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Honors College: Preparing leaders who pioneer, innovate and engage

For 60 years, Michigan State University’s Honors College has been preparing fearless learners who go on to lead in their fields of study—and to make a better world. One of the nation’s oldest and most extensive programs of its kind, the Honors College is housed in the historic Eustace-Cole Hall and is fundamentally woven into the larger fabric of MSU.

Eustace Hall

A legacy of excellence
and opportunity

From its founding in 1956, the Honors College was intended to have a university-wide presence. MSU undergraduates in any academic major could be members of the Honors College. Through the years, a system evolved so that honors classes taught by MSU faculty were offered through the various academic colleges and departments on campus.

Today, the Honors College continues to challenge academically talented, naturally curious students who strive for excellence in all areas of life. With an emphasis on rigorous individualized academic programming, it fosters students’ talents in a close-knit environment that challenges and inspires them to be active, engaged learners.

Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore

“The Honors College brings the best and the brightest minds together to inspire new outlooks and challenge one another to achieve more,” says Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore, dean of the Honors College.

In addition to the core honors program, the Honors College also includes the Academic Scholars Program, the National/International Fellowships and Scholarships Office and the MSU Debate Program. Each year, the Honors College serves approximately 4,000 members and up to 400 students involved in the Academic Scholars Program.

MSU students

The Honors College Experience

The Honors College offers unparalleled academic freedom and flexibility, providing students with access to challenging courses accompanied by a range of special programs, research projects alongside top faculty, international study options, cultural and social activities and community service opportunities.

“The honors experiences available to today’s students are the catalyst to empower opportunity and create extraordinary impact for a better world,” says Jackson-Elmoore.

97% placment rate

Honors College students have a 97% PLACEMENT RATE for graduate school or work upon graduating from MSU.

The college prides itself on providing an environment that celebrates intellectual curiosity and offers its students every avenue to explore and nurture those interests. Flexibility and support are two of the essential pieces to the program’s success.

Honors College students also collaborate with faculty on research across the university, gaining access to world-class research facilities and opportunities to publish and present their work on campus and at national conferences.

700 faculty and staff

More than 700 faculty and staff throughout campus engage with the Honors College by serving as departmental Honors advisers, teaching Honors courses and Honors Research Seminars or mentoring students assigned as professorial assistants.

While academic opportunities and technologies advance over time, the value of being part of MSU’s Honors community remains constant. Students from all backgrounds and fields of study form lifelong connections with fellow students who share a commitment to academic excellence and a drive to change the world.

Impact Across Campus

Notable Alumni

Debbie Stabenow

Stabenow ’72

U.S. Senator

Susan Avery

Avery ’72

Atmospheric physicist and first female president of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

Spencer Abraham

Abraham ’74

Former U.S. Senator and former U.S. Energy Secretary

Susan Packard

Packard ’77

Brand expert for HBO, CNBC, HGTV, Food Network 
and cofounder of Scripps Network Interactive

Richard Cordray

Cordray ’84

Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Wallace Jefferson

Jefferson ’85

Former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice

Amy Astley

Astley ’89

Former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue

Shannon Shelton

Shelton ’99

Award-winning sports writer

Jon Hoadley

Hoadley ’06

of the 60th district, Michigan House of Representatives

For more information about the MSU Honors College, visit To engage with the Honors College on social media, use #msuhonors.

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