out of the classroom and to helping them achieve their academic goals.

The program is overseen by Camille Langston, Ph.D., Director of the Honors Program and Professor of Communication Studies, and Richard Cardenas, Ph.D, Assistant Director of the Honors Program and Chair of the Department of Physics.

  • Student Learning Outcomes

    • Honors students engage in deep critical thinking.
    • Honors students participate in high-impact practices that prepare them for professional success.
    • Honors students develop as knowledgeable researchers and writers.
    • Honors students grow as global servants for the public good.
of Honors students graduate in less than four years 
of Honors students pursue further studies  

Living Learning Community

Students in the Honors Program have the opportunity to reside alongside their fellow Honors Scholars in the on-campus Honors Program Living Learning Community (LLC), where students who welcome academic rigor can join in community with their like-minded classmates. Honors Scholars participate in study groups and game nights together and even bring in speakers for enriching discussions.

How do I apply to the Honors Program at St. Mary’s?

The Honors Program seeks exceptionally well-qualified and motivated students of all religious, economic and cultural backgrounds. We delight in the diversity of talents and experiences that students have brought to our program through the years.

Those interested in joining the program are urged to complete their applications for undergraduate admission to St. Mary’s as early as possible. Top applicants will be invited to submit a separate application to the Honors Program online.

The Honors Program application deadline is March 1.

Existing student admission is an alternative avenue into the Honors Program. To be considered for existing student honors admissions, please contact the Honors Director or Assistant Director. Applications are generally completed by May and decisions are made in June. To be eligible for existing student admission to the Honors Program, students must:

  • Hold a minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA
  • Have completed 15 hours at St. Mary’s University
  • Participate in an interview
  • Submit a faculty member’s recommendation

After successful admission, new Honors Scholars receive “catch-up” advising and are formally admitted to the program in the fall.

How do I apply as an existing student?

Visit the Undergraduate Transfer Admissions page for information regarding the admission and application process. There is no additional application fee to join the Honors Program.

  • Transfer Student FAQs

    No, there is no application fee to join.

    Is there an application fee to join the Honors Program at St. Mary’s University?

    Yes, the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Transfer Scholarship is available to confirmed Phi Theta Kappa honor society members. Transfer students with a 3.5 GPA who are members of PTK receive automatic admission into the St. Mary’s Honors Program. Confirmed PTK members with at least 12 hours of coursework toward an associate or bachelor’s degree may receive up to $5,000 in scholarship funds per year. 

    Transfer students are automatically considered for our Transfer Academic Merit Scholarships if they apply by the June 1 priority date, are admitted to St. Mary’s University, and are enrolled as full-time students. No additional applications are required for these awards. 

    For more information and other scholarship opportunities, visit the Scholarships page.

    Are transfer scholarships available for Honors students from a two-year school?

    Students in the Honors Program have access to early Priority Registration, personalized advising, a mentoring program and a stimulating variety of co-curricular activities and events. Students are encouraged to join our student organization — the St. Mary’s University Society of Honors Scholars — and they have the opportunity to live alongside fellow Honors Scholars in the Honors Living Learning Community.

    In addition, all undergraduate students have access to the Rattler Success Center, which offers subject tutoring, a writing center, academic peer coaching and mentoring appointments, as well as the Career and Professional Development Center.

    What kinds of social and academic support does St. Mary’s University offer transfer Honors students?

    All Alamo Colleges honors credits will transfer into the St. Mary’s University Honors Program, except for EDU 1300.

    Which Alamo Colleges honors credits transfer into your program?
How do I apply as a transfer student?

Program Requirements

  • Honors students must enroll in an Honors-designated seminar or elective class each semester.
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in their first year and a 3.25 GPA after their first year.
  • If a student falls below the required minimum GPA, the student will be placed on probation for the Honors Program and will be given one semester to increase their GPA.
  • If a student falls below the required minimum GPA or does not enroll in Honors-designated seminars or courses, the student will be given one semester to increase their GPA and enroll before transitioning from the Program.

Career and Educational Opportunities


After graduation, our Honors students pursue careers as attorneys, doctors, educators and researchers and have held positions such as Lead Researcher at Southwest Research Institute, Data Scientist Director at USAA, Investment Banking Associate at Goldman Sachs, Field Engineer at Moss & Associates, Engineer at CNF Technologies, Underwriter at Hartford Commercial, Data Analyst at Transwestern, University Advancement Officer at the University of Notre Dame, and Computer Engineer at the Department of Defense.

Medical School

Many St. Mary’s Honors students receive early acceptance to medical schools, such as St. Louis Medical School and Baylor School of Medicine. Honors graduates have attended the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, UTHSC Dental School, and UTMD in Galveston. Some of our recent grads have residencies at Johns Hopkins and Carver College of Medicine.

Law School

Others have attended law schools at Syracuse University, University of San Diego, University of Michigan, Texas Tech University, University of Houston, The University of Texas at Austin, and St. Mary’s University School of Law.

Master’s and Doctoral Degrees

Students have pursued Ph.D. programs such as Education at University of Illinois Chicago; Physics at University of California, Davis; Mechanical Engineering and Toxicology and Texas A&M University; Bioinformatics at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; Medical Physics at UT Health; and Political Science at George Washington University. Others have pursued Master’s degrees at institutions such as Trinity University, the University of Arizona, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Cincinnati, University of San Diego, and Columbia University.

Mission Statement

The Honors Program serves a diverse community of students who have proven themselves especially talented, skilled and successful in their academic careers. Our mission is to attract such students to St. Mary’s University and to provide them with a challenging and rewarding program — a program which complements their professional development with courses in the Catholic intellectual and liberal arts traditions, encourages them to engage critically in the self-conscious formation of their worldview and prepares them to succeed after graduation to make a positive difference in the world. 

Inclusive Excellence Statement

The National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) supports inclusive excellence, promoting educational equity and non-discriminatory practices. As an organization of institutions, honors educators, students and staff, we are responsible for fostering the inclusion and success of academically motivated learners from all communities. Recognizing diverse identities as strengths, we make inclusive excellence possible. In response to historical restrictions, the NCHC is committed to modeling best practices, using inclusive leadership strategies, research and partnerships to help honors programs serve and empower all communities.

Honors Council

Camille Langston, Ph.D.
Director of the Honors Program
Professor of Communication Studies

Eric Chelstrom, Ph.D
Associate Professor of Philosophy

Heather Hill, Ph.D.
Chair of the Department of Psychology | Professor of Psychology

Juan Ocampo, Ph.D.
Chair of the Department of Engineering | Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Richard Cardenas, Ph.D
Assistant Director of the Honors Program
Chair, Department of Physics

Gregory Pool, Ph.D.
Professor of Graduate Industrial Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior

The Rev. Richard Villa, S.M.
Chaplain of the School of Science, Engineering and Technology


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