Jun 16, 2024  
2023 - 2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023 - 2024 Undergraduate Catalog

Academic Programs and Studies

University Honors Program


The mission of the Honors Program is to provide an enhanced and supportive learning environment for academically gifted undergraduate students. The mission will be accomplished through the active involvement of faculty recognized for their excellence in teaching small Honors seminars, and through opportunities for research. The Honors Program is a unit with its own budget and a Director who is administratively responsible to the Vice Chancellor/Provost through the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. The Director works in close cooperation with a University Honors Council and to establish and review policies and procedures for the Honors Program.

The Honors Program is designed to challenge students with high academic potential at an accelerated rate and to provide them with exposure to a wide variety of in-depth academic, social, cultural, and international experiences. The Honors Program is committed to fostering achievement at superior levels so that by graduation students will:

  1. demonstrate skills in research, writing, and oral presentation;
  2. design, develop, and present documented works which demonstrate critical thinking skills;
  3. apply knowledge gained in the classroom and in community service activities;
  4. display exceptional proficiency in the command of both written and oral communication; and
  5. exhibit awareness of literary, cultural, social, and community service behaviors and be able to assess the values of such as behaviors through reflection and demonstration.


In addition to the high quality of instruction that students gain in their regular course work, Honors sections of many core courses have been developed in the General Education area. In an Honors section of a course, the course work is not only more advanced, but more in-depth.

The heart of the Honors Program is the colloquium concept, which is designed to improve students’ communication skills, both oral and written. Using this concept, the University is able to meet the needs of its academically talented students.

A program of cultural and social activities is provided for Honors students. These activities may include field trips, plays, concerts, tours, and workshops. Honors students are expected to represent the University at Honors conferences nationally and regionally through debate, quiz bowl, poster and other competitions. Honors activities are intended to increase student interest and improve the retention rate among Honors students.

To ensure that adequate recognition is given to these students, the Honors Program will (1) award a certificate of participation as students successfully complete each year in the Program, (2) institute a structured series of forums under the aegis of the Honors Program, (3) initiate an Honors Newsletter/Arts Magazine, (4) identify Honors students at graduation by a specific visual symbol, and (5) record “Honors Program Graduate” on the diploma and on the transcripts of students who successfully complete the Honors requirements.

The Honors Program sponsors a peer tutoring program in which upper-division Honors students assist lower-division students in the core courses in the General Education area and in the major disciplines.

The Honors Program sponsors a Junior Mentor program that allows juniors to serve as ombudsmen to freshman Honors students.

The Honors Program supports debate exercises to give students opportunities to think critically and to solve problems.


The Honors Program’s major objectives are:

  1. to develop a unified program of rational and creative thinking, writing, verbal, and reading skills through the colloquial concept in an effort to improve students’ skills;
  2. to promote Honors seminars designed to facilitate dialogue between Honors students and faculty without the pressure of grades;
  3. to participate in career workshops for Honors students in a variety of fields;
  4. to arrange internships in cooperation with the Cooperative Education Program, International Program, and academic departments;
  5. to enhance the overall quality of the University’s academic programs and the academic climate of the Institution; and
  6. to promote international study and travel experiences.

Admission Requirements

Admission for first semester freshmen into the Honors Program is determined as follows:

  1. Students who are National Merit Scholarship finalists will automatically be admitted to the Program;
  2. Students with a 3.50 grade-point average (un-weighted) for their four years of high school will be considered for admission to the Program, if they have satisfactory SAT or ACT scores and if they have followed the academic track in high school. Furthermore, students will become eligible for admission to the Program only after satisfying additional criteria. These criteria may include the successful completion of an interview with the Director and/or members of the University Honors Council, teacher recommendations, a writing sample, and university placement tests.

Admission for other students into the Honors Program is determined as follows:

  1. Second semester freshmen or first semester sophomores are considered for admission to the Honors Program if they meet the admissions criteria for Honors in addition to having demonstrated outstanding performance in individual university-level courses. With approval from the Director of the Honors Program the students must also:
    1. have a cumulative grade point average of 3.25;
    2. present well-written essays of interest, intent, and commitment to participate in the Program.
  2. Transfer students are welcome to apply for the Honors Program. They must present an official transcript demonstrating high academic achievement and it will be evaluated by the director of the Honors Program.
  3. ECSU students who are classified as juniors may join the Honors Program, provided they enroll in Honors Seminars for the two years prior to graduation and are able to meet minimal requirements for Honors.

Retention Requirements

To remain in the Honors Program, students must maintain overall 3.25 grade point averages during the freshman year. Students are expected to attend regular meetings of colloquia, or as called by the Director. Failure to attend these meetings or adhere to any of the requirements documented by the University Honors Council may result in dismissal from the Program.

Honors Program Probation and Reinstatement

After the freshman year, students will be placed on probation if their overall grade point average drops below 3.25. If students’ grades improve to the acceptable level by the end of the next semester, they are reinstated. Student requests will be considered by the Director and/or the Honors Council. Students who are on probation more than twice will not be eligible for reinstatement. Students who make Ds while maintaining the appropriate average must repeat the courses, but they will not be put on probation.

Graduation Requirements

To graduate with the Honors Designation, a student shall have completed 24 credit hours of Honors courses by HON designation or by contract. The student must complete and defend an Honors Thesis. Upon completion of degree requirements, the overall grade point average must be 3.25. Honors Program graduates must make no less than a B in all Honors courses and cannot have a grade below a C in any course.

Honors Colloquia and the Senior Thesis

The heart of the Honors Program is the colloquium concept, which is designed to improve analytical, comprehensive, oral, and written communication skills.

Even though the Honors Colloquia are rather flexible, the basic format will:

  • incorporate field trips, forums, and seminars;
  • include writing and group discussion as a regular part of class activities;
  • demonstrate an integration of classroom knowledge with everyday events;
  • include readings from the list of Great Books; and
  • include the planning and execution of a major scholarly project which culminates in a forum or seminar for the general university public.

The colloquia will be divided according to classes as follows:

Freshman Class-Freshman Honors Colloquia

* HON 194: Students may take two semesters to complete the Senior Colloquium project (e.g., Senior Honors Thesis) with an IP (In Progress) grade for the first semester

Sophomore Class-Sophomore Honors Colloquia

An interdisciplinary approach is used in presenting themes and ideas which are related to and integrated with everyday events, world concerns, service learning, debate, etc.

Junior Class-Junior Honors Colloquia

A thematic approach involving the “Great Ideas” (Justice, Love, Death, etc.) as a frame of reference.

Senior Class-Senior Honors Colloquia

A demonstration of the student’s research by involvement in a project in his or her major discipline (Thesis, literary or artistic production, etc.) and an oral defense.

Designed for students to complete the senior thesis or literary/artistic production, etc. Prerequisite: HON 494 and consent of Director of Honors Program.

General Studies

Two courses in Honors English and one course in Honors Mathematics, if applicable, preferably in the freshman year.

Freshman Honors Colloquium

In lieu of Freshman Seminar

Freshman Honors Colloquium

One each semester

Sophomore Honors Colloquium

Sophomore Honors Colloquium

One each semester

Junior Honors Colloquium

Junior Honors Colloquium

One each semester

Senior Honors Colloquium

Students may take two semesters to complete the Senior Colloquium project with an IP (In Progress) grade for the first semester.

This course includes a Senior Honors Thesis/Research Project

which must be approved by an advisor in the major Department with consent of the Honors Program Director and/or the Honors Council.

This course is designed only for students to complete and defend the Senior Honors Thesis/Research Project begun in HON 494.

Students may take 6-12 semester hours in their major discipline by contract or Honors Option.

  • An overall grade point average of 3.25 for Honors courses.
  • A grade point average of at least a B earned in Senior Colloquia.
  • A cumulative grade point average of 3.25 in all University courses.


The Honors Seminar is a facilitated course that can be taught by multiple faculty members. The course will have an interdisciplinary theme. The Honors Seminar is designed for all sophomore-level or above Honors Program students.

Faculty members propose the theme of the course and outline the format of the class. In addition, faculty members organize the course, invite guest lecturers, lead primary discussions, give assignments, and evaluate students. The course must include intensive reading, writing, and research.


The Honors Seminar is a facilitated course that can be taught by multiple faculty members. The course will have an interdisciplinary theme. The Honors Seminar may be taken by all sophomore-level or above students and transfer students. Prerequisite: Permission of Instructor or of Honors Program Director.

Faculty members propose the theme of the course and outline the format of the class. In addition, faculty members organize the course, invite guest lecturers, lead primary discussions, give assignments, and evaluate students. The course must include intensive reading, writing, and research. As a requirement of the course, an oral presentation of the research work of this course must be presented at an on-campus research forum.


Study of special topic(s) in consultation with, and completed under the supervision of a member of the Honors faculty, or other faculty upon approval of the Director of the Honors Program and Honors Council. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing in the Honors Program.

Honors Credit by Contract

Honors credit by contract will enable students to receive honors credit in regularly scheduled courses in their majors.

H-option courses will likely include one or more of the following criteria:

  • reading in addition to that normally required for the course, attested to either by oral presentation or written work;
  • guided research involving either data from primary sources, a laboratory investigation, or field research resulting in a creative presentation or an individual report with annotated bibliography and other features normally incorporated into an advanced-level-report; and/or
  • class or peer presentations which are prepared, designed, and delivered to a standard that will qualify for Honors credit.

Regardless of the individual structure of H-option contracts, they are all likely to share one or more of the following characteristics:

  1. provision for additional consultation between student and instructor;
  2. inclusion of data sources or a laboratory investigation beyond that routinely required in a course;
  3. evaluation methods which are specific and rigorous; and
  4. choice of subject matter, project, or laboratory problem within the sphere of interest of the student and instructor.

Students pursuing H-option credit are responsible for all regularly scheduled work in a course in addition to any special H-option requirements.

University Honors Program Governance

The Program is headed by the Honors Program Director, who works in conjunction with the University Honors Council. The ECSU Honors Program is a member of The National Collegiate Honors Council, The Southern Regional Honors Council, and The National Association of African American Honors Programs.

The Summer School Program


The Summer School Program, in support of the mission of Elizabeth State University (ECSU), is committed to educating and preparing individuals for Baccalaureate Degree programs in the arts and sciences, selected professional and pre-professional areas, and Master’s Degree Programs in Elementary Education, Biology, School Administration, and Mathematics. ECSU offers a challenging and supportive environment that prepares its students for knowledgeable, responsible participation and leadership in an ever-changing, technologically-advanced global society. The University promotes excellence in teaching as its primary responsibility for meeting the needs of the students and citizens of the state. Through its teaching, research, and community outreach, the University seeks to identify and address the needs of northeastern North Carolina with particular attention to supporting its environmentally sensitive economic development.


The goal of the Summer School Program is to offer a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses needed by the greatest number of ECSU students in fulfilling their general education and degree requirements. In addition to regular day-time courses, offerings include a variety of distance learning and evening courses.

The 8-week main and two 5-week summer sessions at ECSU have a three-fold purpose. First, they offer an opportunity for college students to take special courses not normally available during the academic year to broaden their academic approach. Second, they serve previously enrolled ECSU students who desire to hasten their acquisition of college degrees or to gain additional credits toward completion of their class standings. Third, they provide incoming freshmen an opportunity to adapt themselves to the academic demands of college in an environment that is relatively free of the usual pressures of extra-curricular activities. The eight-week wrap-around session gives students the option of a more lengthy session for the mastery of more difficult courses.

A complete listing of course names, numbers, and call numbers, used for Web registration, is included in the Summer School marketing materials and on the ECSU Website. Course descriptions are in the University Catalog.

Summer Course Load

The maximum course load for students is six (6) semester hours per summer session. The maximum number of hours that can be taken during the summer is twelve (12).

Program Expectations

All new students who are admitted to Summer School must meet the same general entrance requirements as the students admitted to the regular academic year program.

Transfer and unclassified students who plan to attend ECSU for the first time (who are not continuing academic year students) must apply for admission to the University in time to fulfill the requirements for acceptance at least one week prior to the date of registration. Visiting or transient students must present a letter of permission from the institution where they intend to receive their degree, approving their enrollment in Summer School at ECSU.

Summer instruction is both face-to face and online. Online and face-to face course offerings and instructions on how to register can be found on the ECSU Website.

The schedule of classes, instructional formats, program designs, and faculty and staff office hours have been conveniently established with our students’ best interests in mind. Academic support services are also offered during the summer through our advisors and counselors along with career development and academic counseling. The Web-based course management system Blackboard is an essential tool used to facilitate the instructional process. A small student-faculty ratio makes possible an intimate classroom environment. The short length of the summer session provides an opportunity for students to take courses at approximately one-half the cost per semester hour as during the academic year. Thus, considerable savings are possible to the student who completes his or her degree requirements in three years by going to two or three summer sessions. ECSU professors and adjunct faculty provide the same quality of instruction as expected during the regular academic year. Regular ECSU professors and impressive adjunct faculty provide the instruction. The course content and academic standards in all courses are the same as in regular semesters. However, there are some basic differences that give the Summer School a distinct character of its own.

ECSU’s campus is full of activities during the summer months with Fall incoming freshmen participating in student orientation, advising, financial aid, and the registration process. A number of workshops, seminars, symposia, and institutes supported by local, state, and federal agencies are held on campus during the summer. These activities facilitate the successful integration of students into the academic and social components of the campus environment. During the summer, the facilities of the University are also utilized by a variety of programs, including NC-MSEN, Upward Bound, VA- NC LSAMP Program, V.I.K.I.N.G.S. Academy Scholars Program, and others, bringing students of all ages with diverse interests to ECSU.

Program Administration

The Summer Program Director is administratively responsible to the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs through the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. The Director works in close cooperation with the various constituent parts of the University to implement the Summer Program in conjunction with the various support services of the University. The Summer School Advisory Committee provides input to the Director for the purpose of program governance. The Summer School Program is affiliated with the regional and national groups of the North American Association of Summer Sessions (NAASS).

For more information regarding the Summer School Program at Elizabeth City State University, email us at summer@ecsu.edu.

Office of Graduate Education

Graduate Education is committed to the mission of Elizabeth City State University. Quality graduate degree programs are designed to meet the needs of the citizens of northeastern North Carolina, the state, the nation, and the global community. Dedicated faculty and staff prepare students in a challenging, supportive, and highly technical environment to compete and excel in a technologically advanced society for the 21st century global economy.

The graduate degree program offerings include:

  • The Master of Education in Elementary Education: A 100% online program with concentrations in Initial Certification and Teacher Leadership.
  • The Master of School Administration: A rigorous program that leads to a certification as a K-12 Principal for public schools in North Carolina.
  • The Master of Science in Biology, which includes two concentrations: Biological Sciences and Biology Education. The Biological Sciences track offers opportunities to study in the areas of microbiology, cell biology, plant and animal molecular biology, and biotechnology.
  • The Master of Science in Mathematics, which includes four concentrations: Mathematics Education, Applied Mathematics, Community College Teaching and Remote Sensing. For your convenience, you may access our graduate catalog, applications, and enrollment forms for all graduate programs on our website at www.ecsu.edu/academics/graduateeducation/index.cfm.