Shorter Honors Academy

Students from the Honors Academy joined together to make this video showing the many benefits of the program. Video produced by Caleb Britt.

What is the Shorter Honors Academy?

Sigma Eta Alpha or SHA (Shorter Honors Academy) is the official name of Shorter University’s prestigious Honors Program. The Shorter Honors Academy offers a challenging environment for talented and intellectually gifted students who seek an enhanced education. The aim of the academy is to challenge students to cultivate strong habits of critical thinking and creativity in a community of scholars.

What is the mission statement for the Shorter Honors Academy?

The Shorter Honors Academy provides an enriched curriculum for students who want to go beyond regular undergraduate requirements and creates an intellectually charged and engaged community of students and faculty. It promotes a distinctive educational experience that challenges students to cultivate depth and breadth in critical and creative thought, as well as facilitates students’ interdisciplinary contributions to intellectual life and the community. No matter what program of study a student desires to pursue, the Shorter Honors Academy can enhance the quality of that educational experience.

How is it different from other Latin Honors and Honor societies?

  • Latin Honors refers to the recognition that students who graduate cum laude (cumulative GPA of 3.5-3.74), magna cum laude (cumulative GPA of 3.75-3.874), or summa cum laude (cumulative GPA of 3.875-4.0) receive on their diplomas.
  • The Dean’s List is a distinction given by semester to any full-time student who earns a minimum GPA of 3.5 for 12 credit hours or more for a semester.
  • Several majors offer Honor societies for their students. See the chair of your major department for more information.
  • Shorter Honors Academy students can achieve any or all of these distinctions; however, not every student who achieves these distinctions is part of the Shorter Honors Academy. Only 5% of college and university students nationally graduate with an Honors Program degree.

How can I join the Shorter Honors Academy?

Admission to the Shorter Honors Academy can be achieved in several ways. Many highly qualified students, including Shorter Scholars, are invited to apply upon admission to the University. Still others apply on their own after discovering the academy during the admission process or their first quarters at the University. Students from any major may be in the Shorter Honors Academy.

If a student chooses to join the Shorter Honors Academy, s/he must meet with the Director. To maintain the high quality of the academy, we reserve the right to limit the number of students accepted.

Incoming students who believe they would be a good fit for the academy, transfer students, and current students are all encouraged to apply to the Director. Students admitted to the academy typically have high school GPAs above 3.5, ACT scores of 28 or higher and SATs of 1400 (verbal and math) or higher. Current Shorter University students must have a GPA of 3.5 or above. If you are interested, talk to Dr. Vosevich.

What are the requirements in general?

In a nutshell, Shorter Honors Academy students must take two Honors Colloquia (three credit hours each) and four Honors classes or Honors Add-On classes (12 credit hours). In addition, they must write a thesis that they will defend to the Honors Director and major professor. Students’ progress towards the successful completion of the Academy requirements will be monitored. Students not making sufficient progress must meet with the director to address a strategy for completion.

What are the requirements more specifically?

Shorter Honors Academy students may choose to take regularly offered Honors classes, including ENG 1030, ENG 1040, HON 2000, and HON 3000. Other classes that are often rotated in include COM 1010, HIS 2XXX, and ENG 2XXX. Students may also opt to take Add-On classes. In this case, students negotiate with their professors to enhance the class so that it becomes the equivalent of an Honors class. For students to get credit for an Add-On class, they must fill out the Honors Add-On form and secure the proper signatures.

Along with completing a total of 18 hours of Honors courses, students must write an Honors Thesis. Honors Thesis courses are required (two to four credit hours) if a student’s major does not include a written capstone. If a student’s major does include a written capstone paper, then the student must work with the Honors Director to ensure the quality is sufficient to warrant Honors Thesis credit. The thesis must also be defended to the Honors Director and major professor. The student’s overall GPA must be at least 3.5 upon graduation.

Note that many of these Honors requirements overlap with degree requirements, so students may actually end up adding ZERO additional hours to their graduation requirements.

What are the benefits of the Shorter Honors Academy?

Being a part of the Shorter Honors Academy brings with it numerous advantages, including enjoying smaller classes of gifted students. Moreover, Shorter Honors Academy students register first. This is a great benefit, particularly for students in their first years of study. Honors Academy students also enjoy the perk of not incurring charges for any hours over 19 taken in one semester. In other words, if a student elects to take 21 hours in a semester, that student only pays for 19—the additional two credit hours will not incur a charge.

In addition, the thesis that each Honors student writes is published and becomes part of the Livingston Library at Shorter University. The student also receives Honor cords to signal high achievement, as well as an Honors seal on the diploma.

Several of our students have won major awards in recent years, including Alpha Chi National Awards and scholarships, and many graduates have gone on to acceptance at the following prestigious universities:

·         University of Edinburgh in Scotland (English, Art) ·         Peabody Institute (Music)
·         University of Bath in England (English) ·         University of Florida (Chemistry)
·         University of Georgia (Journalism) ·         Georgia State (Psychology)
·         Georgia Tech (Chemistry) ·         Shorter University (Accounting)

Here are a few examples of recent employers:

·         Lewis Chemical ·         Shorter University (Financial Aid)
·         Baltimore High School (Band Director) ·         Surya Marketing
·         Middle/High Schools (various schools) ·         Park Ranger Services

Would you like to join our community of scholars?

Students in the Shorter Honors Academy share a love of learning and an enthusiasm for idea exchange. Our activities and programs are designed to support, strengthen, and highlight the achievements of our members.

Honors Study Lounge

Active Honors Academy students earn access to an exclusive study lounge, courtesy of generous donors who value the community that an Honors Academy should develop.

How can I become an Honors Ambassador?

Active Shorter Honors Academy students with a passion to mentor new participants and evangelize the program can apply to be Honors Ambassadors. Honors Ambassadors serve the Academy by staffing recruiting tables, giving tours to prospective students, providing information to faculty, and being “familiar faces” on campus to promote the Shorter Honors Academy.


View the Honors Checklist


View the Honors Add-On Form

Contact us!

If you would like to learn more about the Shorter Honors Academy, please contact Dr. Angie Crea O’Neal at or 706-233-7650.


Dr. Angela O'NealDr. O’Neal holds the Joan Alden Speidel Chair in English and is the Chair of English, Modern Languages, and Liberal Arts. She earned a Ph.D. in English from Arizona State University. Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, her work has appeared in a variety of literary and academic journals, including The Cumberland River Review, Stirring: A Literary Collection, Gravel: A Literary Journal, InterVarsity’s The Well and Emerging Scholar’s Network, and Cambridge Scholars Press, among others. Her first collection of poems, The Way Things Fall, is forthcoming in 2017 from Anchor & Plume Press.

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