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Honors Distinction Pathway

TCC Honors Distinction Pathway: Go deeper, go further

Welcome to TCC's Honors Distinction Pathway!

Whether you are looking for more depth in a subject that interests you or a greater connections among the subjects you take, you should consider the TCC Honors Distinction Pathway.

A Distinction Pathway is a series of courses that lead up to a note of completion on your transcript and that help you choose your required courses in a way that goes together.  Distinction Pathways--like Honors, Sustainability, or American Ethnic and Gender Studies--provide you with enhanced skills and knowledge that can help you in your transfer applications or future course work.

With the Honors Distinction Pathway, you can

  • Enhance your educational experience
  • Access globally-focused curriculum
  • Integrate concepts, skills, and knowledge from multiple subject areas
  • Interact with teachers and students in smaller classes
  • Add “Honors” to your transcript for all sections
  • Pay no fees or extra costs


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Honors Calendar of Events

What is Honors at TCC?

You will find Honors at both the course section and pathway levels at Tacoma Community College.  Each course you take will have interdisciplinary elements, a global focus, and an inquiry-based approach. 

Make connections--Interdisciplinary

This means that our Honors course sections will connect the course material to fields outside of its discipline.  Your English class might focus on Global Foodways and how these issues show up in business or social science.  Your Political Science class might connect to psychology and economics. 

Look beyond--Global Focus

Each Honors section will include a global focus; in Honors, we look to the world as well as how the world interconnects. Sometimes this will mean a comparison between cultures, sometimes it will focus on the relationships between them.

Find out--Inquiry-based

The inquiry-based approach lets you, the student, ask questions that you want to answer about your course topics.  Your instructors are there to guide you and help you develop your approach to search for answers.  Inquiry-based approaches will ready you for more independent work at your transfer programs and institutions.

Once in the Honors Distinction Pathway

The Honors Distinction Pathway (HDP) is made up of five classes--or more, if you want.  These are special sections of degree requirement courses that you would already be taking. Taking a distinction pathway shouldn’t add to your 90 credits for graduation.  Your credits in the pathway will range from 21-25, depending on the type of capstone course or research base course that you take. 

Students in the HDP start with a foundation in research and writing then move through their regular and Honors distribution and elective courses toward a Capstone.  The Capstone course can take many forms--it all depends on what you and your advisor think will meet your goals for after TCC.

The pathway courses are described in more detail here.

Staying in the Honors Distinction Pathway

We want you to be successful, while we also want the HDP notation on your transcript to be meaningful.  With this in mind, we have adopted “good standing” requirements like Phi Theta Kappa’s.  This means that you will keep a B in your Honors classes and a 3.2 overall.  As you are moving through our pathway, you will be guided by the Honors Coordinator and your regularly assigned academic advisor; we will be here to support you in your course planning, your transfer applications, and your success.

Transitioning from the Honors Distinction Pathway

The Honors Distinction Pathway team continues to build relationships with many of the universities you may be applying to.  In addition to regular admission, we are laying the groundwork for agreements between Honors programs and keeping current on the transfer requirements.  When you complete the HDP, your transcript will note each Honors course and will recognize your completion of the HDP as a special note on the transcript itself.

Choose your level of Honors participation

Honors Exploration

  • 2 classes
  • No formal admission to the Honors Distinction Pathway

Ready for Articulation * with UWT Global Honors program and other similar programs

  • Student fulfills all requirements, Honors course GPA average 3.0, and achieves a 3.5 overall GPA.
  • Formal admission
  • Honors Distinction Pathway notation on transcript

Honors Distinction Pathway completion

  • Student fulfills all requirements, Honors course GPA average 3.0, and achieves a 3.2 overall GPA.
  • Formal admission
  • Transcript credit for all courses within Honors
  • Honors Distinction Pathway notation on transcript

Honors Distinction Pathway completion (with probationary clause, meets criteria)

  • Student falls below the 3.2 overall GPA or Honors section below 3.0, is placed on probation, meets 3.2 in next quarter and 3.0 or above in Honors classes. Meets graduation requirements.
  • Formal admission
  • Transcript credit for all courses with Honors
  • Honors Distinction Pathway notation on transcript

Honors Distinction Pathway completion (with probationary clause, does not meet GPA criteria)

  • Student falls below the 3.2 overall GPA or Honors section below 3.0, is placed on probation, does not meet 3.2 but passes courses.
  • Formal admission
  • Transcript credit for all courses with Honors

Because articulation agreements will be negotiated according to the transfer institution/program requirements, the Honors Distinction Pathway is an internal recognition at the Tacoma Community College and a notation on student transcripts.  The Honors Distinction Pathway alone will not guarantee admission to other Honors colleges, while the pathway plus the requisite grade points and course requirements will form the basis of articulation agreements.

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What courses can I take in the Honors Distinction Pathway?

Courses are open to all interested and motivated students; all TCC students may take up to two Honors courses before formal application to the Honors Distinction Pathway. This option provides students with the opportunity to explore Honors before formal commitment to the pathway. Courses are conducted at the Honors level, which means that there will be an emphasis on higher order thinking, interdisciplinary elements, inquiry-based strategies, greater academic independence, and a global/international component or emphasis. The courses expect a commitment from students and faculty to academic and intellectual integrity.

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Research Base Courses

—1 course required: minimum of 2 credits for LS, 5 credits for others

—Courses include: Honors English 101, 102, 103, LS 102

Research Base courses will introduce you to the concepts and resources of academic research and the use of resources that will be applied in future Honors courses.  You may enter the program at the English 101, English 102/103, or after taking English 101-103 levels by taking an Honors Library Science Research course. An early grounding in research methods and resources is important to student success. You may take any or all of the four research base courses, though only one is required.

Distribution and Elective Courses

3 courses required: 15 credits

—Course options include:

  • 100 level distribution Honors section (Humanities, Social Science, Natural Science, Business, Communication Studies, etc.)
  • 200 level distribution Honors section (Humanities, Social Science, Natural Science, Business, Communication Studies, etc.)

These are the courses you take to fulfill your college distribution and general transfer requirements in Humanities/Arts, Social Science, and Science, (and can include other distribution areas such as Quantitative Reasoning, Written Communications, and Business.  Distribution courses are 100- and 200-level course sections designated as Honors.

Capstone courses

1 course required: 1-5 credits (variable, but must result in at least 21 credits for pathway completion)

—Course options include:

  • Honors portfolio   
  • Project   
  • Thesis   
  • Service learning 
  • Study Abroad 

The Capstone course(s) complete your Honors Designation Pathway.  These courses will range from 1-5 credits, depending on the course or project.  Capstone courses will be experiential in nature and will range from portfolio projects and independent study through service learning, travel abroad, research projects, and thesis papers.  Capstone courses require greater student direction. You chose them in consultation with your major advisor and the Honors Coordinator.

Winter 2017

Spring 2017

Fall 2017 (TBD)

English 102 – Argument and Persuasion – Honors
#2959 11:30-12:20 Hybrid  with Professor Michael Huffman
Political Science 101 – Introduction to Political Science – Honors (Distribution or elective)
#2709 8:30-9:20 with Professor Daniel Enbysk

Humanities 285 –The City – Honors (Distribution or elective)
#2473 10:30-11:20 with Professor Kristina Young

English 101

A 100-level Humanities

A 100-level Social Science

And more!

CTCLink Student Course Search

How do I explore or apply to the Honors Distinction Pathway?

Exploring Honors Courses

You may want to start by taking one or two Honors sections.  Students may take one or two sections before formally applying to the pathway.  Trying out classes in this way lets you get a feel for the Honors difference and can build relationships with the Honors students and faculty.  Every Honors section will be noted on your transcript as Honors.


CTCLink Student Course Search

Applying to the Honors Distinction Pathway

>>Applications will be accepted beginning in Spring 2017.

When you are ready to apply, all you need to do is meet a few requirements and fill out this form. You can submit your application online or in person (on paper).

What you need to do:

1. Meet the basic requirements: Assess at college-level for English and Math.

  • This means English 101 or its equivalent for English.
  • This means the equivalent of Math 96/140 or 100+.

2. Complete the Honors Distinction Pathway application.

  • Form
  • Personal Statement
  • Honors Readiness--Option 1 Letter of Recommendation OR Option 2 GPA of at least 3.5 (with transcripts)
  • Statement of Understanding

3. Submit the completed application to OR in person to Kristina Young, Honors Coordinator in F1-20 OR by mail at Tacoma Community College, 6501 South 19th Street, Tacoma, Washington 98466-6100.

More about the application

Honors Readiness:

Being Honors Ready means that you have a desire to go deeper into your learning, the capacity to grow as a learning, and the commitment to become an Honors student.  Because there are many ways to be an Honors student and because we are looking for a students with a diversity of experiences in our pathway, you have two options to help support your readiness for the pathway. At TCC, we view Honors as a process of becoming, not just recognition for work well done.  Which option best represents who you are as a learner and as a person?

In Option 1, you will ask for a letter of recommendation from someone who can speak to how you will benefit from the Honors Distinction Pathway. (see option 1 below for instructions)

In Option 2, you can choose to submit transcripts that show a documented GPA of 3.5 or above. (see option 2 below for instructions)

Option 1: Letter of recommendation

Choose a person who can support how you would benefit from the Honors Distinction Pathway. This letter might include direct observation of your curiosity, potential for independent inquiry, exceptional drive or progress, or other traits and experiences that show how an inquiry-based, interdisciplinary, and globally-focused pathway would support the student’s life and academic goals.

We will contact the recommender directly. (It is a good idea to let the person know you are sending in this application.)

Option 2: GPA

  • New students directly from HS must have 3.5 GPA from HS transcript
  • New students returning to school or students currently attending TCC need a 3.5 GPA for last ten credits of distribution courses. 
  • Students receiving 3.5 or higher in a TCC Honors course will be considered eligible on the GPA standard. 

What is the Honors Difference?

  • Honors and regular course sections share many of the same characteristics. For example, many regular sections will have interdisciplinary or global components, and many will use research at the introductory level. Honors sections with have all of these.
  • Honors sections are smaller than regular sections to allow greater student independence and contact with the instructor and interaction among the students.
  • Honors sections differ in the scope of the work, not necessarily its volume.
  • Each Honors section includes inquiry, a global focus, and interdisciplinary elements.
  • Honors sections are most concerned with depth, though they may proceed at an accelerated pace through basic knowledge and skill content.
  • Honors sections expect students to ask and answer more of their own questions about the material, with the expectation that students will pursue those answers with greater independence.
  • Honors sections may have higher written assessment standards than in regular sections.
  • Students in the Honors Distinction Pathway will be provided mentoring in addition to their regular advising. All Honors Distinction Pathway students keep their assigned degree/program advisors.
  • Students in Honors will form connections with people outside of their majors, collaborating on shared problems yet approaching them from different perspectives.
  • Students in the Honors Distinction Pathway have access to scholarships through our National Collegiate Honors Council network, as well as assistance with scholarship applications.
  • Students in Honors join a community of scholars.
  • Students in the Honors Distinction Pathway choose an academic course of study that deliberately prepares them for competitive programs and institutions.
  • All Honors course sections meet the same course goals and outcomes as are associated with the non-honors courses; they just do it from a different approach.
  • There is no special fee associated with the Honors Distinction Pathway or Honors courses.

Contact information

Honors Distinction Pathway

Coordinator: Kristina Young; 253.566.5330

Tacoma Community College - Tacoma Campus: Building F1, Room 20
6501 South 19th Street, Tacoma, Washington 98466-6100

Division for Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Dean: Dr. Yvonne Unnold

Administrative Specialist: Melanie Johnson

Tacoma Community College - Tacoma Campus: Building F2
6501 South 19th Street, Tacoma, Washington 98466-6100

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