Skip to main content


Honors Program

The mission of the ETBU Honors Program is to provide a tight-knit community of scholars in pursuit of the Christian intellectual life through the pairing of academic rigor with informed reflection for thoughtful engagement with the world.

We accomplish our mission with three series of courses that complement any major field of study offered at the university. Our program is designed for flexibility: students can pick and choose which courses they want to take, or they can declare Honors as their minor, which requires them to complete 18 or 19 credit hours, depending on their concentration.


Designed for first- and second-year students, the one-credit-hour Initiation courses lay the foundations of living a faith-filled life of the mind and a mindful life of faith.

An Initiation course may substitute for LEAD 1111 when taken during the student’s first semester at ETBU.

HNRS 1101 Life of the Mind
Explores the meaning of a Christian intellectual life through the discovery and practice of intellectual virtues

HNRS 1102 Great Christian Thinkers
Highlights select Christian intellectuals throughout history to see how they practiced intellectual virtues to love the Lord with all their mind in their work

HNRS 1100 Idea of the University
Traces the influence of Christian faith on the history of universities and examines the challenges of pursuing one’s academic studies within a Christian framework

HNRS 1103 Faith and Reason
Guides students in the focused reading of a selected work by a contemporary Christian thinker to assess its merit and relate it to the vocation of faith


Designed for students in their third year and beyond, Inheritance courses engage students in rigorous Socratic discussion about key texts in Western intellectual history.

Inheritance courses are team-taught by faculty from different disciplines, are capped at 15 students for optimal discussion, and equip students to grapple with significant ideas from a Christian perspective.

HNRS 3301 Inheritance of the Ancients
In this course, students have read and discussed texts from the Bible as well as texts by Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Athanasius, Augustine, Boethius, and the Early Church Fathers.

HNRS 3302 Inheritance of the Middle Ages
In this course, students have read and discussed texts by Thomas Aquinas, Dante, Christine de Pizan, Julian of Norwich, Leonardo da Vinci, Erasmus, Thomas More, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Montaigne.

HNRS 3303 Inheritance of the Enlightenment
In this course, students have read and discussed texts by René Descartes, Blaise Pascal, Samuel Johnson, Immanuel Kant, Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Leo Tolstoy.

HNRS 3304 Inheritance of the Modern World
In this course, students have read and discussed texts by C. S. Lewis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Viktor Frankl, Martin Luther King, Thomas Kuhn, Gustavo Gutierrez, Francis Collins, Marilynne Robinson, and James K. A. Smith.



Investment courses guide students in the completion of an Honors Project, an in-depth research project on a topic chosen by the student within his or her major. Successful completion of an Honors Project results in the student Graduating with Distinction, a special recognition at Commencement.

For eligibility requirements to conduct an Honors Project, please see the current ETBU academic catalog.

HNRS 4301 Honors Project I: Proposal
The student researches, writes, and defends a proposal for an Honors Project.

HNRS 4302 Honors Project II: Research
The student conducts in-depth research for the project.

HNRS 4303 Honors Project III: Writing
The student completes the written portion of the project.

HNRS 4204 Honors Project IV: Presentation
The student defends the project to his or her committee, revises the project for final submission, and publicly presents the project.



Following the ASK Speaker’s Banquet in 2022, one student articulated well the importance of community for intellectual growth in her written reflection: 

“In the honors program, we have a chance to be a part of something more than ourselves. We have the chance to be a community, to take part in a shared experience, to grow together, to help one another. We have the opportunity to bounce ideas off one another, to have space in which we can wrestle with and reexamine hard topics, we can delve into new territories of ideas, we can experience the earnest pursuit of a knowledge filled life with each other. A Christian intellectual is not alone, at least not here at ETBU. We are a community, we are not in pursuit of knowledge for the betterment of ourselves, but for the glory of the Kingdom.”

Each year, the Honors Program offers a number of social events to forge bonds of friendship within the community, including a Fall Welcome Dinner, a retreat, a Christmas party, coffee hours, movie nights, game nights, prayer gatherings, pizza parties, and a Spring Celebration. Honors students serve in the university’s volunteer work at Marshall ISD elementary schools. They also attend the program’s two major academic events: the ASK Speaker’s Banquet and the Honors Symposium, a showcase of completed Honors Projects by graduating seniors.


The Honors Program curriculum provides an intellectual backdrop to students’ chosen fields of study; gives students needed context for study at the graduate level; and equips students with critical thinking, reading, writing, and discussion skills that will prove invaluable in the workforce. Students in the Honors Program see that intellectual pursuits are not reserved for those in the academy but have a productive, positive bearing in all vocations.

Students also benefit financially by participating in the Honors Program. All students enrolled in an Honors course, at any level, receive a scholarship from the university.

Qualifications and Requirements

Incoming freshmen and transfer students with fewer than sixty (60) credit hours are considered for acceptance into the Honors Program after they have completed the application below. Students must have a minimum GPA of 3.8 (on a 4.0 scale) and the following minimum test scores: a combined score of 1210 on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing + Math sections of the SAT or a composite ACT score of 25.

Application for incoming freshmen and transfer students is available below. 
Recommendations should be in the form of a letter.

Currently enrolled students should contact the Honors Program Director or their academic advisor to inquire about enrolling in Honors courses.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Name/Title Division Phone
Dr. Zachary Beck
Director, Honors Program
Professor of English
School of Christian Studies and Humanities 903.923.2267 Send Message View Bio