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.

Study Abroad & Honors 101



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.

HNR 200 Campus/Community Engagement

Studying abroad always involves both an academic experience and high levels of engagement with a vibrant community and culture. This is exactly what the HNR 200 requirement is all about, so students may substitute any course they take abroad for HNR 200. Substitutions must be approved through the Honors website. Consult with an Honors advisor for details.

HNR 350 Integrative Seminar

The Integrative Seminar is about a deep and intensive academic exploration. Students studying abroad who take highly-focused, topic-specific courses may count the credits toward the HNR 350 requirement. Specific courses must be approved by an Honors advisor.

HNR 499 Honors Senior Project

Students may complete or work toward the Honors Senior Project requirement while abroad. For more information, discuss this option with an Honors advisor well in advance of the semester of travel. Remember that you do NOT need to be a Senior to complete this project.


* To confirm the specific course(s) you take abroad will fulfill this honors requirement, please contact Roger Gilles in the Honors College at [email protected] with a course description and/or syllabus.



  • Courses that are NOT eligible for study abroad: HNR 151, 152, 153, 154, 201, 250, 251, 351
  • Courses will be reviewed on a case by case basis through the course equivalency process. Please contact Roger Giles with course descriptions and/or syllabi to confirm that the course(s) you took abroad will fulfill a specific honors requirement.

Keep in Mind

  • The Honors College is happy to apply up to 6 credits in the Honors curriculum. Their "default" is to use the credits for HNR 200 and/or HNR 350. Some students propose a project connected to their study abroad and use HNR 401/499.
  • Once you have selected a program, be sure to meet with your advisor at least three months prior to departing for your program.
  • Be sure to explore both GVSU and external 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.

Program Suggestions

The Honors College facilitates a few faculty-led programs:

Ghana: Cultural Exchange and Service Learning 

Haiti: Water, Environmental Issues and Service Learning 

Israel: Histrorical, Geographic & Social Contexts of the Bible

Spain: Language

The Honors College facilitates a external program: 

SIT: School for International Training 

PLEASE NOTE: These are not your only options! Honors students can choose to participate in faculty-led, partnership, external 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 Roger Gilles at [email protected] with course descriptions and/or syllabi to confirm the course(s) you take abroad will fulfill a specific honors requirement.

Roger Gilles

120 Niemeyer LLC

[email protected]

Page last modified September 24, 2021