General Questions

What is the International Honors Program?

Lots of schools have honors programs.  What makes PLU’s program so unique is its interdisciplinary and international focus. The International Honors Program is a rigorous alternative to the General Education Program at PLU for independently motivated students.

The International Honors Program consists of interdisciplinary courses that explore contemporary issues and their historical foundations through an integrated, multi-national approach.

Our classes focus on topics and problems, rather than just methods.  Each class will use a variety of intellectual approaches (economics, literature, political theory, history, comparative religion, sociology, geology, environmental studies, and many more), not just one.  In short:  in each class we use multiple lenses in order to overcome the blindness that comes from insisting upon just one.

How do I apply?

Applying is easy!  By applying to PLU, you’ve already done most of the work.  To apply to IHON, all you need to do is fill out this online application form.  The form just asks for two essays and lets you choose from among several really interesting — and unique — prompts.

The deadline for priority review is February 15th each year:  applicants who submit by February 15th can expect to be notified by the end of February.  But applications after that date will continue to be reviewed on a rolling basis.  That means you can apply at any time.

How do I know if I'm eligible?

In order to be considered for admission to the International Honors Program students must be admitted to the University and complete a separate IHON application form.  All independently motivated students interested in an interdisciplinary education are eligible to apply:  applications are evaluated as a whole.

Students with a 3.6 GPA and higher are especially encouraged to apply, but your high school GPA does not disqualify you. Unlike some other honors programs, IHON focuses on your intellectual potential, rather than what you may have already achieved. IHON includes both students who were valedictorians, as well as students who are only beginning to find their own way academically. What distinguishes successful IHON students is persistence, and a strong desire to learn. If that describes you, you’re a good fit — regardless of what you’ve read, or haven’t!

Do I have to apply before starting at PLU?


We encourage you to apply early in February or in the Spring of your senior year and plan to enter IHON in your first year Fall semester so that you can begin bonding with your cohort from your first days on campus.

We also have a second application phase in October for admission to IHON in the January term, especially for students who learn about IHON late or realize this is the program for them after they have started at PLU.

It’s never too late to apply!

I have AP / IB / Running Start credits. Can I still do IHON and graduate on time?

For many students, the answer is “yes”!

The answer depends a lot on what credits you have, but even more on what your personal circumstances and goals are.  For a detailed review of your credits and your options, send an email to the IHON Director, Dr. Tyler Travillian (traviltt@plu.edu).

Required Credits
The IHON curriculum requires one fewer course than the Gen Ed.  Additionally, IHON will waive the following:

    • one 200-level course for a semester study-away or for taking a language at the 300 level
    • up to two 200-level courses for AP/IB/Running Start credit.

Interdisciplinary, International Focus
For many students, even those with considerable transfer credits, IHON’s focus makes it worthwhile.  The emphasize integrating knowledge across disciplines and cultures in order to better understand issues that you care about in your life today.

How does IHON work with Study Away Opportunities?

IHON does not require study away.  The “International” in International Honors refers to our commitment to teaching from the perspectives of multiple cultures around the globe.

IHON does strongly support study away:  75 percent of IHON students study away at some point in their PLU careers, many in our very successful IHON-Oxford Program. (Please follow this link for more information on this great study away opportunity.) IHON’s flexible program requirements make allowance for a wide variety of possible study away experiences.  IHON will even waive a 200-level course for students who spend a semester studying away!

If I drop the IHON program, how will my IHON credits transfer to the General Education program at PLU?

Should you decide to drop the IHON program, IHON credits transfer into the General Education program. Please see the IHON Director for the proper paperwork to execute such a change. At that meeting, the director will determine exactly where to place your IHON credits within the General Education program.

Class Specific Questions

How do you substitute a PLU Language 300+ course (on campus) or Study Away Intensive Course for an IHON 200-level course?

You can substitute one of the following for one of your required IHON 200-level course: (1) a 300+ language course with a grade of “C” or better OR (2) a Study Away Intensive Course (including the IHON-Oxford Primary* Tutorial).

*Note that the IHON-Oxford secondary tutorial counts automatically as one of your 200-level courses.

See the IHON Director for the proper paperwork for this credit substitution once you have completed the language course or semester study-away.

Is it possible for a J-term study away class to count toward IHON 200-level credit?

No. The study away substitution policy is restricted to selected semester programs.

The one exception would be a 300+ language course taught by a PLU faculty member.

When may I take the IHON 300-level class?

Students may enroll in the IHON 300-level class after having completed all four 200-level classes. The primary exception to this rule is: if you are enrolled in your fourth 200-level you may also take the 300-level in the same semester.

What courses in the General Education Program do I still need to take?

  • WRIT 101 (WR),
  • any First-Year January-Term course,
  • Mathematical Reasoning (MR),
  • Science and Scientific Method (SM),
  • Physical Education (PE x 4, including PHED 100),
  • Alternative Perspectives (A),
  • Capstone/s for individual major/s.

Please note that (A) may be completed through IHON courses, and that you do NOT have to take the FYEP Inquiry Seminar 190. IHON 112 counts as a 190 course.