Ever been confused about the difference between the HONORS PROGRAMHONORS COURSESHONOR SOCIETIESHONORS LIST and HONORS NIGHT? If so, this is the page for you! Click on any of the terms above or simply scroll down to learn what each means. 

Honors booklet 2022 final (PDF)


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: a minimum GPA of 3.25, an English composition requirement, submit an application, which includes a personal statement, and submit transcripts from all colleges attended.. Applications are accepted until August 31 in the year a student plans to apply to the UC or CSU systems for transfer. Depending on private universities' transfer application deadlines, the Honors Program application deadline may be sooner or later than August 31. Check with the Garrison Honors Center for specific information. There are no application fees to enroll in the Honors Program. Continued enrollment in the Honors Program requires continuous OCC enrollment or written notification of a leave of absence, and completion of at least one honors class within one year. Students are urged to meet with an Honors Counselor pror to enrolling and at least once more each semester. Completion requirements are more extensive, and include completion of at least 15 units of honors courses in three different disciplines, a minimum 3.50 cumulative transferable GPA, and transcripts free of unresolved Ds, Fs, NPs, or other grades that could potentially disqualify a student trom certification or enrollment.

To find out more about the Honors Program, see the other pages of the Program website and/or contact us.


Orange Coast College currently offer honors courses in more than twenty disciplines: anthropology, architecture, art, astronomy, biology, business, economics, English, French, geography, geology, history, humanities, Japanese, mathematics, marine science, photography, physics, political science, psychology, sociology and Spanish.

Honors courses are challenging, often requiring significantly more time for study and projects than non-honors courses. Honors instructors enrich 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 15 units of honors courses in at least three academic disciplines, and earn a letter grade in each.

To find a list of currently-offered honors courses, go to the class schedule and locate the selection window for "Sessions." Select "Honors" from the drop-down menu and click on "Search." 


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 no requirements that members attend meetings or participate in chapter activities; honor societies offer these opportunities for students who are available. 

Each honor society requires a separate application and payment of "dues" or membership fees. These fees are used to operate the honor societies throughout the year, providing members with scholarly and social programming, an induction ceremony, and other benefits.  Fees are submitted with the application for membership and may need to be renewed each semester until permanent membership is achieved (check individual honor society policies).

There are chapters of more than a dozen honor societies at OCC:

  • SALUTE, Veteran's Honor Society

  • Alpha Beta Gamma, International Business Honor Society (business, finance, economics, accounting, and other business-related areas of study)

  • 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 Mu Gamma, National Honor Society for Foreign Language study.

  • 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).

  • Sigma Kappa Delta, National English Honor Society (for students completing college-level coursework in English)

  • Eta Eta Omicron, Marine Science Honor Society (for students completing qualifying coursework in marine science, ecology, geology)

  • Omega Psi Sigma, Political Science, International Relations, and Pre-Law honor society (for students completing qualifying work in political science, history, philosophy, ethics, foreign language, etc.)

  • Pi Rho Sigma, OCC campus-wide honor society for music

  • Pi Tau Epsilon, OCC campus-wide honor society for Film and Visual Arts

  • Sigma Chi Eta, National Communications honor society

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.

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 website.


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 on the second Wednesday in 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 May 2018, OCC celebrated its 60th annual Honors Night with students receiving scholarships worth a combined total of more than $489,000. Last year scholarships totally more than $600,000 were awarded!

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 are Honors Program scholarships 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