The Honors Program
is OCC’s “college within a college,” designed with intellectually curious and creative students in mind. Its main focus is to develop and expand educational opportunities for highly motivated individuals, and to improve their prospects of transfer to even the most competitive universities in the nation. Program benefits include possible participation in or attendance at academic conferences, special library privileges, guest lectures by visiting scholars, and scholarships. Those who complete the Honors Program receive transcript notation, have the privilege of wearing honors regalia at graduation and receive priority transfer consideration to select universities. In order to be admitted, students must fulfill specific admission requirements
(including a minimum GPA of 3.25 and an English 100 requirement) and complete an application
. Applications are accepted throughout the year: there are no dues or fees, and the only deadlines are those associated with certification for transfer. Membership requirements
include completing at least one honors class within one year of enrolling in the Honors Program and meeting with an Honors Counselor at least once each semester. Completion requirements
are more extensive, and include completion of at least 18 units of honors courses in three different disciplines.
Orange Coast College currently offer honors courses in 18 disciplines: anthropology, architecture, art, astronomy, biology, business, English, geography, geology, history, humanities, mathematics, marine science, photography, political science, psychology, sociology and Spanish.
Honors courses are challenging. Honors instructors enhance basic curriculum requirements of their classes by offering more intensive study than is possible in most non-honors sections. Freedom of inquiry and student discovery are stressed. Honors sections are intended to foster discussion, a mastery of content, critical thinking and analysis. Guest speakers, field trips and comprehensive research (including presentation of results) further enhance most honors sections.
Honors courses are open to all students, whether or not they are enrolled in the Honors Program itself. In addition, there are no prerequisites for honors sections other than those that apply to non-honors sections of the same courses. However, completion of or concurrent enrollment in English 100 is strongly recommended as most honors sections include an advanced writing component.
Relationship of honors courses to the Honors Program:
Honors Program members must take an honors course within a year of being admitted to the Program in order to maintain active membership. In order to complete the Program, members must complete 18 units of honors courses in at least three academic disciplines.
To find out more about honors courses, click here
An honor society (often designated by a Greek name) is an organization associated with high academic achievement and may also indicate a student’s interest in a specific field of study. Many honor societies have a community/campus service focus.
There are chapters of several honor societies at OCC:
- Phi Theta Kappa, International Honor Society of the Two-Year College (for students completing associate-level coursework in all disciplines and majors),
- Alpha Gamma Sigma, California Community College Scholastic Honor Society (for students completing coursework in all disciplines and majors),
- Mu Alpha Theta National Honor Society for Mathematics (for students completing certain coursework in mathematics),
- Psi Beta National Psychology Honor Society (for students completing psychology coursework),
- Alpha Beta Gamma, International Business Honor Society (for students completing coursework in business, accounting, finance, economics, travel & tourism, culinary arts, and other business-related fields),
- National Technology Honor Society (for students completing coursework in technology and engineering),
- Phi Alpha Mu, OCC campus wide Social and Behavioral Sciences Honor Society (for students completing coursework in the social and behavioral sciences)
- Mu Delta Rho, OCC campus wide honor society for pre-health professionals (for students completing coursework in preparation for a pre-health major or a an allied health certificate).
Benefits of membership with the honor societies include opportunities for campus and community service, conference attendance, leadership development, special scholarship opportunities, and more. In addition, permanent members of honor societies receive recognition at graduation ceremonies and notations of their honor society membership on official transcripts.
Honor societies may enroll on the basis of invitation or voluntary application, some require a community service component, and most require the payment of dues.
Relationship of honor societies to the Honors Program:
While there is no official relationship between the honor societies and the Honors Program, because students who enroll in the Program tend to earn high GPA's, many also qualify for one or more honor societies.
To find out more about the honor societies, including information about the admissions qualifications and processes, check the OCC Academic Honor Societies
The Honors List is one of three distinctions that are automatically added to a student's transcript when that student fulfills certain GPA criteria (see below). There are no applications to fill out, and no fees to pay for these honors. These semester distinctions are not, however, sufficient to entitle students to the privilege of wearing honors regalia at graduation.
- Dean's List Notation: The student completes 12 or more units of OCC coursework with letter grades and earns a semester GPA of 3.50-3.99.
- Honors List Notation: The student completes 6 - 11.9 units of OCC coursework with letter grades and earns a semester GPA of 3.75-4.0.
- President's List Notation: The student completes 12 or more units of OCC coursework with letter grades and earns a semester GPA of 4.0.
Relationship of the Honors List to the Honors Program:
In addition to other criteria, Honors Program members must have a minimum overall GPA of 3.25 to be admitted to, maintain active membership in and complete the Program. Many members earn even higher semester GPA's, qualifying them for the Dean's, Honors or President's Lists.
Honors Night is the annual presentation of scholarships and service/leadership awards to OCC students. Organized by the Dean of Students Office, Honors Night is traditionally celebrated during the second week of May, and is sometimes confused with the Honors Program Reception and Recognition Ceremony, also held in May, during which members who complete the Program requirements are recognized. In 2008, OCC celebrated its 50th Honors Night
with over 400 students receiving 414 scholarships worth a combined total of $360,000.
Relationship of Honors Night to the Honors Program:
Because students who enroll in the Honors Program tend to be highly motivated and earn high GPA's, many also qualify for one or more scholarships. In fact, Honors Program students typically end up taking home a disproportionately high percentage of scholarships on Honors Night. In addition, there is an Honors Program scholarship that is awarded on Honors Night for which Honors Program students may be considered.
To find out more, see the Honors Night
page on the OCC Scholarships website