Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What’s the difference between the Cooper and Schreyer Honors programs?
While both the Jane E. Cooper Honors Program and the Schreyer Honors College share the same mission, vision, and definition of diversity, the Jane E. Cooper Honors Program is a campus-based honors program that is specifically for Penn State Brandywine students.
Students remaining at the Brandywine campus or transferring to the Penn State University Park, Penn State Altoona, Penn State Berks, Penn State Erie, Penn State Abington (for the LAS degree), may apply to join the Schreyer Honors College as a Gateway Scholar until three semesters prior to graduation. Note that it is extremely competitive to be accepted into the Schreyer Honors College. The application requires a personal essay, evidence of high achievement, and an example of discipline-based writing. The Honors Coordinator contacts all eligible Cooper Scholars and reviews the application procedure when the application for Schreyer becomes available each spring semester.
Q: Is the workload a lot more than taking regular courses?
No! Taking an honors course means that the class is smaller and the content is more tailored to suit the interests of the students and the faculty member. The idea is to be able to have more depth, not just add on more work. For example, courses often include individualized research, field trips, speakers, and/or expert speakers. Brandywine Honors students typically take 1-2 honors courses per semester that fulfill their general education or major requirements.
Q: What are the benefits of joining the honors program?
The Jane E. Cooper and Schreyer Honors Programs allows highly motivated students on the Brandywine campus to participate in small, specially designed classes, guaranteed opportunities for undergraduate research with award-winning faculty, targeted internships, and experience unique travel opportunities. Upon acceptance into the program, students join a network of scholars and alumni who are engaged in their communities through a diverse set of research and career opportunities. Both programs also provide resources to assist with applications for prestigious scholarships and fellowships.
Q: What are the requirements for joining either program?
The Cooper Honors Program invites all eligible entering freshmen and welcomes applications from students who have completed at least 24 credit hours of college courses with a minimum GPA of 3.40 for two consecutive semesters, and transfer students who earned a 3.40 GPA at their previous institution. Campus continuing and transfer students must have a minimum of three remaining semesters before graduation and complete an honors thesis. Deadlines to apply are January 1 for the Spring semester and June 1 for the Fall semester.
Admission to the Schreyer Honors College is through application. Entering freshmen may apply at the time they submit their application to Penn State University. Students who earn a 3.7 cumulative GPA may apply at the end of the sophomore year (through the Junior Gate). Current students at Penn State Brandywine should contact an Honors Coordinator if interested in applying for the Schreyer program.
Q: What are the requirements for staying in the program?
All students admitted to the Jane E. Cooper Honors Program or Schreyer Honors College must maintain a cumulative and semester GPA of at least a 3.40 (B+). Failure to attain a cumulative GPA of at least a 3.40 (B+) in one semester places a student on academic warning in the honors program for the following semester and removes the student from good standing in the program. Cooper/Schreyer Scholars with academic warning must raise the cumulative GPA to 3.40 (B+) by the end of the semester with academic warning.
All scholars are required to register for and complete a specific number of honors credits/courses each academic year. The requirements are listed in the Student Handbook. All courses fulfill either General Education requirements or elective credits towards graduation.
All Cooper and Schreyer Scholars are required to complete a senior thesis before graduation. While the student’s personal and professional goals may serve as the foundation for the thesis, the project must be substantial, scholarly, and analytical; show thoughtful and meaningful engagement with the academic major; and demonstrate the student’s initiative. (See the Student Handbook for more details on completing your thesis).
Q: Are there resources to help me schedule the required courses and balance the workload?
When scheduling the required courses for the upcoming academic semester, students are encouraged to schedule an appointment with their assigned academic adviser as well as with an Honors Coodinator.
The program has a variety of items available to help with academic projects. Check with the library front desk for an inventory list. Honors Scholars at Penn State Brandywine have the privilege of checking out Kindles for each academic semester. There is also electronic equipment such as laptops and recorders available for short-term checkout.
The Brandywine Vairo Library offers several resources to all Brandywine students such as the Writing Studio, Lion OWL, the STEM lab, and a number of databases and encyclopedias for research purposes.
Q: Is there a scholarship or funding that supplements acceptance to the program?