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Intellectual Achievement as an Honors Experience

Up until this point in your education, you have primarily been a consumer of the intellectual work of other people – that’s what education is! Intellectual Achievement is when you become not just a consumer of intellectual work, but a producer. Intellectual Achievement as an experience is when you take the concepts and ideas that you have learned and then use them to produce something new; whether it’s research in a biology lab, a novel business plan, a fiction novel, or a new and unique approach to what is already being done in your discipline. Intellectual Achievement is the point at which you can show that you can take what is known and produce something new.

Why Should I Choose Intellectual Achievement?

Students who are planning to pursue a Master’s, Doctorate, or other degree beyond the Bachelor’s degree start to demonstrate that they can create something new, whether that is producing new scholarship in their field of study or coming up with a solution to solve a problem. Many students will apply to graduate schools with excellent grade point averages but far fewer will have the ability to show that they are prepared to produce original work. For students who wish to join the workforce, businesses and non-profits are looking for people who are innovative and can solve problems. Whether it’s a logistical problem with supply-chains, a distinctive expression of artistic style, or any one of the ever emerging cyber-security threats, employers want to know that you have the ability to provide new solutions to problems where others haven’t been successful.

Is Intellectual Achievement Limited to Certain Majors or Disciplines?

All of the technological progress we have achieved, the artistic styles we enjoy, and the improvement on what we have is the result of intellectual achievement. The basic principles and concepts found in your courses – be it mechanical engineering, political science, biomedical engineering, or anthropology – can serve as the foundation for an intellectual achievement experience!

What Have Other Students Done for Intellectual Achievement?

  • Invented a fiber-optic coupler
  • Researched diseases and treatment
  • Composed and produced a music album
  • Undergraduate Honors thesis

How Do I Get Credit for Intellectual Achievement?

Applying credit for Intellectual Achievement to satisfy Honors SPICES requires a minimum of 75+ hours of time on task while supervised/mentored, have a stated goal to be reached by the end of the project, and be presented for a passing score of 80% or higher at the Experiential Learning Fair (ELF) in the spring semester. For more information on Honors College Experience requirements, visit the Experience Approval Process page.

How Do I Find Intellectual Achievement Experiences?

Inspiration and ideas can come from numerous places: many of your faculty are conducting research in their field and can provide some guidance based on your interests. Many disciplines have problems looking for a solution, things can be improved upon, or a reinterpretation of established ideas. If you have an interest with a particular area within your discipline, start looking there!

What Does a Successful Intellectual Achievement Experience Look Like?

At the conclusion of an Intellectual Achievement experience, you should have something to point to that you produced. This may come in the form of an Honors Thesis, research you’ve conducted on your own or as part of a larger study – something original that you can put your name on and claim it as your own. Again, this will look different from one discipline to another, but a successful Intellectual Achievement experience should embody the idea of "intellectual producer."

Sample ELF Posters of Students Presenting in Intellectual Achievement