Welcome from the Honors Institute Director

Welcome to the Honors Institute at Belmont Abbey College! As both a scholarship program and a course of study, the Honors Institute occupies a special place on campus. Rooted in the “Great Books” programs founded at the universities of Oxford, Columbia, Chicago, and Notre Dame, our curriculum is inspired by a pursuit of what Matthew Arnold called “the best that has been thought and said in the world.” In doing so, we study a diverse range of authors and works, from Confucius and Aristotle to Dante and Shakespeare, and from Kant and Dickinson to Freud and Morrison. In this way, we strive in our seminars to listen to the many voices that have shaped and that continue to influence our shared present.

Such listening, however, isn’t reserveIMG_5180d solely for the classroom. To enrich our experiences there, we frequently visit the nearby city of Charlotte and its surrounding area, which offers a wealth of cultural, professional, and community service opportunities. In addition to these, we travel annually to Hilton Head, South Carolina, for an academic retreat designed on the model of an Oxford “reading party,” and to Europe for six weeks every summer for a study abroad program. The range of activities, in fact, is as varied as the interests of our students. While all enrolled in the Honors Institute excel academically, many are also athletes, actors, artists, musicians, activists, and parish volunteers.

In The Rule of St. Benedict, the novice is encouraged to listen with what is called “the ear of your heart.” As the metaphor implies, the aspiring monk must attend upon the truth in a way that involves his whole being, not simply learning “by heart,” but by a heartfelt pursuit. Although we in the Honors Institute are not tasked with the training of monks, we are equally passionate about the pursuit of learning. If you, too, are inspired by similar pursuits, I encourage you to consider joining us here at Belmont Abbey College.

Dr. Joseph Pizza
Director of the Honors Institute
Assistant Professor of English
Belmont Abbey College

Joining the Honors Institute

High school seniors with a grade point average of 3.7 or higher and an SAT score (math and verbal) of at least 1200 (including a minimum verbal score of 600) will be considered for admission to the Honors Institute.

Students admitted to the Honors Institute are generally awarded an Honors Fellowship. Recipients of this prestigious award receive significant financial assistance annually.

In order to apply for admission to the Honors Institute and for an Honors Fellowship you must complete an online application. The online application will be available on or before November 15 of the year prior to your freshman enrollment at Belmont Abbey College. Return to this page for a link to the application. The applications for the Honors Institute and Honors Fellowship are due by January 31st.

As part of the application process, students will need to take part in a Scholarship Interview. Ordinarily, the Scholarship Interview takes place during our Scholarship Weekend which will be held February 20-21, 2015.  If a student is unable to attend the Scholarship Weekend, he or she should contact the Honors Institute Director prior to January 31st in order to arrange for a scholarship interview on another occasion.

The Honors Fellowship is a four-year award. Renewal for each academic year is contingent upon a student’s maintaining a 3.5 grade point average and his/her continued participation in the Honors Institute by taking Honors courses and by taking part in required Honors Institute activities (attendance at occasional dinners, Honors Paper presentations, lectures by visiting professors, etc.).

Honors Fellowship students participate in a one-month study-abroad program between the junior and senior years. Participating students are awarded a $3,500 stipend to help defray expenses for this program.

At the end of the sophomore year, Honors Institute students are invited to take part in two-day academic retreat on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.

Click here for program application and additional information.