Honors (Emerging Scholars)

You have the opportunity to graduate with honors through our Emerging Scholars Program. This program is designed to allow students to customize their honors experience through completion of required interdisciplinary seminars, focused course enrichments and a capstone senior honors thesis.

The Emerging Scholars Program is available to all students, provided you maintain a Central College GPA of 3.50 and successfully complete all the requirements. Additionally, entering students meeting certain academic criteria are eligible to participate during your first semester at Central. Applications to the Emerging Scholars program can take place either during the 2nd or 3rd year of study.

Students complete an honors thesis each year
100% of students who complete the Emerging Scholars Program are recognized at graduation
Approx. 60 students enroll in Honors Seminars each year

Beyond Central

Successful Careers

  • Associate professor of Latin American Politics, Allegheny College, Penn.
  • Assistant Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Purdue University
  • Software Engineer at IBM, Houston, Texas
  • Clinical Research Associate, Medpace Pharmaceuticals, Cincinnati
  • Neurologist, University of Kansas Hospital, Kansas City
  • Chief Creative Director and co-founder of ART NOT WAR, a creative agency and production company specializing in multimedia for social justice campaigns.
  • Teen Librarian at the Rochester, Minnesota Public Library
  • Small Mammals Keeper, Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines
  • Applications Programmer, Henderson Manufacturing, Manchester, Iowa
Central College student

Graduate Placement

  • Drake University Law School
  • D. Program, University of Iowa
  • Dental School, University of Iowa
  • D./Ph.D., Duke Medical School
  • D. Program, University of Nebraska
  • Palmer College of Chiropractic
  • Master’s in Public Policy, University of Chicago
  • D. Program, University of Kentucky College of Medicine

Honors Organizations

  • Phi Sigma Tau, Philosophy Honor Society, Central College Chapter
  • Beta Beta Beta, Biology Honor Society, Central College Chapter Pi Nu
  • Kappa Mu Epsilon, Mathematics Honor Society, Central College Chapter
  • Psi Chi, National Honor Society of the American Psychological Association, Central College Chapter
  • Phi Alpha Theta, National History Honor Society, Central College Chapter
  • Pi Sigma Alpha, National Honor Society of Political Science, Central College Chapter
  • Alpha Psi Omega, Theatre National Honor Society

An emerging scholars student presenting her honors thesis.

Recent Internships

  • Federal Reserve, Chicago
  • Computer Science Research Experience, Center for Educational Informatics, North Carolina State University
  • Physics Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF), University of Maryland
  • Biology Summer Research, Des Moines University
  • Summer Research Intern, Chicago Botanic Garden
  • Physics Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF), Oak Ridge National Laboratory + University of Tennessee
  • Web Programmer Internship, Alliance Technologies, Des Moines, Iowa
  • Medical Sciences Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF), Mayo Clinic
  • Physics Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF), Center for Research in Extreme Scale Technologies at Indiana University
  • Biology Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF), University of Iowa
  • Conservation Laws and Applications Mathematics Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF), University of Wyoming
Central College student

The Central Difference

Honors Seminars

Honors Seminars group students together from a variety of disciplines to explore topics from an interdisciplinary perspective. These one-semester-hour courses are often taken by first-year students as their introduction to the Emerging Scholars Program.

Central College student

Honors Enrichment Credit

At Central, every course can be an honors course by adding an Honors Enrichment Credit to any course in which you have special interest. Through honors enrichments, you have the opportunity to work closely with a professor to dig deeper into a subject of interest. Generally taken in the second year of study, enrichments help build mentorship relationships that can lead to other opportunities such as summer research and senior honors thesis.

Senior Honors Thesis

The capstone of the Emerging Scholars Program is the Senior Honors Thesis, a significant research project spearheaded by the student, and supervised by a faculty member and second reader. Students who complete a thesis distinguish themselves when applying for graduate school, fellowships and employment.