Academic Catalogs

Honors Program

The OCC Honors Program provides an enriched collegiate experience for intellectually curious and highly motivated students. The Program celebrates the collaborative effort of students and instructors in reciprocal teaching-learning environments that promote student initiative, knowledge, curiosity about the world of ideas, and concern for current social issues.

Honors Courses

OCC Honors courses may be taken by any OCC student who wishes to engage in a more rigorous learning experience, whether or not they are enrolled in the Honors Program itself. The courses are challenging and demand a significant commitment of time for study and engagement. Honors instructors enhance the basic curriculum requirements of their classes by offering more opportunities for intensive study than are possible in most non-Honors sections. Freedom of inquiry and student discovery are stressed. The generally smaller Honors sections are intended to foster discussion, mastery of content, critical thinking, and analysis. Guest speakers, field trips, and comprehensive research, including the presentation of results, further enhance many Honors sections.

Writing Skills and Honors Courses

While there are no prerequisites for Honors sections other than those that apply to non-Honors sections of the same courses, many Honors courses include scholarly reading and writing assignments, including research and essay-style exams. Strong college-level writing skills are critical to student success. Prior completion of, or concurrent enrollment in, English 100 or higher is strongly recommended.

Multiple Paths within Honors

Students enroll in the Honors Program for a variety of reasons and not all students are expected (or required) to pursue the same path or take advantage of the same benefits. In fact, certain benefits may not be available to all Honors students, depending on choice of major or target transfer school. Students are further advised that involvement in Honors Program on- and off-campus events, projects, academic conferences, creative work competitions, and social gatherings are recommended. These activities provide a variety of personal development opportunities and may improve the likelihood of selection for transfer admission and scholarship awards.

Benefits of Enrollment

For all students enrolled:

  • Close interaction with enthusiastic learners and passionate instructors
  • Flexible, rigorous coursework emphasizing research, critical thinking, and writing skills
  • Added preparation for upper division coursework
  • Opportunities to develop leadership and organizational skills through the Honors Student Council (HSC)
  • Access to specialized Honors Counseling
  • UCLA and UCI Library privileges
  • Special activities, including guest speakers, seminars, and social events
  • Opportunities to present research and creative work at prestigious academic conferences
  • Notation of each Honors course on transcripts

Benefits of Certification

For students who choose to complete Honors Program certification requirements:

  • Earn priority consideration for transfer admission to a number of respected four-year institutions, including UCLA and UCI
  • Receive a notation on official OCC transcripts of Honors Program completion
  • Earn the privilege of wearing the program’s distinctive black and silver Honors regalia and receiving recognition in the graduation program

Honors Program Enrollment Procedures

Successful applicants will:

  • Be in good standing with the OCC Dean of Students' Office and adhere to the Coast Community College District Student Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures 
  • Be currently enrolled in OCC classes
  • Request the current information, application form, and link to the online Orientation Quiz by emailing the Program: 
  • Complete a self-paced, online Honors Orientation and earn a score of 100% on the Orientation Quiz
  • Write a short personal statement of up to 500 words (see prompt on application form)
  • Meet with an Honors Counselor prior to submitting an application
  • Submit an application to the OCC Honors Program by August 31 of the year in which they plan to apply for transfer to a UC or CSU

Honors Program Eligibility

All candidates for enrollment in the OCC Honors Program must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25 and meet the English composition requirement in one of two ways:

  • Earn a score of 3 or higher on the AP English Composition or the AP English Literature exam; OR
  • Complete with a grade of A or B one of the following courses or its equivalent at another college:  ENGL  A100, A101/101H, A102/102H, A109; ESL  A100

Students who graduated from high school less than one year prior to submitting an Honors Program application AND who have completed fewer than 12 units of letter-graded college coursework MUST:

  • Have a minimum final cumulative high school GPA of 3.25 for grades 9-12; AND
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25 in all (if any) college coursework completed*

*Note: Applicants are required to submit transcripts from all colleges attended. Grades of D, F, or NP earned within the Coast Community College District at any time, or at another college during the two years prior to entering any of the CCCD colleges, must be “excluded” through course repetition or academic renewal. Incomplete grades of ID, IF, or INP must be resolved with a final grade for course completion. The total combined cumulative GPA will be calculated on GPA units and GPA points earned at all institutions attended.

Continuing Enrollment

After enrolling in the Honors Program, students will receive continuing benefits provided that they:

  • Remain in good standing with the OCC Dean of Students' Office and adhere to the Coast Community College District Student Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures 
  • Remain enrolled in OCC classes or file a written notification for a “Leave of Absence” with the Honors Office for up to one year
  • Meet with an Honors Counselor at least once each academic year (preferably each semester before registering for the next semester’s classes)
  • Complete at least one Honors course within one year of initial enrollment
  • Maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25 in all transferable coursework and avoid grades below C (Grades of D or F must be resolved the next semester that the course(s) is/are offered through course repetition or an appeal for pending Academic Renewal; incomplete grades must be successfully completed in the following semester) 

Completion Requirements

Special recognition is awarded to transferring or graduating students enrolled in the Honors Program who meet the following requirements:

  • Complete a minimum of 15 units of Honors coursework, distributed over at least three different subjects, with a letter grade of C or higher earned in each
  • Earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50 in all transferable coursework, including courses taken at other institutions
  • Earn a grade of A or B in at least one qualifying English composition course (ENGL A100, A101, A101H, A102, A102H, A109; or ESL A100) or receive an exemption from English 100 with an AP English score of 3 or higher
  • Obtain an exclusion for all grades of D, F, or NP through course repetition or academic renewal prior to the start of the final semester, and earn a passing grade in all previous “Incomplete” courses

Certification Requirements

Eligibility for Honors priority consideration for transfer requires that students:

  • Meet applicable university transfer requirements AND OCC Honors Program certification criteria: general education breadth, selective-major prerequisites, and successful completion of 15 units of Honors coursework*, distributed over at least three different subjects, earning a letter grade in each
  • Have a cumulative transferable GPA of at least 3.50 for all college coursework
  • Resolve any grades of D, F, or NP earned since enrolling in the Honors Program prior to the start of the final semester 
  • Complete at least 12 of the required 15 units of Honors coursework before the start of the student’s final semester at OCC (Up to three of the required 15 Honors units may be in progress at the time certification is requested)
  • Submit "Intent to Transfer" and "Applicant Agreement" documents by specified deadlines
  • Meet with an Honors Counselor to finalize Honors Program certification by the annual deadlines

Note: Up to one-half of transferable Honors units earned at another college may be accepted toward Honors Program completion at OCC (Submit transcripts to the Honors Program for a determination)

Exceptions to Policies

Exceptions to policies for enrollment, completion or certification may be requested through the appeals process. Deadlines may apply. For further information, contact the Honors Program: