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Undergraduate Honors Program

SPA Honors Students

The SPA Honors Program provides SPA students with outstanding academic records the opportunity to earn school-based Honors. SPA students in the highly-selective Honors Program take rigorous courses in public affairs open only to SPA Honors Program members; conduct a semester-long original research project mentored by two faculty members; and participate in Honors Program activities.

  • Complete nine SPA Honors credits consisting of a combination of SPA Honors colloquia (SPA 300), honors supplements to existing 3-credit courses at the 400 level or above, and approved independent study; and
  • Complete the Honors capstone course (SPA 480), in which you will research and write an original thesis.
  • Have completed at least 45 credits (AP credits are not included in the 45 credits), with a minimum of 15 credits completed at American University;
  • Have at least three semesters remaining; and
  • Have a minimum GPA of 3.67. SPA Honors students must also take one of the SPA research methods courses-JLC 280, GOVT 310, or JLC 604-before enrolling in the capstone sequence.
  1. What is the SPA Honors Program?
    The SPA Honors Program provides SPA students with outstanding academic records the opportunity to earn school-based Honors. SPA students in the highly-selective Honors Program take rigorous courses in public affairs open only to SPA Honors Program members; conduct a semester-long original research project mentored by two faculty members; and participate in Honors Program activities.
  2. Where can I find the SPA Honors Application?
    
To apply to the American University Honors Program, you must complete the program application.
  3. When do I apply for the SPA Honors Program?

    Students apply in the second semester of their sophomore year, when they have at least three semesters remaining at SPA. Politics, Policy and Law (PPL) students and students graduating a semester early will apply the first semester of their second year.
  4. What are the requirements for admission to the SPA Honors Program?
    
Eligible students will be invited to apply early in the second semester of sophomore year, or in the first semester of their second year if they are PPL students or graduating early. To apply, a student must have completed at least 45 credits (AP credits are not included in the 45 credits), with a minimum of 15 credits completed at American University; have at least three semesters remaining; and have a minimum GPA of 3.67.
  5. Can transfer students apply?
    
Qualified transfer students with a minimum of 15 credits completed at American University may apply.
  6. When is the application deadline?

    TBD
  7. How many students are accepted into the program each year?
    
The SPA Honors Program admits up to 20 students per year.
  8. What are the requirements for the SPA Honors Program?
    
The following requirements are needed to graduate with Honors:
    • Earn minimum 3.67 cumulative GPA to apply
    • Complete one of the SPA research methods courses-JLC 280, GOVT 310, or JLC 604
    • Complete three nine SPA Honors credits consisting of a combination of SPA Honors colloquia (SPA 300), honors supplements to existing 3-credit courses at the 400 level or above, and approved independent study; and
    • Complete the Honors capstone course (SPA 480), in which you will research and write an original thesis.
  9. What is the Spring 2019 SPA Honors Colloquium?

    The Spring 2019 SPA Honors Colloquium will be "Oral Histories of the Civil Rights Movement," taught by Professor Ivers.
  10. What if I want to pursue the combined Bachelor's/Master's program?

    SPA Honors students will receive priority consideration for admission and merit aid funding for SPA's Combined Bachelor's/Master's Programs.

Diandra AngielloDiandra Angiello is a senior studying Interdisciplinary Studies in Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government (CLEG) in the School of Public Affairs with a Sustainability Minor in Kogod School of Business. She is a member of the SPA Honors Program and Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity. Diandra is an aspiring environmental lawyer, who is passionate about the outdoors and traveling. In her role as program assistant, Diandra organizes events, recruits eligible students, corresponds with current SPA Honors members and alumni, as well as works on the program website.

Aaaron ToropAaron Torop Class of 2018

Aaron graduated Summa Cum Laude from American University in May 2018. As a member of the SPA Honors Program, Aaron wrote his senior capstone thesis on Evangelical Voting Behavior. Aaron went on to present his findings at the 31st National Conference of Undergraduate Research, where he won the award of Outstanding Scholarship at the Undergraduate Level. Since graduating in May, Aaron was a part of a small team that organized a Congressional Solidarity Walkout on March 14th, bringing 3,000 high school students and dozens of members of Congress together to walk out and speak out about gun violence. At the walkout, Aaron had the honor of introducing Representative John Lewis, a personal hero of his. In August, Aaron began a one-year position as a Legislative Assistant at the Religious Action Center (RAC). The RAC helps represent the voice of the Union for Reform Judaism on Capitol Hill, which is comprised of 900 Congregations and 1.5 million Reform Jews. Aaron is immensely excited for this opportunity and his ability to continue working in politics from a Jewish perspective.

More Information

For more information, contact SPA Honors Program Director Lara Schwartz lschwart@american.edu or SPA Honors Program Assistant Diandra Angiello da6649a@student.american.edu.

Program Director

Lara Schwartz Professorial Lecturer SPA - Government

Lara Schwartz specializes in civil discourse and campus speech, constitutional law, civil rights, politics, communications, and policy. Drawing on her experience as a legislative lawyer, lobbyist, and

  lschwart@american.edu

  (202) 885-6682