Honors Program

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The University Honors Program (UHP) at Detroit Mercy offers students a unique opportunity to challenge themselves and each other through deeper academic experiences and meaningful campus and community engagement.

As students in the UHP, you will learn and grow together, explore ideas and develop skills with some of the very best faculty members at the University of Detroit Mercy, and clarify your own sense of purpose and vocation through service in the city of Detroit.

Whatever your career path, the individualized attention of the UHP will help you achieve your personal and professional goals, all while you develop lasting relationships with peers as well as professors who have your best interest at heart.

How do you join University Honors Program

ahmed headshotThe Honors program has stopped me from turning into an engineering robot. It's helping me become a well-rounded person, thinking not only about academics, but also about life outside of school and our purpose in this world. And I am very grateful for that.

—Ahmad Chalhoub, ‘22, Mechanical Engineering.

Scholarly Excellence

University Honors students work closely with outstanding faculty members who are committed to their academic, personal and professional success. 

Honors students take required classes together, learning and bonding through classroom discussion and projects.

Community

Join a vibrant Honors community, featuring:

  • Social events at the Gardella Honors House, including movie and pizza nights
  • Group service projects on campus and in the community
  • Honors trips to iconic venues in Metro Detroit, including the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Opera House, the Detroit Sympony Orchestra, and Comerica Park (home of the Tigers)

Through programming and leadership opportunities, the UHP offers students the opportunity to build bonds for life.

Service

Students in the University Honors Program perform 100 hours or more of community-engaged service over their four years in the program.

Students positively contribute to our city, region, and world; grow as citizens and neighbors; and clarify their own sense of purpose and vocation.

Leadership

All UHP students are members of the Honors Leadership Council and actively plan UHP social events, lectures, forums and film nights. 

Honors students are also members of the Emerging Leaders Program at Detroit Mercy where you explore your leadership potential and abilities through involvement in programs, events, activities and service on and off campus.

sarah buhay headshotWe learn in an intimate community consisting of peers who are similarly driven toward scholarship and achievement.

Our classroom environments allow for free, scholarly discussion that has not only helped me continue to focus on my love of learning, but has broadened my knowledge through the interaction with my peers and their unique perspectives.

—Sarah Buhay, ‘20, Biology (Pre-Med)

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  • Honors Program Application

    Membership Requirements - Incoming Freshmen

    • High school GPA of 3.5 or better
    • Involvement in high school extra-curricular activities
    • Participation in the University Honors Program is by invitation only

    You will be invited

    Once students are accepted to Detroit Mercy, the Honors Program Coordinators will invite those students who have a least a 3.5 GPA to apply for the program. In special cases, they may consider students who have a minimum 3.3 GPA.

    • Transfer Students: Students who transfer to Detroit Mercy from another institution may petition to join the University Honors Program. Petitions will be granted on a case-by-case basis.
    • Accelerated 6-Year Law Scholars Program: Students in the 6-Year Law Scholars Program are welcome to participate in the University Honors Program. Interested students should contact Dr. Stephen Pasqualina (pasquasg@udmercy.edu) for more information. The requirements placed on Honors students in the Accelerated 6-Year Law Scholars Program are extremely demanding. Please see the Undergraduate Catalog for more information.

    Essay

    Students must submit an essay in order to be considered.

    Essay Prompts

    1. Detroit Mercy's Mission and Identity states that universities are places where students learn to "understand reality from many different perspectives." Why do diverse perspectives matter in higher education? What perspective do you bring to Detroit Mercy?

    2. A Jesuit and Mercy education strives to graduate "men and women for others." What does this mean to you and how would you live it out?

    Upload your essay to the .

    Notification

    The Honors Program Directors will review your application and notify you if you have been accepted into the program.

  • Honors Curriculum

    Overview

    University Honors Program students must fulfill 19 required Honors credits during their University careers by taking:

    • University Honors Freshman Seminar (HON 1000) (fall semester, freshman year)
    • Fifteen (15) hours of academic Honors elective courses (recommended one per semester for the first six semesters)
    • Three (3) additional Honors credits, which may be satisfied through one of the following options:
      • Three (3) credit hours (HON 4997, HON 4998, HON 4999) devoted to writing a senior thesis under the guidance of a faculty member (This takes place over the course of three or more semesters.)
      • One (1) additional three-credit academic Honors course.
    • Fulfillment of one hundred (100) hours total of community-engaged service.

    In addition, students must complete one of the following:

    • Honors Thesis
    • Honors Portfolio

    Note: The Honors Curriculum represents minimum requirements. Students may enroll in additional Honors academic courses.

    Graduation Requirements

    • Fulfillment of University Honors curriculum
    • Fulfillment of 100 hours total of community-engaged service
    • A minimum overall GPA of 3.3 at time of graduation/degree certification

    See Detroit Mercy Undergraduate Catalog and UHP Student Handbook for additional information on UHP requirements.

  • Honors Recognition

    Honors Recognition at Graduation

    Members of the University Honors Program who maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.3 and complete all of the graduation requirements for the program will:

    • Have their degree designated as an Honors degree, with “Honors” printed on their diplomas
    • Receive the University Honors Program certificate
    • Wear golden Honors cords at Commencement
    • Receive transcripts that bear the Honors designation

    Latin Honors

    University Honors students will graduate with Latin Honors if they have earned a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher. Students will be awarded cum laude honors with a GPA of 3.5 or higher, magna cum laude with a GPA of 3.7 or higher, and summa cum laude with a GPA of 3.9 or higher.

    Emerging Leaders Opportunities

    As part of their involvement in the Emerging Leaders Program, Honors students will have the opportunity to achieve either the leadership pin or medallion during their Detroit Mercy academic career.

    Leadership Pin

    One of the requirements for the leadership pin is 125 hours of service, which is just 25 hours beyond the UHP requirement. As such, many Honors students opt to pursue the Leadership Pin.

    Leadership Medallion

    The leadership medallion requires an additional 125 hours of service, in addition to the other requirements listed on the Emerging Leaders website.

  • Study Abroad Options

    The University Honors Program recognizes the value of study abroad and encourages students to participate when possible. Living and working with people from other cultures is an invaluable learning experience for any college student, particularly given the increasingly global nature of business, science, art and politics.

    Members of the University Honors Program may take up to two accredited study abroad courses in lieu of required Honors courses.

    University of Detroit Mercy offers several study abroad programs in places like Australia, Brazil, Cuba, China, El Salvador, England, Greece, Italy, Mexico and Poland.

    Interested students should consult with the departments sponsoring these programs for more information and contact the University Honors Program directors to request a course substitution for an approved study abroad course.

hannah headshotThe Honors Program gave me a chance to research what I'm passionate about and pushed me past what I thought I was capable of within both my majors. All of the professors I had within the program were so dedicated to making sure I succeeded, and their commitment to my growth solidified my experience at Detroit Mercy as a good one.

—Hannah Tillman, ‘19, Psychology and English

Meet your Directors and Faculty

If you have any general questions regarding the Honors Program, feel free to contact one the program co-directors below. Be sure to follow us on and !

Honors Program Directors

Pasqualina picture

Stephen Pasqualina
Assistant Professor of English
Co-Director, University Honors Program
313-993-2008
pasquasg@udmercy.edu

Rombes picture

Nick Rombes
Professor of English
Co-Director University Honors Program
313-993-1085
rombesnd@udmercy.edu

Honors Program Faculty

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Mary-Catherine Harrison
Associate Professor of English
* Department Chair
313-993-1081
mc.harrison@udmercy.edu

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J. Todd Hibbard
Professor of Religious Studies
* Chair of Religious Studies
313-993-1088
hibbarja@udmercy.edu

Papa picture

Andrew Papa
* Department Chair
On leave through January 2025
Associate Professor of Theatre
University Honors Program Affiliate Faculty
313-993-3220
papaam@udmercy.edu

Rombes picture

Nick Rombes
Professor of English
Co-Director University Honors Program
313-993-1085
rombesnd@udmercy.edu

Honors Program Advisory Council

Chapman picture

Sharde' Chapman
Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
313-993-2007
chapmasn@udmercy.edu

Harrison picture

Mary-Catherine Harrison
Associate Professor of English
* Department Chair
313-993-1081
mc.harrison@udmercy.edu

Hibbard picture

J. Todd Hibbard
Professor of Religious Studies
* Chair of Religious Studies
313-993-1088
hibbarja@udmercy.edu

Papa picture

Andrew Papa
* Department Chair
On leave through January 2025
Associate Professor of Theatre
University Honors Program Affiliate Faculty
313-993-3220
papaam@udmercy.edu

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Evan Peterson
* Arnold Jarboe Chair of Business Administration & Director of Undergraduate Business Programs
313-993-1114
petersea@udmercy.edu

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Thomas Provost
Assistant Professor of Architecture and Community Development
provoste@udmercy.edu

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Miao Qian
Assistant Professor of Psychology
313-578-0455
qianmi@udmercy.edu

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