Admission to Honors

Student standing on campus with backpack

The Honors College application for spring/fall 2023 is now open! Incoming students should apply through the TU application, and current TU students through the Honors application for current students.

Incoming students Current TU students

The Towson University Honors College provides students the opportunity to think big ideas, pursue deep inquiry, and discover how innovation leads to achievement through a challenging curriculum which meets the unique academic needs and interests of Honors students. Honors students explore their interests and cultivate their talents through a distinct blend of academic and co-curricular activities supported by a community of motivated students and faculty. Honors students have the opportunity to live and learn in a residential environment while pursuing internship, leadership, research, and service opportunities, and they strive to make the world a better place.

Benefits of the Honors College include

Innovative Curriculum and Small Classes

Students are encouraged to complete Honors work that includes co-curricular activities such as leadership workshops, service-learning experiences, and civic engagement. Honors students participate in a flexible curriculum.

  • Classroom experiences: Discussion-based seminars give students an opportunity to work closely with the Honors College faculty in small classroom settings.
  • Experiential learning: Students work with faculty within specific academic departments on research projects, thesis writing, service-learning, independent study, and internships.

Engaged Community and Residential Honors

An engaged community of scholars is a defining characteristic of the Honors experience. We emphasize leadership development, social and civic engagement activities, and programs that build meaningful relationships in and out of the classroom.

Honors College housing is located in the Frederick Douglass House, one of Towson University's residence halls in West Village.

All incoming students who choose to live on campus are placed in the Honors Community, the residential learning community in Douglass House created in partnership with the Department of Housing & Residence Life.

Specialized Advising

Honors College faculty work closely with students to design and to complete their Honors curriculum. Freshmen work with designated First Year Experience advisers with Honors expertise in colleges and departments who help students make curriculum decisions that address their interests and needs, and beginning sophomore year students work with Honors advisers housed within the Honors College in addition to their major advisors. Honors advisers can also provide advice on career preparation, personal and leadership development, and undergraduate research opportunities.

Priority Registration

Continuing students in the Honors College receive priority course registration, thus avoiding many scheduling conflicts. Honors priority registration occurs before the ordinary registration period for continuing students, so even Honors freshmen register for courses before most TU seniors who are not in the Honors College.

Funding Opportunities

Most incoming fall freshmen and transfer students will receive an Honors College Scholarship in the amount of $1,250. The Honors College Scholarship is usually offered in addition to any other scholarships a student may have been awarded by Towson University, and it is an annual award which may only be applied towards educational expenses for full-time fall and spring term undergraduate enrollment at TU. Scholarships may be received for a maximum of eight consecutive terms if entering as a freshman, or up to seven consecutive terms if entering as a transfer student, based on number of completed college credits at the time of entry.

In addition, Honors students are eligible for other Honors-only financial support such as the Honorables of Color Scholarship for students who support marginalized communities and the Honors College Study Abroad Award to pursue study abroad experiences.

Test Optional

Honors and TU are Test Optional for 2023

TU and the Honors College are test-optional through fall 2023, meaning test scores are not required. Please review the University Admission FAQs for details on the application process.

Applicants who apply without SAT or ACT exam scores will not be at a competitive disadvantage to students who submit test scores. We welcome and encourage all applicants! For fall 2022 the difference in admission to the Honors College between applicants who applied with test scores and those who applied without was 5.8 percentage points, in favor of those who applied with test scores.

Application Process

All applicants to the Honors College must submit the following:

  • A 500-750 word essay responding to one of four Honors-specific prompts
  • List of extracurricular activities

All applicants to TU submit the following material, which are also used in Honors decisions:

  • High school transcripts (freshmen applicants only) and/or college transcripts (transfer applicants, freshmen applicants when applicable)

Applicants to the Honors College have the option to submit the following for consideration:

  • SAT or ACT exam scores (freshmen applicants only)
  • One letter of recommendation from a major subject teacher

Application Prompts

The Honors College application's prompts for the essay and letter of recommendation for spring and fall 2023 admission are listed below.

Essay Prompts

Please attach a 500-750 word essay that answers one of the questions listed below:

  1. Current evidence indicates that rising sea levels, combined in some cases with sinking land, will produce chronic inundation in increasing numbers of both urban and rural sites during coming decades and damage fresh water sources. Maryland is one of the states in the US projected to be among the most affected. Some urban areas will have very high economic value and substantial resources to support a response. Other areas, especially those more rural, may have few resources and historically disadvantaged populations. How should Maryland respond to rising seas and chronic inundation? Should people and property receive support for such a response, and if so, who should receive it and how will it be funded?

  2. In Elan Mastai’s 2017 novel All Our Wrong Todays, the scientist Lionel Goettreider postulates the theory of the “Accident”: “[W]hen you invent a new technology, you also invent the accident of that technology. When you invent the car, you invent the car accident. When you invent the plane, you also invent the plane crash. When you invent nuclear fission, you also invent the nuclear meltdown.” Goettreider then argues that an inventor cannot turn on or use a new invention until they identify its accident and figure out how to prevent it. 

    Identify one emerging or speculative technology of your choice. What is the accident of that technology? Can there be multiple accidents, some direct and some incidental? Is it the responsibility of the technology’s inventors, designers, and promoters to consider the accident of that technology and develop a means of prevention?

  3. Over a decade ago, 40 of America's wealthiest individuals signed the Giving Pledge, and made a commitment to give away most of their fortunes to various charities throughout the remainder of their lifetime or upon death. Over 200 billionaires from around the world have followed suit and committed most of their fortunes to philanthropies from research and education to environmental causes. Do the extremely wealthy have a social responsibility to share much of their wealth? What social issues or ethical questions arise if great wealth is handed on to family heirs across multiple generations?  Assuming an individual acquired a great fortune legally, what ethical questions are involved in the question of how those resources are ultimately distributed?

  4. Choosing a president through a nationwide election in the United States has maintained the dominance of a two-party system in American politics, with each party assembling bodies of voters who may not agree on a full range of issues but who vote together in an effort to elect a compatible candidate or to block an undesired one. Some have argued that it would be better if the American political system promoted the inclusion of more parties which could put forward candidates representing the specific values and commitments of significant blocks of voters. They imagine, for example, a Congress composed in a political pattern similar to several other industrial states with parties of the right, center right, center left, and left, where no single party gets an absolute majority and thus they must negotiate continually to build majorities in support of new legislation. Would this system make voters more engaged? Would it lead to more effective governing? Why or why not?

Letter of Recommendation Prompt (optional)

Students may have an optional letter of recommendation from a teacher in a major subject area included in their Honors consideration. For some students, letters of recommendation can help us better understand what drives you, explain circumstances which have had a distinct effect on your studies, or otherwise provide a fuller picture of the applicant. Should you choose to request a letter, your letter writer is encouraged to consider the following questions:

  1. Does the student show curiosity in reaching beyond what is immediately required or expected?
  2. Does the student contribute constructively in groups? Can you provide an example?
  3. Would you look forward to having this student in class again? Why or why not?
  4. If you could suggest an improvement in this student's approach to his or her own education, what would it be?

Your letter may be uploaded through the TU application, sent to TU via Naviance, or your recommender may send it directly to .