Honors Program

“Live, Learn, Lead” is the philosophy that drives the Honors College curriculum at GVSU. Study abroad allows students to experience this first hand almost anywhere in the world. Imagine walking through a crowded street filled with the delicious aromas of the food vendors and fish dealers in Costa Rica, or studying development and social change in Nepal.

Honors students who choose to study abroad will live in a foreign country, immersed in a culture different from their own. Students will learn from a unique perspective and through immense self-discovery. Students will lead in their fields through developing in-demand global skills like cross-cultural communication, international connections, confidence and adaptability.



Academic Advice

Honors Disciplinary Requirements*
Students may substitute a course they take abroad for an Honors disciplinary requirement such as a Social Behavioral Science, Life Science, Physical Science, Art, Global Perspectives, and more.

Junior Seminar*
Students may complete their Junior Seminar requirement abroad. Students aiming to complete their Junior Seminar abroad should look for highly-focused, topic-specific courses and must have approval from the Honors College. Junior seminar courses taken abroad may not fulfill the SWS requirement, see an Honors advisor for details. NOTE: You do NOT have to be a Junior to work on these credits abroad.

Senior Project*
Students can complete or work toward Honors Senior Project requirements while abroad. For more information, discuss this option with your Honors advisor. NOTE: You do NOT have to be a Senior to work on these credits abroad.

* To confirm the specific course(s) you take abroad will fulfill this honors requirement, please contact Kelly McDonell in the Honors College at mcdoneke@gvsu.edu with a course description and/or syllabus.

Honors Advice Page 



  • Courses will be reviewed on a case by case basis through the course equivalency process. Please contact Robyn Toth at tothr@gvsu.edu with course descriptions and/or syllabi to confirm the course(s) you took abroad will fulfill a specific honors requirement.

Keep in Mind

  • Once you have selected a program, be sure to meet with your adviser at least three months prior to departing for your program.
  • Be sure to explore both GVSU and non-GVSU options by browsing the Program Suggestions below. Students are not limited to GVSU study abroad programs.
  • There are several opportunities to intern and or volunteer while abroad.
  • Students are also able to fulfill General Education requirements abroad, including their General Education Issues requirement.

Program Suggestions

The Honors College organizes two faculty-led programs:

Haiti: Water, Environmental Issues and Service Learning 
Ghana: Cultural Exchange and Service Learning 

PLEASE NOTE: These are not your only options! Honors students can choose to participate in faculty-led, partnership, non-GVSU or internship abroad programs. We highly encourage you to visit the Padnos International Center for study abroad advising!

For a sense of what some students have been doing and seeing, see the following blogs and videos:

Honors Ghana Service-Learning Program Blog 2014

Sarah Tibbe in Argentina

Michael Dykstra in Peru

Kristen Hollingsworth in Italy

Dakota Vradenburg in Australia

Gail Berkompas in Chile

Meagan Roche in Oman

Kaleigh Carlson in India

Zoe Kilbourne in Denmark

Mario Amaya-Velazquez in Italy

Kathleen Carlson in Ecuador


Check out the interactive map and place a pin where you have been or would like to go! This is also a great way to see where and what other students, staff, and faculty are doing abroad.


To determine the GVSU course equivalencies for courses taken abroad, please view the “How to Request Course Equivalencies” page.  Please contact Robyn Toth at tothr@gvsu.edu with course descriptions and/or syllabi to confirm the course(s) you took abroad will fulfill a specific honors requirement.

Department Contact

Kelly McDonell


117 Frederick Meijer Honors College 

Page last modified December 19, 2018