Honors Program

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Commonwealth Honors Program

777 Elsbree Street
Fall River, MA 02720




The Commonwealth Honors Program (CHP) at Bristol offers tremendous opportunities now, and in the future, for highly motivated students looking to challenge themselves intellectually.

honors program seal

Learn about the Honors Program:

CHP allows you, no matter what your discipline or program, to create customized experiences that meet your own interests and needs. By working one-on-one with faculty, Honors will help you craft intellectually stimulating experiences and projects that point towards future goals. These mentor relationships can enhance your experience at the College and make yourself a more attractive candidate for transfer to selective four-year institutions.

The CHP offers four different types of experiences:

  • The Honors Course is an enhanced section of a general education course. These vary by semester and location.
  • The Interdisciplinary Honors Seminar is only open to students in the CHP.
  • The Honors Component Course is a regular Bristol course in which the CHP student works with the instructor of the course to design enriched personalized experiences that earn the student honors credit for the course.
  • The Culminating Honors Project is a one-credit honors project required of all CHP students to graduate as a Commonwealth Honors Program Scholar. It is directed by a faculty member and involves independent research. It could grow out of an honors course, or be developed separately. Students are encouraged to present their projects publicly at Bristol and/or at conferences.‌

Interested in trying out the Commonwealth Honors Program?

If you have at least a GPA of 3.0 and earned an “A” in English 101, you are welcome to try out any honors course to get a feel for what the work is like. Once your GPA reaches 3.45, you would then be eligible to officially enroll in the Honors Program and would work towards completing the four graduation requirements.

There are many benefits to being a Commonwealth Honors student:

  • Building community with other students of similar curiosity and desire for intellectual pursuit
  • Delving deeply into areas of study
  • Working closely with faculty members who are experts in their fields
  • A great résumé builder
  • Enhanced advisement for competitive transfer/scholarship opportunities to colleges and universities
  • Automatic acceptance to UMass and Massachusetts State Universities’ Honors Programs upon successful completion at Bristol
  • An honors-designated cord to wear with your graduation regalia
  • A $1,000 stipend upon graduation

If you choose to complete the program requirements and graduate as Commonwealth Honors Scholars, you are guaranteed admission to the Commonwealth Honors Programs at any Massachusetts public college or university. Honors students are not required to complete these graduation requirements, however, and may participate in a choice of experiences.

Other opportunities for students in the CHP:
  • Attendance at academic workshops and cultural events
  • Participation with others in community service
  • Participation in the CHP Advisory Board (with CHP faculty reference)

In order to graduate as a Commonwealth Honors Scholar, you must:

  1. Graduate from an associate degree program at Bristol.
  2. Finish with a GPA of 3.45 or better.
  3. Complete a minimum of four CHP experiences, which must include:
    1. At least one Honors Seminar: This is a course that is only open to students officially enrolled in the CHP. Generally, the class size is smaller and the work intensive in the subject area.
    2. Completing the HON 260 course: This is a Culminating Project, completed in your LAST semester before graduation. In HON 260, a student selects a faculty mentor and writes a proposal for a special project of the student’s interest at an honors level.
    3. Two other CHP experiences: Any honors seminar, course or component. 
      An honors course is open to students who would like to try out honors work but might not yet have the 3.45 GPA. Students with at least a 3.0 GPA and an “A” in English 101 are welcome to try any honors course. 
      An honors component is a way to make any course reach honors level. With the agreement of the course instructor, the student and faculty will write a component proposal that effectively makes a non-honors course honors level for that particular student. Components may be created when a particular course/ discipline does not offer honors-level work or if a student joins the program on the later side of their time at Bristol.
  4. Complete a CHP Intent to Graduate Form and turn it in to the director of the CHP in your last semester. (Notify the coordinator in the spring for a summer graduation.)

Some students enter the program immediately out of high school. Others are returning students who have been away from high school for some time, or who discover their excellent academic abilities while at Bristol. You must meet at least one of the following requirements, depending on your situation. Fill out the application here.

  • Current Bristol student with a minimum 3.45 cumulative GPA with at least 12 college-level Bristol credits, or
  • High school graduate within five years of high school graduation: Minimum combined SAT score of 1220 or ACT score of 25, or
  • High school graduate within one year after high school graduation: graduate in the top 20 percent of high school class, or
  • Transfer student within one year of attendance at another college: minimum 3.45 GPA from the sending college with at least 12 college level credits, or
  • Student transferring in good standing from another CHP, or
  • High score on Bristol computerized placement test (given to entering day students upon admission), or
  • Other documented experience which demonstrates the potential for honors level work.

Visit the Transfer and PTK Scholarships page for more information.

COM 104 - Fundamentals of Public Speaking

Professor Joyce Fernandes | Hybrid in Fall River

Discover the public speaker in you. Learn how to speak like a leader while studying the secrets of the greatest speakers in history. Experience the joy of creating and producing a broadcast interview in our college television studio. Practice delivering oral presentations in a safe and supportive environment. Techniques to address public speaking apprehension, critical thinking, information literacy, technology skills, verbal and nonverbal communication, and active listening are included in this dynamic course. Prerequisite: A passing score on the College's Reading and English placement tests; or C or better or concurrent enrollment in ENG 091 or ENG 092. Hybrid meeting select Thursdays (January 19, February 2, February 16, March 2, March 23, April 6, April 20 and May 4) 11 a.m - 1:40 p.m., Fall River.

Register for: COM 104.HON CRN# 15035 
(Note: “Fundamentals of Public Speaking” was formerly COM 101. If your program requires “Fundamentals of Public Speaking,” you should now register for COM 104.)

ENG 102 - Composition II: Writing About Literature 

Professor Debra Anderson | Face-to-Face in Fall River

Do you ever wonder how writers come up with their stories or why two people can read the same poem and interpret it in different ways? These are just a couple of the questions we explore in Honors Composition II. In this course we will read diverse literary texts, most of which are contemporary or deal with contemporary themes. Class time is spent discussing and writing about these texts as we consider multiple lenses through which to see them. A unique feature is monthly visits from local authors who talk with us about their work and experience as published fiction writers, poets and playwrights. All course materials are free and available online. Prerequisite: ENG 101. Mondays and Wednesdays, 9:30 - 10:45 a.m., Fall River.

Register for: ENG 102.HON CRN# 11633

HST 114 - U.S. History after 1877

Professor Robyn Worthington | Fully Online

With the recent decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, more Americans have been thinking about the ways that the court impacts the rights of U.S. citizens and society at large. In this fully online course, we will examine U.S. History from 1877 through the lens of landmark Supreme Court cases to discover how the court has shaped the nation we live in today. Together we will assess how the power of the court has affected civil rights, justice, free speech, voting rights, freedom of religion, due process of law, and more. This course will use only free materials easily accessible online. Prerequisite: A passing score on the college's reading and writing placement tests or, C or better or concurrent enrollment in ENG 091 or ENG 092.

Register for: HST 114 A5W CRN# 10342

HUM 264 - Remembering the Holocaust in Literature and History

Dr. Howard Tinberg  & Dr. Ron Weisberger | Face-to-Face in Fall River

The Holocaust, or, as it has come to be known, the Shoah, is one of the most horrific events in all of world history. Even more than 50 years after the fact, the world continues to struggle with the enormity of this human catastrophe. Nevertheless, a body of writing--both historical and literary--exists that enables us to confront this key moment in world history. This course serves as an introduction to this work. Students gain an understanding of the historical facts, including circumstances leading up to the Holocaust itself and the event's critical aftermath. In addition, students reflect on the role of various written genres, principally through accounts of that time written by survivors and the children of survivors in the struggle to represent an event that many have described as beyond the limits of language to capture. Prerequisites: ENG 101 and ENG 102. Open to Commonwealth Honors Program students and others with permission of instructors. Thursdays, 4 - 6:40 p.m., Fall River

Register for: HUM 264.HON CRN# 10228

SOC 258 - Honors Seminar THE CLIMATE CRISIS:  10 Years Left to Get It Right!

Dr NancyLee Wood | Online Synchronous

This Honors Seminar presents an overview of the fundamental environmental crises, impacts, and opportunities confronting humankind in the face of climate change, resource depletions, biodiversity loss, and societal collapse. Eclectic in its approach and coordinated with tenets of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030, this seminar focuses on social-structural conditions driving ecological deterioration; fossil fuel constraints and energy disruptions; population swells and urbanization; environmental refugees and limits to Earth's carrying capacity; environmentally-based national and transnational conflicts; the rise of emerging pathogens and diseases; and a systems analysis of societal complexity and breakdown. Throughout the seminar, sustainability strategies are presented that foster resilience including post-industrialized agricultural systems; reforestation and afforestation programs; urban ecological restorations; bio-regionalism as political-economic entities; population reduction and stabilization; renewable energy resources; transformative education and employment required for an eco-friendly New Economy; transitioning from the current unlimited growth paradigm to an emerging sustainable steady-state paradigm. Open to Commonwealth Honors Program students and others with permission of instructor. Wednesdays, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. online

Register for: SOC 258.HON CRN# 14402

HON 260 - Culminating Honors Project

Professor Kimberly Amaral Newton | Online Synchronous

This one-credit honors experience is open only to students in the BCC Honors Program and should be taken during the student’s final semester. A student develops project activities and objectives with a faculty mentor who oversees the project. A contract describing the project must be submitted to the Honors Program for approval. Students are encouraged to present honors projects at appropriate conferences. Each culminating honors project will be unique, focusing on an area of particular interest to the individual student. The number of class meetings per week will vary by contract. Prerequisite: current enrollment in the Honors Program. Tuesdays, 2 - 3:15 p.m., online.

Register for: HON 260.B01 CRN# 10812

HON 260 is required for all Honors students who will graduate in May 2023.

Who can sign up for Honors Courses?

100-level Honors courses are now open to any students who wish to try them, provided they meet the course pre-requisites.

Students already accepted into Honors may take any Honors course or seminar.

Please check additional prerequisites for each course as noted.

Any questions?

Please contact Professor Kimberly Amaral Newton, Commonwealth Honors Coordinator Kimberly.Newton@BristolCC.edu

Congratulations on qualifying for the Commonwealth Honors Program!

Before you fill out our on-line dynamic application form, found on the Honors web page at Bristol, please take a few moments to read this detailed information to determine if the Honors Program is right for you.

Do you have at least two semesters left?

The Honors Program requires you to complete four Honors courses, taking no more than two per semester. You need at least two semesters to complete the four courses. Most courses run during the fall and spring semesters.

Do you have room in your major?

Some majors have more room to allow for Honors courses than others. The ideal is to have an Honors course also be a match for something you need for your major. For example, if you need ENG 102 and you take ENG 102 Honors, that one course will fulfill both categories. For students who don’t have a lot of matches in their major, you may elect to take the courses anyway, but be aware that Financial Aid may not cover them and they may add time and cost onto your program.

What are the Honors courses?

Honors courses are offered on a rotating basis. Occasionally, a planned course may not run or we may add a new course into the mix. These are our usual set of course offerings and the usual semester in which they are offered.

  • ENG 101 in fall
  • ENG 102 in fall and spring
  • COM 101 in fall and spring
  • BIO 121 in fall
  • HON 260 in fall and spring
  • PSY 295 in fall
  • SCI 251 in fall
  • HUM 264 in spring
  • HST 260 (varies)
  • HUM 291 in summer

What if I have no matches left?

In certain circumstances, you may be able to complete an Honors component in one or two courses. A component is where you ask a professor of an ordinary course to make that course Honors-level for you via a proposed special project that grows from the work of the course. Components are limited to those students in programs who would not be able to complete Honors otherwise. Components are limited to two maximum. If an Honors section exists, you must take that section. For example, if you wanted to do a component in ENG 102, you would be refused because we offer a whole section of ENG 102 Honors.

How do I sign up for Honors courses?

Once you enroll in Honors via the application and are accepted, you will receive an Honors course menu in your Bristol email shortly before the registration period opens up.

Which four courses do I need to complete the program?

You need:
  1. At least one 200-level Honors seminar (choose PSY 295, SCI 251, HUM 264, HUM 291, HST 260)
  2. HON 260 in your final semester
  3. A third Honors course, either 100-level, 200-level or component
  4. A fourth Honors course, either 100-level, 200-level or component

I want to join. What’s my next step?

  1. Fill out the application
  2. Once it is reviewed and processed, you may register for Honors courses
  3. You may want to consult with your assigned advisor.


Please contact Professor Kimberly Newton, Honors Program Coordinator Kimberly.Newton@BristolCC.edu.

Honors Showcase

Information about the Honors Showcase where students discuss their final Honors projects with you. Honors Showcase Page

Honors Seminar Course Spotlight

Student Profiles: Shiv Thakur

Student Profiles_Shiv ImageShiv Kuma Thakur came to the United States from Nepal by himself at 19 years old on a lottery visa with ambition and a vision.

He quickly enrolled, simultaneously, in the college’s English as a Second Language (ESL) and college-level science and mathematics courses, in addition to supporting his education with two part-time jobs.

Hear Shiv's story here

Student Profiles: Paul Vermette II

Student Profiles Paul Vermette ImageIt was a winding road to get to college for Paul Vermette II, 23, of New Bedford. Once a high school drop-out, Paul is now ‌graduating from Bristol Community College with highest honors, numerous scholarships and a half dozen acceptance letters from prestigious institutions across the country. 

In his sophomore year of high school, Paul’s best friend died in a car accident. Paul had been struggling in school, and the loss of his friend put him over the edge. He dropped out and began jumping from one minimum wage job to the next.

Hear Paul's story here

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