Davidson Honors College

Brock Tessman, Dean

The Davidson Honors College is a campus-wide association of faculty and students united by a common concern for academic and personal excellence. Its mission is to foster intellectual and civic values, and to support the best possible teaching and learning circumstances for participating faculty and students.

The College offers an academic and social home to talented and motivated students as they pursue their undergraduate education. Students from all major areas in the College of Humanities and Sciences and the professional schools are welcome, as well as students who are undecided about a major. Honors is not a major in itself, but an enhancement to General Education in the liberal arts and sciences as well as to virtually all undergraduate majors on campus.

The Honors College building, at the center of the campus, provides a large student lounge, study rooms, classrooms and a computer center for student use. The Honors Student Association plans and conducts a variety of social and academic activities as well as community service projects throughout the year. Special Honors residence hall floors and living units are available.

The Davidson Honors College also sponsors the University of Montana Office for Civic Engagement, an office that coordinates student service activities in the community and beyond, and supports the integration of community service experience into the academic curriculum.


In accordance with our mission, the DHC is committed to offering students the additional resources, challenges, and encouragement to be active and collaborative learners. DHC students are expected to:

  • be intellectually curious;
  • develop skills in critical thinking, analytic reasoning, and problem solving;
  • increase their abilities to write and speak effectively;
  • acquire skills and habits of community and public service;
  • develop research and life-long learning skills and habits.

Honors students are expected to pursue these student learning outcomes inside the classroom and out, in their work and their recreation, volunteer service, membership in clubs and organizations, participation in campus and civic governance, independent study, pursuit of their hobbies and interests, and formal course work.

Honors courses are limited in enrollment to 20 students and usually are conducted in a discussion or seminar format. They emphasize critical thinking, the development of written and oral communication skills, direct contact with the faculty, and use of original texts or "hands-on," participatory experience. These courses are taught by outstanding faculty selected according to their department's standards of excellence. Course offerings vary somewhat and represent many academic departments and subject areas. Honors courses often fulfill General Education and many common major requirements.

At the junior and senior level students are offered a selection of Honors seminars. These seminars are open to students from all disciplines. The aim of these seminars is to assist students in applying different methods of inquiry and research, in using the insights of various disciplines, in integrating the students' knowledge, and in developing well-informed personal stances toward the material and issues studied.

In their senior year, students complete an Honors thesis or research project, assuming responsibility, together with a faculty mentor, for an original scholarly research or creative project. This project may coincide with a departmental requirement, and is intended to prepare students to fulfill roles of intellectual, moral, and cultural leadership as they realize their places in society.

Assessment of Personal and Academic Goals

A college education invites students to formulate goals and reflect on their progress toward attaining them. Davidson Honors College students are responsible for evaluating their aims and attainments from year to year in collaboration with an advisor. Entering students are asked to assess their abilities and resources and begin to formulate interests and aims in light of the student learning outcomes mentioned previously.


Davidson Honors College students are required to complete a minimum of seven Honors courses, including HONR 121L and a senior Honors research project (which may be counted as one Honors course). An Honors section of Introduction to Humanities, LSH 151L or LSH 152L, may be counted as equivalent to HONR 121L. HONR 120, Introduction to Honors, also is required of all first-year students. As this is a one-credit course, it does not count toward the seven Honors courses required to graduate. Details are available in the Davidson Honors College office or on the DHC web site at www.dhc.umt.edu.

It also is recommended that all students include in their curriculum at least one course or independent study project that includes an experience of volunteer community service or study abroad.

To maintain good standing in the Davidson Honors College, students must take at least one Honors course per year and maintain an overall cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or above. Academic progress is reviewed each semester. Students whose grades are below the 3.0 standard are given an academic warning. A student whose cumulative grade point average falls below 3.0 is placed on academic probation and remains in this status until the cumulative grade point average rises to 3.0 or higher. Suspension from the Honors College occurs when the term grade point average of a student on probation is below 3.0. A suspended student may be reinstated when the cumulative grade point average rises to 3.0 or higher.

Graduation through the Davidson Honors College requires a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher, and 3.4 in the major field. Upon successful completion of the requirements, students will receive their bachelor degrees as "University Scholars" in their respective majors and have this distinction noted on their diplomas. Graduation through the Davidson Honors College is not connected with the distinctions "with honors" and "with high honors" bestowed on the recommendation of major departments according to certain grade point averages and/or on the basis of exams or other means of assessment in the senior year.


The Davidson Honors College administers the Presidential Leadership Scholarships for incoming freshmen, and several other scholarship programs for currently enrolled students. For further information about these scholarship programs, contact the Honors College. Honors students and those transferring from other institutions are eligible for the general scholarship program. For further information, contact the Financial Aid Office. 

Admission to the DHC

Students applying to the Davidson Honors College should show evidence of academic talent and motivation. Generally, a minimum high school GPA of 3.5 is expected, as well as an ACT score of 27 or higher, or SAT combined score of 1800. These criteria are not absolute, and highly motivated students are encouraged to apply.

Applications are particularly welcomed from older or non-traditional students and students from varied racial and ethnic backgrounds. College transfer students with a record of strong academic performance (GPA of 3.5 or higher) also are welcome to apply. The Davidson Honors College Application for Admission must be postmarked or submitted online by   . Note that all applicants to the Davidson Honors College also must complete a separate application for admission to the University of Montana-Missoula.

Presidential Leadership Scholarships

The Presidential Leadership Scholarships are the University of Montana's premier academic scholarships, recognizing outstanding talent, academic performance, leadership, and contribution to the community. These awards are renewable for four years, subject to satisfactory performance by the student. Each scholarship includes a full or partial tuition waiver, the value of which varies according to the amount of tuition each year.

Eligible candidates for the Presidential Leadership Scholarship must be recent high school graduates who have not previously enrolled as a regular college or university student. Recent finalists for the Presidential Leadership Scholarship posted an average of 3.98 GPA, SAT combined score of 2100, and ACT composite score of 32.

All Davidson Honors College applications for admission received by   of each year will be considered for the Presidential Leadership Scholarship.

The Davidson Honors College
University of Montana
Missoula, MT 59812
Phone: (406) 243-2541
e-mail: dhc@umontana.edu
web site: www.dhc.umt.edu

Department Faculty


  • Brock Tessman, Dean, Davidson Honors College


  • Sue Bradford, Adjunct Faculty
  • Patrick Burke, Adjunct Instructor of Philosophy
  • Gillian Glaes, Visiting Associate Professor of History
  • Judith Johnson